Miriam and Jeremy Tasgal from Barnet have two children, eight year old Michael and six month old Yehoshua. Yehoshua was born with severe hypoxia which resulted in brain damage. Yehoshua now has severe learning difficulties and possible blindness. Due to his inability to suck and swallow, Yehoshua is fed by a gastronomy tube through his stomach.
Rainbow Trust Family Support Worker Eva has been supporting the Tasgal family for six months, helping with transport to appointments at London’s Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear and Barnet hospitals, and offering emotional support to mother Miriam during home visits. Eva also spends time with brother Michael, playing and doing arts and crafts.
Talking about the support Rainbow Trust has offered, Miriam says: “When you have a sick child suddenly everyone has ideas about things you can do that might help. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone is an expert. And sometimes you don’t want people to talk at you, you want people to listen. Eva is really good at that. It’s been wonderful to meet someone who is allowing us to go on this journey, wherever it ends, and giving us the support we need to get through it. Going through what we’ve been through, you quickly learn to really appreciate people like that in your life; they are few and far between.
“We live in a very close-knit Jewish community, which sometimes can be wary of accepting outside help and look to wider friends and family for support. We’re relatively new to this community and we haven’t got family near by. Eva is very sensitive to our beliefs, and we’re very comfortable around each other now. On her first appointment with us she offered to sit with Yehoshua during a hospital visit so we could return home to observe Sabbath. Eva understands that our faith is incredibly important to us and a great support at times like this.”
Rainbow Trust supports families like the Khans. Daughter Anisah was diagnosed with bone cancer when she was nine years old. Rainbow Trust Family Support Worker Linda has supported Anisah's brother Ismael and four sisters Sameena, Maryam, Humayra and Zahra through Anisah's chemotherapy treatment and life changing operation to remove the tumour from her leg.
Her parents Zafar and Sarfraz explain the difference Rainbow Trust makes to their large family.
"The cancer wasn't just Anisah's illness, it affected the whole family. Every one of us has changed as a result of the experience. Rainbow helped us go through this ordeal as a family, together and stay as strong as possible.
"All of Anisah's siblings help with her care. They go to hospital appointments with her and help support her around the house. Her older sisters have been especially busy with her care over the holidays, putting her to bed during the day if she feels tired and making sure she is never alone in case she faints or falls. We know it impacts on their social lives but we need their help to look after Anisah.
"Anisah's sister Maryam has just finished her A-levels, but she hasn't done as well as we thought she would. Maryam used to love college and she was predicted really high results and wanted to be a pharmacist. The stress and emotion of Anisah's illness meant that she didn't want to go to classes and struggled to concentrate on college work. She's so close to Anisah, and struggled to deal with what was happening to her and what could happen in the future. She'd sit in the library day after day, not knowing what to do. She needed our help and support and because we were away at the hospital with Anisah, we just weren't there for her.
"Linda provides the best kind of support for Maryam and Anisah's brother and sisters, she laughs with them and takes their minds off what is going on for a couple of hours. She listens to any concerns they have. Linda is just trustworthy. We're always wary of talking to outsiders about Anisah and what we're going through but both of us and the children feel very comfortable talking to Linda."
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