Life support

DIY SOS mom had to disable daughter and husband’s life support in separate tragedies

Caroline Blanchard was forced to make an incredibly heartbreaking decision – then she had to do it a second time.

The single mum, from Scunthorpe, had to turn off life support for two of the people she loves most in the world after two separate tragedies just years apart.

Then she had to continue to live under the shadow of her grief in the same house where her seven-year-old daughter and her husband had suffered.

Caroline, who lives with her two children Reece and Paige, was unable to enter two rooms in her house because of the painful memories they triggered.

The nightmare began in 2007 when Caroline felt the worst pain a parent could imagine under traumatic circumstances.

Natasha was only seven years old when she hit her head in a tragic accident in the garage.







Natasha hit her head in the garage and died tragically
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Natasha was playing on a mini motorbike and accidentally hit her head against a cupboard while dad Paul came home to get a helmet.

The little girl seemed fine at first, telling dad Paul, “It’s okay, dad.”

Unfortunately, her condition deteriorated rapidly and she was rushed to hospital.

“I just remember the surgeon coming over and telling me she was bleeding so badly she couldn’t stop it,” Caroline says in tears on tonight’s DIY SOS.

Doctors broke the devastating news to Caroline and Paul – explaining that Natasha needed to be taken off life support.

Unfortunately, she died in hospital two days after the accident and dad Paul was overwhelmed with guilt.

The motorcycle fan decided to smash every bike he owned and sat in the garage for hours trying to figure out what happened.







Caroline speaks heartbreakingly about the loss of her daughter and her husband
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In September 2012, Caroline gave birth to daughter Paige Hope, whose name was chosen by their son Reece as it was a “new chapter in their lives”.

The couple struggled to come to terms with their loss – Caroline explaining that her husband, who adored his children, had lost the “sparkle” in his eyes.

Paul suffered from health issues and went to hospital 22 times, but each time doctors told him his pain was caused by anxiety.

In 2016, just days after complaining of chest pains, tragedy struck again when Paul suffered cardiac arrest at his home in front of his wife and daughter.

Caroline said: “He had chest pains and palpitations, they kept saying it was stress and anxiety because of losing Natasha.

“We were just sitting on the porch and he just made this horrible noise. I looked at him and I said ‘Paul, are you okay?’ and he got up but he had his arms in the chair, he took the whole chair with him, and I just fell on the floor and started having seizures.”

Paul was kept on life support for 10 days and then Caroline went through hell again when she was forced to turn it off.







Paul with his son Reece before he tragically lost his life
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After the death of her daughter and her husband, Caroline decided to donate their organs to help others in need.

Paul had no life insurance, so single mother Caroline had to continue working to support her family, which was made extremely difficult due to her panic attacks.

Caroline and her children had to live with a constant reminder of their grief – the garage and the veranda where the two cruel tragedies occurred.

But she explained that they didn’t want to move because there were also a lot of good memories in their house.

In a heartbreaking chat with presenter Nick Knowles, Reece said: “I just wish I could see my dad again. It would be amazing if I could.”

Help was at hand when the DIY SOS team, award-winning garden designer Arit Anderson and a group of volunteers descended on Scunthorpe.

They want to give the Blanchards a chance to move on while remembering their loved ones, so decide to demolish the garage and the porch.







Reece tells Nick he just wants to see his dad again.
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Prior to the renovation, a close friend of the project recounted Grimsby Live : “Caroline, Reece and Paige are grieving and trying to rebuild their lives without their father, husband and sister.

“But there are two huge obstacles to their sanity; the daily visual reminders of the garage and the porch, where their two loved ones died.

“Caroline and Reece are following bereavement counseling, but back home they constantly relive the trauma, as the garage is a monument in the middle of the back garden to Natasha’s death and that’s where Paul lost himself in his grief.

“He would sit there for hours trying to figure out what happened. The veranda has never been used since that traumatic day, the doors are closed.

“Reece lost his father – it was difficult. He talks to his friends, to help him release his anger, his pain and his loss. Caroline and Reece don’t want to leave their house and turn their backs on the good memories. It’s close to family support and the kids’ schools, but Caroline is at an emotional stalemate.”

In April 2020, the team gave themselves just five days to redesign the house to give Caroline, Reece and Paige a fresh start.

The motivation behind the intense construction left even the veteran members of the DIY SOS team in tears.







An army of volunteers came to help at Scunthorpe
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“Today a community came together to help a family in need,” Nick said on the show.

“It’s a story of loss, crippling grief and a community battling the elements to support a devastated family.

“It will be an emotional journey for all of us. But erasing the painful memories we are building to give a grieving family the chance to start moving forward.”

Over 300 volunteers arrived to help complete the project and almost all building materials were donated by local artisans and suppliers.

“To see so many amazing volunteers come out to support a local family is truly heartwarming, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of them,” said Paolo Proto, Executive Producer of DIY SOS: The Big Construire.

“The community of volunteers and trades has changed the lives of Caroline and her family and left a legacy that will live on long after the TV show is forgotten. It’s amazing what you can do when people ‘help.”







Caroline gasps when she realizes what is going on
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It would have cost over £75,000 to build if not for the generosity of volunteers – and viewers will get to see the reaction of the Blanchard family on tonight’s show.

Speaking to everyone who had taken part, Nick said: “We weren’t sure ourselves if we could do this in five days. But it’s pretty amazing what you’ve achieved. Remember you made the change, not us.”

Nick even found out how the family got along since the big build ended.

When Nick asked her on Twitter how they were enjoying their remodeled home, Caroline replied on Twitter, “It’s amazing absolutely love every inch of the whole place, so overwhelming what everyone has done for us, able to come down and have a coffee in the sun is priceless.”

*DIY SOS: The Big Build airs tonight on BBC One at 8pm

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