A BRAVE couple that fought for their lives after developing coronavirus symptoms praised an Oxfordshire charity for supporting their family through the crisis.

Kay and Andy Lyon started showing signs of the disease after their eight-year-old daughter Sienna, who was born with Dravet syndrome – 'a rare and catastrophic' form of epilepsy, was also diagnosed in March with symptoms typical to the virus.

The young girl also suffered 30 seizures in just 36 hours, alongside a high fever and cough.

The parents who live in Wootton near Abingdon with their three children Sienna, Jamie, 15, and Ella, 14, were 'petrified' as they did not know what would happen to them.

They feared that if their condition worsens, there will be nobody who could look after their youngest, who requires around-the-clock care.

However, Mr and Mrs Lyon received the vital support they needed from the end-of-life hospice Helen & Douglas House.

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The family are regular visitors to the Oxfordshire organisation for respite care and rely on the staff there for the practical help and care they give to their daughter Sienna.

Mrs Lyon said that nurse specialist Francesca offered 'daily clinical advice and rang every day until Sienna was out of danger'

The mother added: "Thanks to Francesca, we felt less alone and we were able to keep Sienna out of hospital.

"We were lucky as she was a constant reassurance and knowing Helen & Douglas House were there for us was a huge comfort."

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Like many other organisations across Oxfordshire that have had to suspend fundraising activities, Helen &Douglas House are also strapped for cash.

The Lyon family, grateful for the hospice's support during the pandemic, appealed to the local community to donate to the charity.

The mother-of-three added that Helen & Douglas House offered 'a lifeline to my family and many others like us'.

She added: "I want to make sure that nurse Francesca and her colleagues can be there for other families like ours.

"Supporters who make nurse Francesca’s work possible, saved my family from a crisis."

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The hospice provides care for young people from Oxfordshire but also has branches in Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Gloucestershire, Hertfordshire, Northamptonshire, Wiltshire and parts of London.

It also supports current and bereaved families.

Director of income generation at Helen & Douglas House Hazel Bedford said: "We are so glad we were able to support Kay’s family through this difficult time for them and all the other families we are continuing to support.

"All the children we care for are very vulnerable, so it is a really tough time for our families being in isolation.

"It is, however, a challenging time for our charity with our shops closed temporarily and fundraising events postponed, so any support people could give would make all the difference to local families we support."

To make a donation and support the work of the end-of-life charity visit www.hdh.org.uk.