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Shooting Star Children’s Hospice Appeal For Families Facing a Sad Christmas

Published on: 17 Nov, 2020
Updated on: 17 Nov, 2020

The pandemic means this Christmas will be like no other for many, but particularly for families facing a sad future at Guildford’s Shooting Star children’s hospice.

Now the charity, its fund-raising heavily hampered by Covid restrictions, seeks help to give those families warm memories and the chance to say goodbye to loved ones.

Families like Ted’s. First-time parents Amber and Arthur were overjoyed to welcomed their son into the world. But Ted didn’t seem to be developing how he should be.

After what seemed never-ending tests, Ted was diagnosed with Aicardi-Goutieres syndrome (AGS) which meant he had brain damage and ultimately needed 24-hour care.

“Everything seemed so overwhelming, but when we were told Shooting Star Children’s Hospices would be able to support us, it was like a hole had been filled, a weight lifted,” said Amber and Arthur. “We didn’t know how much we needed a lifeline until we were given one six years ago.

“We can’t properly put into words what having Shooting Star means to us. So many special memories with Ted are at the hospice and we always hoped that, when the time came, Ted would die peacefully there with his family around him. But sadly, it didn’t happen that way.”

Early this year, Ted picked up a flu and fever and slipped into unconsciousness. The hospital told the family Ted needed to be intubated and put on life support, but he went into cardiac arrest during theatre and passed away in March.

Amber and Arthur said: “Without Shooting Star we don’t know what we would have done; they were there for us from the moment he died.

“Everything happened so quickly. When Ted was finally moved back to the hospice that meant our family and close friends had the time they needed to say goodbye to him, they needed that closure.

“You can never prepare for the heartache of losing your child, but the support of the care team kept us going. They created hand casts and handprints for us, which we’ll always treasure.

“Saying goodbye to your child is such a heart-breaking and unnatural thing to have to do, but in the hospice setting, it’s beautiful really.

“We will be forever grateful we got to say goodbye to Ted at the place that felt like home.

“There will forever be a part of our family missing and Christmas will be incredibly sad this year, but we will celebrate all the years we had with Ted and the lovely memories of Christmas time at the hospice.”

With support from the local community, Shooting Star Children’s Hospices can continue to be there for families like Ted’s long after a child has died, through times such as Christmas and beyond.

The difficulties faced by families supported by Shooting Star have been intensified during this extremely tough year. Your support can make the world of difference to families facing the unimaginable this Christmas. Find out how you can help at shootingstar.org.uk/christmas

For example:

  • £10 could pay for a child’s name to be engraved on a star or leaf to hang on the memory trees in the bereavement gardens, giving families somewhere to visit and remember;
  • £20 could pay for a carer to spend an hour with a sibling, giving parents precious time to themselves to simply grieve; and
  • £35 could pay for hand and foot casts and a memory box giving families somewhere to keep and treasure precious moments and memories.

Whether lives are measured in days, weeks, months or years, Shooting Star is here to make every moment count. As a leading children’s hospice charity, we support families from diagnosis to end of life and throughout bereavement with a range of nursing, practical, emotional and medical care.

Our bespoke support is free of charge to families and includes a comprehensive range of therapies and support groups for the whole family, specialist nursing care and respite, symptom management, end-of-life care and bereavement support.

To maintain our present level of care costs £8.8 million a year and just 8% of that income comes from central government funding, so we rely on our supporters’ generosity to keep the hospices running.

Shooting Star Children’s Hospices cares for babies, children and young people with life-limiting conditions, and their families, throughout Surrey and across 15 London boroughs.

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