A CAMPAIGN to finance extra family accommodation at Sheffield Children’s Hospital goes into the New Year with more donations and more accounts of the importance of parents being able to stay so close to young patients.
One of the latest fundraising events for The Sick Children’s Trust’s Branching Out appeal was a children’s Christmas fayre in Grenoside organised by the family of three-year-old Charlie Murphy.
Grandparents Paul and June Wragg, of Ecclesfield, were joined by relatives and friends as they contributed £305 to the drive to build an 11 bedroom ‘Home from Home’ next to the Children’s Hospital.
Charlie and his parents, Helen Wragg and Mark Murphy, live in Halifax, and The Sick Children’s Trust has supported them numerous times, providing free accommodation near the hospitals where Charlie has been treated after being born with Tracheo-Oesophageal Fistula - a rare congenital condition which means he can’t eat and is tube fed.
“He spent the first eight months of his life in Leeds Children’s Hospital,” said June. “During this time his mum and dad had to commute backwards and forwards to Halifax, occasionally having to sleep in the car until Eckersley House was opened with charity money.”
As well as Eckersley House in Leeds, the trust runs Treetop House at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, and it has passed the halfway mark in raising £573,000 so that extra accommodation can be built in Northumberland Road. It is hoped to start work next month.
“We have been raising funds for the last three years for Eckersley House,” said June. “This year, however, we plan to share between Eckersley House and the Branching Out Appeal to build the charity’s ‘Home from Home’ in Sheffield, as some of Charlie’s family live in Sheffield and he has also spent some time being treated at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
“His mum and dad had to spend three nights in casualty because there was nowhere to stay. Charlie is now 3½ years old and he still visits regularly the Leeds Children’s Hospital and Calderdale hospital in Halifax where he lives.”
June described the Christmas fayre as “very successful” and “a lovely festive family event”.
The Branching Out appeal was launched last March with the support of actor Dominic West and highlighting the case of Isobel Dews.
Isobel’s dad, Andrew, of Hoylandswaine, Barnsley, said: “We’ve been back and forth to Sheffield Children’s Hospital quite a bit over the last year with Isobel’s treatment and she has had to have surgery numerous times.
“However, due to the seriousness of her condition either myself or my wife has had to stay by Isobel’s bedside throughout the night in case anything should happen. “Because of this, we haven’t had to use Treetop House recently. Nevertheless it is of great comfort to know that when this new ‘Home from Home’ opens we will always have the option of accommodation close by to Isobel as she continues with her treatments and I hope everyone can get behind this wonderful appeal.”
If you would like to help by organising an event or collection, contact Samantha Silverwood, Regional Fundraiser – Yorkshire on firstname.lastname@example.org, or ring Treetop House on 0114 2717176.
Make cheques payable to The Sick Children’s Trust and post them to Treetop House, The Sick Children’s Trust, Sheffield Children’s Hospital, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TH. Information on the Branching Out Appeal can be found at www.sickchildrenstrust.org