Carrie’s Home Foundation

Within our school we have the sadness and privilege of working with families going through extremely difficult times, this may relate to bereavement or even serious illness of a child within the school community. At Reigate St Mary’s, we always work as hard as we can to give the emotional and practical support that families need whilst dealing with the often tragic circumstances they find themselves in. One such family was the Kalmanovitch family, where Mrs Kalmanovitch suffered a short but increasingly debilitating battle with a brain tumour leading to her death in the Spring of 2017. Sometimes good things do come out of bad and we are delighted to be involved with the establishment of Carries Home Foundation which supports those in need of housing. More information can be found on their website Carries Home Foundation

Dad’s Story by David Kalman

We often use the saying, “You never know what’s around the corner”. Well I certainly didn’t! Life changed for me and my young son, Jacob, in the Spring of 2017. My wife Caroline, mother to our 7-year-old son, had a headache, then out the blue in the middle of the night, she had a dramatic seizure. Paramedics were soon on the scene and our poor son saw it all as they resuscitated Mummy. Not surprisingly, he was hysterical and trying to run. We followed the ambulance as it raced to hospital. Shortly afterwards, the worst possible news was confirmed. They had found a large malignant tumour on the brain. As I write this, a year later, I still have tears streaming down my face.

As soon as I could, I was on the phone to the Headmaster. I was distraught and in panic. It was at that moment that the RSM community swung into action! They gave me all the necessary tools and contacts that I could possibly need. The school were nothing short of amazing! There are far too many details and examples to give here, but just as a basic example, a wonderful teacher at the school would often pick Jacob up from the house early in the morning and ensure he was looked after and taken to breakfast club. All, so I could be there for my dying wife! I would love to say that there is a happy personal ending to this, but alas, ‘no’.

Caroline was placed in an induced coma because of the incredible pain she was in and passed away in my arms at the Royal Marsden Hospital just over 100 days after she fell ill. I then had the task of driving to the school to tell Jacob. As soon as I walked in, they could see it on my face and fetched Jacob. Jacob and I went into the Headmaster’s office alone and just sobbed for over an hour.

Whether it was the period during Caroline’s illness or after she passed away and helping with funeral arrangements, RSM were amazing. We all know the high standards of academia, music and sporting abilities they have, but I am here to tell you their heart and community spirit is equally second to none! They ensured they went way above what was necessary for pastoral care for Jacob and helped me continually.

On a personal level the wonderful Headmaster would often contact me, asking what else he could do and was I getting specific help for me. He persisted as I was reluctant to talk about my feelings. I thank him unreservedly for that! Without RSM’s help, I would not have coped, and I thank them from the bottom of my heart.

Caroline was a brave, beautiful and loving young lady who I had the privilege to be with since I was 18 years old. Jacob and I miss her every second of every day.
David and Jacob xx