A bereaved mother has praised the hospice she “would be lost without” during Children’s Hospice Week.
This week – June 19 to 25 – is a celebration of the nation’s 54 hospices for children and the work they do to help youngsters whose lives are too short.
Holly Nixon, of Adlington in Chorley, spent the days following her four-year-old son Alfie’s death at Derian House Children’s Hospice, as he lay at rest in one of the special cold Sunflower Rooms.
The extra time before Alfie’s funeral in April this year gave the family more time to say goodbye to their beloved boy.
Alfie was just one of 404 children with life-limiting illnesses cared for by Derian House Children’s Hospice last year, with another 204 new families being referred to the Chorley-based charity for support.
According to the charity’s annual impact report, released today at the start of Children’s Hospice Week, the North of England has one of the highest rates of children and young people living with a life-limiting condition in the UK – and that figure is rising.*
“Derian House has been a huge part of my life,” said Holly, whose son Alfie was born with a rare genetic disorder.
“They were amazing during Alfie’s short life and equally amazing afterwards. I’d be lost without Derian House. The staff were a lifeline for me in helping to care for Alfie, he even spent his fourth birthday at the hospice having fun. Derian will always hold a very special place in my heart.”
Holly has even raised more than £8,000 in sponsorship for a charity skydive due to take place in August to allow the charity to help more children like Alfie.
Children’s Hospice Week is an annual celebration during which the UK’s children’s hospices share powerful stories from families to show how important the care they offer is to more than 99,000 seriously ill children from across the country.
This year, Derian House Children’s Hospice has used the week as a platform to highlight the scale of its work in its annual impact report.
The report details how the charity raised more than £5.5million through the generosity of donors, gifts left in Wills, statutory funding and the Derian House Lottery.
It also shows how a loyal band of volunteers donated almost 13,000 hours of time to help run the hospice and its charity shops, saving £122, 471 in wages.
As well as offering respite and end of life care, the charity also sent 150 families on a free holiday and invested £275,000 into an education programme to improve standards of children’s palliative care across the region.
Karen Edwards OBE, Chief Executive of Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “We have more children with life-limiting conditions in our region than almost all other places across the UK and it is our mission to reach as many of these children and their families as possible.
“Thanks to the generosity of our supporters we have made a real difference to so many families, offering outstanding palliative care and helping them to make happy memories together.
“Children’s Hospice Week is a wonderful chance for hospices around the country to celebrate the work we do every single day of the year in caring for our inspirational children and young people to make the most of every moment.”