A special family story

Scenery across a forest floor

7 December 2021

A special family story

Body Content

“When you have a child with a life-limiting condition, you haven’t got time on your side.”


When Emily was born with a severe heart condition, the doctors told mum Val to take her home and make the most of what precious time they had together. She thought that time would be a few days… weeks at most. But four years later, and Emily is still smiling, playing, clapping and making friends with everyone she meets.


“The hospital basically said take her home to die. She’s a fighter. Her prognosis hasn’t changed so it really is taking each day as it comes, making memories and spending precious times together.”


Ever since Emily was a baby, Val and her family have never lived more than six months into the future. Trying to plan beyond that is impossible as they simply don’t know what the next six days, six weeks or six months will bring. 


Vital support from our charity partner.

Thankfully our charity partner, Together for Short Lives, is here for Val and Emily, as well as the tens of thousands of families like theirs up and down the country. They make sure families caring for a seriously ill child can access the vital support they need.


“Emily is not fragile. She’s a tough little girl full of joy, smiles and life.”


As well as her heart condition, Emily is blind and requires round-the-clock care. She is non-mobile and is fed entirely through a tube. Taking care of Emily can be exhausting but Val is determined to make sure Emily can live to the fullest.


Helping to create memories that will last a lifetime.

We are really proud that our partnership with Together for Short Lives has helped Emily and Val to make memories that will last a lifetime with a special family trip to Center Parcs. After months of being locked down, unable to make the most of every precious day together, this magical holiday was packed with moments to treasure… From playing in the pool to going bowling, and simply watching the birds and wildlife through the lodge window, the trip to Center Parcs gave Emily some of the magical childhood experiences that Val is determined to fill her short life with. 


“We want to fill her life with so much fun stuff and happiness.”


Families like Val and Emily’s desperately need support to help them cherish every moment together.


By donating to Together for Short Lives’ you can help families to live every moment of their child's short life, so they can make precious memories that last a lifetime.

Emily and Val walking through the forest holding hands
Emily in her pushchair next to a pond
Emily splashing about in the Subtropical Swimming Paradise
Emily (daughter) and Val (mother) posing for a photo together, Emily in Val's arms

Lizzie Jackson

As PR & Media Relations Officer at Center Parcs, I’m always hearing amazing stories from our teams on the villages. I’ll share as many of these as I can with you, as well as giving you a glimpse behind the scenes to see what goes into running a Center Parcs!

Lizzie Jackson