Children's hospice caring for Wigan youngsters joins campaign to raise awareness of its work
A children's hospice which cares for poorly youngsters from Wigan has joined a national campaign to raise awareness of the work it does.
A YouGov survey, conducted on behalf of Together for Short Lives for its Children’s Hospice Week campaign, found that 20 per cent of the British public do not know what children’s hospices are.
Children’s Hospice Week, which starts today, aims to raise awareness of what children’s hospices mean to seriously ill youngsters and families, to celebrate the lifeline care they provide and show how they support families to make precious memories.
It is hoped that by changing perceptions around children’s hospices, more families caring for seriously ill children will seek help from a hospice.
Derian House Children’s Hospice, based in Chorley, offers a range of support for families looking after young people with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition.
This includes specialist playgroups, art and music therapy, community and respite care, end-of-life care and support through bereavement.
The charity helps more than 400 families, including four-year-old Bobby Baldwin’s, who recently enjoyed a free week’s break in one of the charity’s holiday lodges at Ribby Hall.
Bobby suffers from a terminal heart condition and has to spend much of the winter indoors to prevent him from coming into contact with potentially fatal viruses.
Mum Emma Doherty, from Worsley Mesnes, said: “We don’t know how long we’ve got with Bobby and something like this was a massive deal for us. It was a chance to have a good time and forget about reality for a little while. Seeing him happy and doing all the things he wants to do was great. There’s no words for what making these memories meant to us.”
Children’s Hospice Week is run annually by children’s charity Together for Short Lives and is the UK's only awareness and fund-raising week benefiting children’s hospices and the families they support.
It is being backed by the Duchess of Cambridge, who is the royal patron of East Anglia's Children's Hospices and wrote a letter marking the start of Children's Hospice Week.
In the letter, Kate wrote: "Children's hospices provide vital sanctuaries for those experiencing the very toughest of times.
"They help families and carers build lifelong memories that are poignant, happy and often filled with laughter.
"Whether through specialist play aimed at deepening relationships between children and their families, or through art and music therapy that helps young people express themselves and release their thoughts and feelings - the work of organisations like East Anglia's Children's Hospices can set a truly heart-warming example to us all.
"They provide a lifeline to children and families for however long support is needed and I hope that others join me in thanking them as we shine a light on their work during Children's Hospice Week."
Referring to the awareness week, which starts on Monday, the duchess said: "The theme this year is 'moments that matter'. It aims to make the most of the very precious time that those using hospice services have.
"Throughout the week we will hear amazing stories from families facing the toughest of futures.
"I hope that they will inspire each and every one of us to similarly make the most of the time we have with our own families, by ensuring every moment matters and that we create memories that last forever."
It costs more than £4m a year to run the services at Derian House Children’s Hospice, yet the charity receives less than 10 per cent of this from government sources.
To make a donation visit www.derianhouse.co.uk or call the fund-raising team on 01257 271271.