WATCHING your child prepare for surgery for a brain tumour must be among the hardest experiences any parent has to endure.
For mum Jane Rennie, the five months she spent at the Sick Kids hospital in 2013 after two-year-old daughter Isabella was diagnosed with a brain tumour were certainly among her darkest days.
And the family said it could not have endured the experience without the unwavering support of play specialist Margaret McEwan, who has now been nominated for a Health Hero award.
Entries are coming in for the Evening News-backed award, where the public can nominate an unsung hero from NHS Lothian who has made a difference to their lives.
Jane said: “Margaret has just been the most amazing support for us in the hospital. My daughter took to her really well when she wasn’t interested in anyone coming near her or touching her.
“As she was having so much treatment, every time someone came near she perceived that they were going to do something that would hurt her.
“She knew Margaret wasn’t going to hurt her. Every time she sees her she gives her a hug.”
Margaret went “over and above” in her care for Isabella, now four, and in her support for the little girl’s parents by stepping in to look after Isabella when they were feeling overwhelmed.
Jane said: “She always has a smile on her face and she is very caring and warm.
“She always had a way of making us feel something positive even on our darkest days.
“I know for a fact she is helping so many others, as I have spoken to lots of other parents who couldn’t speak highly enough of her.”
Inspirational Margaret has been a play specialist on a neurological ward for ten years, where she helps families and patients to prepare for or recover from procedures through play.
The 47-year-old was stunned to be nominated for the award, which she described as an “honour”.
She said: “I think I am just doing my job really but it is an honour to be nominated, particularly by Isabella’s family.
“When Isabella came in she was only two years old. I think the shock of the diagnosis meant it took her a couple of months to trust me.
“Now she says I am her best friend in the hospital. It’s so rewarding.”
She added: “It is about letting them know that we are all normal people and we care.”
The NHS Celebrating Success Awards are now in their eighth year and the winners will be announced on June 19.
To nominate your Health Hero, please download a form at www.nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk or call 0131-465 5645.
Nomination forms can also be posted to The Celebrating Success Team, NHS Lothian, Waverley Gate, 2-4 Waterloo Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3EG.
The deadline for entries is April 10.