EVERY year dozens of families across Oxfordshire are supported by the dedicated team of Rosy nurses. Samantha McGregor meets some of the team behind them who have the daunting task of raising £250,000 a year.

CONTRACTS specialist Katherine Pixton now sits on the Rosy committee as the family nurses liaison. She, her husband Andy and their son Jack, who died in 2011 aged seven, were supported by the Rosy Nurses for more than five years. Jack was diagnosed with degenerative neurological condition taysachs just after his first birthday and was not expected to survive past age three. Mrs Pixton, of Wantage, said: “He was born in 2004 and was a perfectly normal baby, just absolutely gorgeous. “At about four/five months we started to notice he was not quite the same as other children. He was startled very easily and just not right. “He got as far as sitting up and doing a few other things, and basically regressed back to being a new born baby.” Little Jack eventually became immobile, was unable to speak and had to be fed by a tube. He sadly died in May 2011 while at Helen House for routine respite. Jack was looked after by the Children’s Community Nursing Service and they put the family in touch with the Rosy team. Their visits gave Jack’s parents some much-needed respite. The couple were constantly sleep deprived as Jack never slept through the night. So once a week a Rosy nurse sat with Jack while his parents were able to sleep through until 7am. Mrs Pixton said: “They were a Godsend. We could not have got through the last three or four years without them. “Just knowing one night a week someone was sitting beside Jack and we could switch off and that was it until 7am in the morning.” She said the social activities organised by Rosy, as well as counselling and providing equipment was as valuable as the nursing care. She said: “We would have found it so hard to give Jack the quality of life he had, without them.

“Because of that I wanted to make sure it was still there for other families. “I think just being with other people that have been through the same situation as you, that’s a help. “Everybody’s grief journey is different. It’s just walking alongside people.”