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Allanah Morel’s introduction to Ballarat Hospice Care was an emotional whirlwind.

Allanah’s baby son Xavier was diagnosed with type one spinal muscular atrophy in April 2014 and he died at just six months of age.

However, after her son’s diagnosis, Allanah was introduced to Ballarat Hospice Care through a local paediatrician, which she said made the whole experience a “little less scary”.

“We had some amazing conversations with the nurses, who would visit regularly and were really supportive,” Allanah said.

One night when Xavier was particularly ill, Allanah rang the Ballarat Hospice Care 24-hour help service and a nurse arrived within 15 minutes, offering advice and support so Allanah could be the best carer for her son at that time.

“The day before he died I had a feeling something was going to happen so Xavier, my daughter and I spent the whole day in the sun,” Allanah said.

“When he died, he was with us and it was almost like he felt no pain. I just think we were lucky to have had that time with him.”

Allanah said she found Ballarat Hospice Care a huge help during a very tough time.

She said, as hard as those choices were for her and her husband, having the discussions beforehand made them less terrifying and unknown.

Allanah’s experience with Ballarat Hospice Care was so positive she has now become a volunteer in care support while completing her masters in social work through Deakin University.

“It is a privilege people do allow me into their homes and open up when they are vulnerable.”

She also encouraged more people to have conversations about death and dying, and said talking more about how to try and live to that inevitable moment of death could offer an unexpected source of comfort.

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