“Rocco absolutely loves it at The Ark. When I dropped him off recently – all he said was ‘Bye Mum, go home!’ ”

Rocco is four and has three sisters and one brother: Tyrell, aged 13; Tegan, 10; Indie-Rose, 8; and Darcie, 2. He is a delightful little boy and puts a smile on the faces of everybody he meets at The Ark.

Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice has been a part of Rocco and his family’s lives since he was six months old after he was diagnosed with Type 1 Spinal Muscular Atrophy as a baby; a life-limiting condition that affects all of his muscles and means that he has very limited mobility.

Thanks to the care and support provided by Noah’s Ark, Rocco has gained greater independence and has been able to access opportunities and activities that may not otherwise have been possible. This has had profoundly positive impacts on the lives of Rocco and his family, and they face the future with excitement. Rocco begins mainstream school in September – something his mum, Kimberley, “never thought would be possible.”

Rocco’s love for Noah’s Ark is clear to anyone! He is a regular visitor at The Ark, attending weekly “Stay and Play” sessions and making use of the wonderful facilities in the sensory, soft play and creative rooms. Kimberley explains, “Rocco absolutely loves it at The Ark. When I dropped him off recently – all he said was ‘Bye Mum, go home!’ ”

He is particularly excited by the newly installed sensory trail and accessible pathway around The Ark’s 7.5-acre nature reserve. He can often be seen whizzing around the nature reserve in his specially-made TinyTrax wheelchair, which he can drive around in independently. His mum explains:

“It’s so important for any child to experience nature and the outdoors, and Rocco is no different. The new accessible pathway around the nature reserve allows Rocco to do exactly that. It’s not something that he has been able to do before and it’s so exciting for him. When I walked through the nature reserve with Rocco recently, he said to me excitedly: “Mum, we’re on a bear hunt… We can’t go over it, we can’t go under it!”

Rocco and his family benefit from a whole range of services at Noah’s Ark. As well as the weekly “Stay and Play” sessions, Rocco has also benefitted from music therapy and specialist care and is due to stay at The Ark for overnight care soon. He is also a regular attendee at Noah’s Ark Children’s Groups run by our Family Activities team.

For Kimberley, the care provided by Noah’s Ark for both Rocco and his siblings has been so important and is built on a level of trust that has developed over a number of years. Dropping Rocco off at The Ark to attend a Noah’s Ark Children’s Group for the first time represented “the first time I’d felt comfortable leaving him on his own.”