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Camelia Lautrau - 31st January 1995 - 9th December 2010

Camelia never had much of a chance in life, being abandoned in bed without treatment and therapy for years after a difficult birth compounded her cerebral palsy and poor swallow reflex, deformed her hips and rib cage, wasted her muscles and left her with recurrent chest complications. She was five when she was admitted to St Margaret’s to release a bed in the ward she then knew as home. Her parents worked in Spain and never visited throughout the ten years she defied all odds and lived at St Margaret’s, they did at one time unsuccessfully petition the court to have her returned to her blood family but never once offer to provided the home, care or love she needed.

Surrounded by her nurses love and care she blossomed and although she couldn’t speak she changed the life of everyone who knew her, when Camelia smiled that smile warmed the heart of everyone around. Deep meaningful eyes told when she was happy or sad, comfortable or in need of help but never once did she complain. Camelia was never really strong but she fought off recurrent chest infections and therapy allowed her to use her one good hand to play and to reach out when she could. She was never happier than when washed, dressed, shining hair in plats and sitting in “her” chair where she could see the others play and she loved sitting in the garden in the warmth of the summer sun.

Never strong she contracted a chest infection that she could not shake off; she was admitted to intensive care in the Victor Gomoiu Children Hospital. Like every patient in Romania today without the love and care of her own nurse and maternal assistant who visited twice a day she would have received only limited care. The charity’s Chief Executive and Alyth Hughes visited her only a few days ago and seeing her left struggling for breath in a darkened side ward, wet, unkempt and uncared asked that she should be returned to St Margaret’s for her last few days. It was not to be; she contracted a fever, the chest infection worsened and she gave up the fight in the wee dark hours of the morning. 

Camelia was a scant two month short of her sixteenth birthday. She was brought home and her St Margaret’s family will see her laid to rest with all the dignity she deserves she will be sadly missed by those who loved her and there are many heavy hearts, who will remember the little girl whose smile lit up their life.

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