Watching a large number of medical staff gather around my baby boy to resuscitate him was the scariest thing I have ever been through.

We were at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, an hour away from our home, after rushing my son, Carter, there ourselves.

Eventually the doctors managed to stabilise Carter, but he was still struggling with his breathing and needed to be intubated and kept on the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU). He had developed a respiratory virus from a cold and as a result was experiencing breathing apnoea due to a build-up of mucus in his lungs.

We went to see him in PICU where he was covered in tubes and I was just sitting there, looking at him and felt my heart break into pieces.

There was a chair next to Carter’s bed that I was prepared to not move from until he got better. But with parents unable to stay on intensive care wards with their children, even this wasn’t an option.

As I started to try and work out how I was going to cope with this situation I was told about The Sick Children’s Trust and its wonderful Acorn House. It’s one of ten ‘Homes from Home’ the charity runs around the country, giving families a free place to stay close to their seriously ill children.

I was still hesitant at first about leaving Carter’s side, but when the nurses told me that Acorn House was just minutes away from the hospital the more comfortable I felt about staying there. I knew it was likely we would be in hospital for a while; The Sick Children’s Trust supports families for an average of 14 nights when their children are on the incentive care units, so knowing we had a place to stay took away a lot of these extra stresses.

When I arrived at Acorn House, I felt at home. There was a kitchen, living room and even a playroom so I knew straight away that I could bring Elsie, Carter’s older sister, to stay as well when the time was right.

This year, The Sick Children’s Trust is celebrating 40 years of keeping families, like mine, together with their seriously ill children while they are in hospital. Since the charity was launched in 1982 they have made sure more than 73,000 families have been able to stay just minutes away from their ill child’s hospital bedside and I really don’t know what we would have done without their support.

Acorn House was our ‘Home from Home’ for two weeks while Carter recovered, and he’s been doing amazing ever since.

He’s reached all his milestones and is such a loud and energetic character. As part of their 40th anniversary celebrations The Sick Children’s Trust is aiming to raise £237,000 to support families in all 148 rooms of its ten ‘Homes from Home’ for 40 nights. I’m encouraging everyone to think about families like mine who suddenly end up in hospital with their child critically ill and not knowing how they can stay with them.

No parent wants to leave their child while they’re in hospital and by supporting The Sick Children’s Trust and its ‘Homes from Home’ you can make sure more families can be together.

Without Acorn House Carter’s time in hospital would have been so much harder. I don’t think I would’ve have coped. Please donate £40 today by visiting From my family to you, thank you,

Georgie Monigatti