Girl, five, with life-threatening condition gets own magical Lapland

Single mother creates a magical ‘Lapland’ in their conservatory for just £150 because her daughter is too ill to go and see it for real

  • Helen Sadler, 40, made fairy castle using medicine packets and syringe boxes
  • Erin, five, has chronic kidney and liver diseases and a serious heart condition
  • Took 20 hours and under £150 for Helen and grandad Philip to build wonderland

The mother of a girl with a life-threatening condition has created an incredible ‘Lapland’ in their conservatory – after her daughter was too ill to see the real thing.

Helen Sadler, 40, transformed the room in her home into a winter wonderland after five-year-old Erin was too sick to travel to Finland to see it in real life.

The single mother-of-one used Erin’s old medicine packets and syringe boxes to make an impressive fairy castle in Colchester, Essex.

The conservatory was transformed in 20 hours using papier-mâché, cardboard and glitter

Helen Sadler wanted to create Lapland for daughter Erin as she is too sick to visit the real place

A polar bear’s cave and frozen lake for seals are made from papier-mâché, cardboard and glitter.

And in pride of place is a snow queen wearing Helen’s mother’s old coat, sitting in a wooden sleigh made by Erin’s grandad Philip – pulled along by a fairy-light reindeer.

Helen, a former NHS commissioning manager, said: ‘When we finished it, Erin thought it was amazing and she said “Nice job mum” and gave me the thumbs up.

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‘She absolutely loves it. When the community nurses come over she leads them round, showing it off.

‘She’s a fire-cracker of a child and she’s got an amazing sense of humour.’

Erin suffers from chronic kidney and liver diseases, and has spent most of her life in hospital.

Helen got the idea after seeing a fur coat (right) which belonged to her own mother and thinking it looked like a snow Queen’s coat. She made all the decorations (left) herself

A polar bear’s cave and frozen lake for seals are made from papier-mâché, cardboard and glitter. Erin gave her mother a thumbs up when she saw the winter wonderland

Sparkly stars, fairy lights and glittery reindeers cover the conservatory to make it look magical

She also has left ventricular hypertrophy – where the walls of the heart get thicker and can stop it from pumping blood around the body properly.

The condition is progressive and she needs open heart surgery, but because of other complications, the operation has been deemed too risky.

Helen said: ‘We were having three transfusions a day just to get her to the next day. She’s a very complex case.

‘But where there’s life, there’s hope. We keep going but the surgery she needs is ultimately not being offered.’

When Erin’s hospice organised the opportunity for her to go to Lapland, Helen had to decline due to her condition.

She said: ‘I was so disappointed for her to miss the opportunity. We try to get through each day but there are big limitations to what she can do.’

The determined mum, who lives with Erin and 69-year-old grandad Philip Sadler in Colchester, Essex decided she would bring Lapland to them.

Five-year-old Erin suffers from chronic kidney and liver diseases, and has spent most of her life in hospital

A hospice organised for Erin (right during treatment and left in the conservatory before it was decorated) to go to Lapland, but Helen sadly had to decline due to her daughter’s condition

Helen said: ‘I said to dad, ‘What can we do? So we decided to make the conservatory into our own winter wonderland.’

The loving mum and grandad got to work covering every inch of the space – which measures around 8ft by 12ft – in the amazing decorations.

Helen, who is now Erin’s full-time carer, estimates it took them an impressive 20 hours and just under £150 in total to realise their vision.

She got the idea for the snow queen when she found an old fur coat that belonged to her mother Margaret, who passed away in 2012.

Helen added: ‘It said, ‘It looks like a snow queen’s coat’.

‘I’ve had massive compliments on Facebook about it. It’s all been so positive and well-received.’ 

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