A bereaved father will walk from Manchester to Chorley to raise money for the children’s hospice where his “cheeky, happy and defiant” son spent his final days.
Four-year-old Wyatt Golden-Caulfield died at Derian House Children’s Hospice in 2021 after battling a rare type of muscular dystrophy.
This year, on what would have been Wyatt’s seventh birthday (Thursday 11 May), dad Kyle Caulfield wants to raise as much money as possible for families like his by walking what would have been his son’s final journey – from Manchester Children’s Hospital to Derian House in Chorley.
Kyle Caulfield, of Chorley, who lived in Accrington at the time of Wyatt’s illness, will take on the whopping 28-mile walk with his brother Callum Caulfield, and friend Dan Rollings who helped to support the family throughout Wyatt’s battle.
Brave Wyatt fought for four years after his diagnosis of myotonic dystrophy type 2 – a condition that causes progressive muscle weakness and affects breathing – after defying doctor’s predictions.
Kyle, bar manager at Tutto Halfway House in Clayton-le-Woods, said: “Wyatt was very defiant and it was an on-going joke that whatever doctors said, he would prove them wrong. They said he would never sit up on his own, would never talk, would never eat – and he proved them all wrong. Wyatt went through a lot of things, but he always came back stronger.”
After spending much of his life in and out of Manchester Children’s Hospital, Wyatt was transferred to Derian House in March 2021.
“They said it would be a matter of hours when they took out his ventilator at Derian House,” said Kyle, “But we got there on Thursday and he held on until the early hours of Sunday morning. That was who he was – he was a fighter.
“When Wyatt was transferred to Derian House he was really ill. The staff there were brilliant. The amount of support we received was incredible. They made sure we were okay and that we had personal time with Wyatt. Those last few days were very important.
“Derian House helps you to feel at home. Wyatt had his toys and he loved his music – and we could play his favourite songs on the smart speakers in the bedroom. We would be with him every day.
“When Wyatt passed away, he was transferred to the hospice’s cold rooms, called the Sunflower Rooms, and the nursing staff let me carry him down there. That was what I did whenever he had an appointment or was moving somewhere, I always carried him. I was able to carry that last time and it was a comfort to me. I tucked him in in the cold room. We made it personal, he had his toys, and we could stay with him as much was we needed to. They supported us with memory boxes and we created art with his handprints that we can keep forever.
“Without Derian I don’t think we would have got through it as we did. We went through one of the hardest things any parent could go through, but Derian made it a little bit more bearable.
“I just want to raise as much as possible to help other families get the same level of support in what truly was the hardest time of our lives. I am going to walk his final journey. Although I won’t be carrying him in my arms this time, I will be carrying him in my heart.”
Ann-Marie Fishwick, Community Fundraiser at Derian House, said: “Kyle is taking on an incredible challenge that will not only raise vital funds to care for families like his – but also to raise awareness of what we do and the impact it has.
“While care is free for families, it will cost £6million to run services at Derian House in 2023. We rely on the generosity of our kind-hearted supporters – like Kyle – for 70p in every £1.”
Sponsor Kyle on his walk for Wyatt’s birthday: https://www.justgiving.com/page/kyle-caulfield-1677339375345
Derian House Children’s Hospice has been helping children and young people with life-limiting conditions make the most of every moment for 30 years. Find out more: www.derianhouse.co.uk