Published: 05:00, 31 May 2022
| Updated: 15:26, 01 June 2022
A poorly schoolgirl from Iwade, who spent months dreaming of staying at the Shard after staring at it from her hospital bed, has been treated to a £20k stay there.
Angel Growns was diagnosed at birth with Proximal Femoral Focal Deficiency (PFFD), meaning her right femur was missing and her left one was curved and shortened.
The 14-year-old’s right hip socket could not form and a separate condition meant her lower spine didn’t develop properly.
So far in her short life she has endured years of hospitalisation, including in 2018 when she nearly died following an operation to amputate her lower leg.
It was then that she several months at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), where she could see straight to The Shard.
Her mum, Holly, 32, said: “She was fascinated by the shape of The Shard and always talked about it with the nurses.
“When she learned there was a hotel inside, called Shangri-La, she desperately wanted to go.
“Since 2018, it has been Angel’s dream to stay there.
“We weren’t sure if her wish would be possible, because it’s such a big ask, so the excitement that came from Angel when we told her it was going ahead was a beautiful sight to see.”
Angel’s wish became a reality on May 9, when the Make-A-Wish charity arranged for her, her mum, and her younger sister Mikayla to have a two-night stay in a suite that costs a whopping £10,000 per night.
The room was decorated with balloons, flowers, and edible decorations.
Angel and her family were told to ‘go mad’ on room service, with the chef even arranging a special selection of Angel’s favourite food and drink.
After Angel’s diagnoses, specialists at GOSH recommended a lower leg operation for when Angel was 10 years old.
But though the operation was successful, Angel contracted deadly sepsis afterwards, following an infection.
Holly said: “We almost lost her. It was every parent’s worst nightmare. She really went to hell and back.”
Kurt Macher, general manager at the Shangri-La hotel said: “We were honoured to welcome Angel and her family and to have the opportunity to make Angel’s wish to stay at Shangri-La The Shard come true.
“Family has always been at the heart of Shangri-La, and we know a wish has the ability to transform the lives of children and their families during the most difficult times.”
Shangri-La will also be working closely with Make-A-Wish International to support the granting of wishes for children with critical illnesses across worldwide hotels.
Holly said: “I really can’t put into words just how amazing the whole thing was.
“A real VIP experience, Angel has been through so much in her young life and continues to go through a lot but has always done it with a brave face. This was such a magical thing for her to enjoy.”
In the UK, children like Angel who live with a critical condition normally need to be referred to Make-A-Wish UK by a health care professional. However, for a limited time only, Make-A-Wish UK have now opened referrals up to the general public.
Jason Suckley, chief executive at Make-A-Wish UK, said: “When a child like Angel is diagnosed with a critical condition, the joy of childhood is brought to an abrupt end with treatment plans, hospital appointments and worry taking over.
“The power of a wish brings light and joy to children and their loved ones, and we’re very pleased to now invite members of the public to play a vital role in that process.”
Angel has worked hard on her mobility since leaving GOSH and is now a happy, bubbly teenager – despite continuing to face daily pain due to her condition.
Holly finished: “Angel’s wish gave her time out from thinking about her disabilities, her daily pains, her upcoming hospital appointments.
“It allowed her to enjoy the time being a teenager, living out her dream in a very special place.
“It’s a once in a lifetime thing and it will be a memory she will cherish forever. We all will.”
To refer a child like Angel for a wish click here