A bride-to-be is hoping to raise £150 at her wedding to thank The Sick Children’s Trust for giving her family a place to stay when her sister relearnt to walk after extensive surgery.
Ellie O’Rourke, 28 from Addlestone, will be tying the knot on Monday 12 October to Clive Williams and is celebrating the special day by raising money for The Sick Children’s Trust. Ellie, originally from Doncaster, and her younger sister Ciara, 20, were both born with a foot and ankle condition whereby the feet point inwards and downwards (talipes equinovarus). 14 years ago, Ciara was admitted to Sheffield Children’s Hospital for extensive surgery and needed to learn to walk again. During this time, her parents, Paul and Karen, along with Ellie, were given a place to stay by The Sick Children’s Trust at its ‘Home from Home’ Treetop House.
To thank The Sick Children’s Trust for keeping their family together and to help others with a seriously ill child in hospital, Ellie and Clive are asking friends and family to donate to the charity instead of buying wedding gifts. Ellie said:
“Although Ciara and I have the same condition, we had different treatment which meant she needed to go to Sheffield Children’s Hospital. On the first night we were there, my mum slept on the ward and my dad and I had to go home to Doncaster. It really hit home when we walked through the door just the two of us. Not being there for Ciara and my mum made us both feel awful, knowing we weren’t close by if we needed to be.
“Ciara had a gruelling operation and it was really difficult watching her to learn to walk again, but we were there helping her take every step because of Treetop House. The Sick Children’s Trust was a lifesaver for my parents. Although my mum could sleep on the ward, it was exhausting for her. With Treetop House a short walk away, she could come over for a nap. Not only that, knowing we were close massively benefitted Ciara – she knew we could be there at the drop of a hat. I would read with her and play games to help pass the time and we’d chat to the nursing staff who were amazing. It made hospital not feel so daunting.
“Ciara and I are ridiculously close. She’s my right hand woman and will be walking with me down the aisle. Clive and I really wanted to make our wedding something special and by knowing that families with seriously ill children in hospital will have a place to stay close to their child does that.”
The Sick Children’s Trust gives families with a seriously ill child in hospital somewhere to stay and someone to talk to when they need it. It costs £30 to support a family for one night. Charlotte Coldrey, Community Fundraising Officer at the charity, said:
“This is such a lovely idea from Ellie and Clive, and the money that they raise from the wedding will go directly towards giving families with seriously ill children in hospital a warm and comfortable place to stay. We’re honoured to be part of their special day and wish them a lifetime of happiness.”
Ciara, who will be Maid of Honour at her sister’s wedding, added:
“Me and Ellie have always had the mentality of getting on with it all and ignoring that we have a disability. I think it’s only through her support and love and sheer willpower that I’m thriving as much as I am. I also want to say how deeply thankful I am to The Sick Children’s Trust, to have my family so close changed the process a lot for me. It meant that I wasn’t alone and that through it all, I had so much love and kindness. Every child deserves that.”