Palliative care unit for ill child finished thanks to St Albans community

Shay's new palliative care unit. Picture: Alan Murray

Shay's new palliative care unit. Picture: Alan Murray - Credit: Archant

A palliative care unit for a terminally ill child is now finished thanks to funding from the St Albans community.

Shay's new palliative care unit. Picture: Alan Murray

Shay's new palliative care unit. Picture: Alan Murray - Credit: Archant

The parents of 11-year-old Shay Murray started fund raising in 2016 to build a palliative care unit at their home for his final days.

Shay has a rare condition called Pearson’s Syndrome and was being forced to spend more and more time in hospices as his condition deteriorated.

It causes sight, hearing, spatial awareness and muscle control problems, as well as a severe reduction in energy.

The family needed £60,000 to fund building such a specialist unit at their home in Bushy.

Shay's new palliative care unit. Picture: Alan Murray

Shay's new palliative care unit. Picture: Alan Murray - Credit: Archant


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Following an appeal in the Herts Advertiser, the St Albans community stepped up - raising all the funds in record time.

The building work started in November last year and has just been finished.

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Alan Murray, Shay’s dad, said the unit has given him independence: “It’s all done and dusted, I am overjoyed and he’s absolutely loving it.

“He is sleeping much better, he’s not waking up in the middle of the night anymore and he is definitely more comfortable. It is great. He is now able to do all these things completely on his own. He doesn’t have to ask us for anything anymore.

Shay's new palliative care unit. Picture: Alan Murray

Shay's new palliative care unit. Picture: Alan Murray - Credit: Archant

“It is really good and he is really pleased.”

Alan said countless selfless people stepped forward to contribute to the project, for example Foresight Intergrated Technology Ltd installed a speaker system that responds to Shay’s voice, a St Albans local gave Shay a mobility vehicle, and the St Albans Irish Association made a donation.

The decorators went above and beyond to repair areas of the house which had been disturbed in the building work.

A small children’s charity, Joni’s Army, did not only donate £15,000 to the cause, but also developed a bond with Shay - encouraging him to take vital medicine.

Shay's new palliative care unit. Picture: Alan Murray

Shay's new palliative care unit. Picture: Alan Murray - Credit: Archant

Alan said St Albans builders, Edwards and Edwards Construction Ltd, were very considerate to the family while work was taking place.

He thanked everyone: “The amount of people who have come out of the woodwork and leaned over backwards to help us has been amazing.”

Shay's new palliative care unit. Picture: Alan Murray

Shay's new palliative care unit. Picture: Alan Murray - Credit: Archant

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