Family say big thank-you for being there

Jessica Atherton, six, with parents Deborah and Roy and siblings Bethany, nine, Matthew, seven, and Rosie, four

Jessica Atherton, six, with parents Deborah and Roy and siblings Bethany, nine, Matthew, seven, and Rosie, four

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A FAMILY whose lives were turned upside down by a medical crisis that almost killed their daughter threw a party to thank the hospice that has given them vital aid ever since.

The money-spinning event was held at the home of Jessica Atherton exactly five years to the day since a heart infection, which would barely trouble most patients, left her fighting for her life.

The treatment she received at various hospitals completely cured her heart problems but left the Orrell youngster with severe disabilities which means that she will need round-the-clock care for the rest of her life.

Now six and a pupil at Hope School, Jessica is given 16 respite days a year at Derian House children’s hospice.

This gives he parents Roy and Deborah precious “normal” time to spend with their three other children: Bethany, nine, Matthew, seven and four-year-old Rosie.

And in gratitude for this help, the Athertons held a fund-raising do at their home in Redwood Road at the weekend.

Dozens of visitors came along to enjoy children’s activities including a bouncy castle, balloon art and face-painting while Deborah sold home-made cakes and more cash was raised through a tombola and raffle. With the possibility of more money coming in, they have already raised more than £700 for the hospice.

Deborah said: “We decided that for the fifth anniversary of Jessica’s getting ill we would do something positive rather than dwell on the fact. So we decided to do a fund-raising event in aid of Derian House where she goes for respite. These days are important for us because it allows us to spend more time with the other children and do normal things.

“And the day was a great success. We are grateful to all those who braved the showers and gave generously. We plan now to make it an annual event.”