As Christmas shoppers are out in force in towns across Norfolk, East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) is asking well-wishers to add just one more present to their list. The gift EACH need won’t require any wrapping but it will mean so much to the lives of local families.
The charity, which cares for children and young people with life-threatening conditions across the region, is asking supporters to buy a light on their virtual sensory wall. The cost of buying a light starts at just £5 and there’s space to leave a personal message remembering a loved one or to show support for families who use EACH.
Buying a light will allow EACH to continue to support families like Sonia and Ronnie Morris from Norwich. They were introduced to EACH when their baby daughter Aneira died during a bowel operation. She was just 26 days-old. Aneira was diagnosed with dilated loops of bowel during Sonia’s 20-week scan and lightning struck twice when Sonia fell pregnant with their third child, Lola.
Sonia explained: “When we lost Aneira, I just remember feeling shocked and like it hadn’t really happened. Someone from EACH came to talk to us the day after we lost her. They did memory work with us, helping us make hand and foot casts, and a little pendant with her fingerprint. It was nice to have someone to talk to for emotional support and to help us explain things to Alfie, our son who was four at the time.
“We started counselling sessions at home, getting to grips with the kind of loss no
parent should have to go through.”
Ronnie continued: “Lola was born at 36 weeks. It quickly became clear she was suffering from chronic liver failure and was taken to London’s King’s College Hospital for an operation just days later.
“That was really scary but she made it through. Lola was in hospital for the first nine months of her life. She was diagnosed with a condition called TTC7A, relating to low immunity and bowel issues, making her just one of seven children worldwide known to have the condition. She has various medical needs and is connected to a machine 18 hours a day, with a six hour break.
“Lola is turned two in October and is an amazing little girl. I always tell myself part of Aneira is living in Lola, and that helps us get through.
“We would be lost without EACH, they help us with so much – not just emotional support, they run events like Christmas parties and trips – these make us feel like a normal family. The staff are so welcoming, they know you and your family, they’ll just help you, talk to you and be there for you.
“There are no words to describe the difference EACH has made to us – so please buy the extra gift of a light this Christmas and help a family through the toughest time they will ever face.”
The virtual sensory wall is part of the Light Up EACH Life campaign. Light Up EACH Life runs throughout December as a celebration of the life of every child and family the charity currently cares for and has cared for in the past.
Lesa Barker, Head of Fundraising – Events, Compliance and Training, said: “Buying a light on our sensory wall will make so much difference to the children and families we care for – allowing us to continue the vital services we provide at a time when families need it most.
“The families we work with tell us what a lifeline EACH is to them – that our services give them light at the darkest of times. Celebrating the families we work with at Christmas, which is such a special time of year, will make it all the more poignant.
“There are so many ways you can get involved and by supporting our campaign you will be helping EACH to continue to provide our vital care services at a time when families need it most. We’d love to hear from you and find out how you are lighting up each life so please use #LightUpEACHLife so we can share your support – thank you!”
To buy your virtual light and for information on Light Up EACH Life and how you can get involved visit www.each.org.uk/LightUpEACHLife.