The Sick Children’s Trust is thrilled to announce that Children’s Heart Surgery Fund (CHSF) has awarded a grant of £10,000 to our Eckersley House ‘Home from Home’, which gives families with a seriously ill child at Leeds Children’s Hospital a place to stay just minutes from their hospital bedside, free of charge.
L-R: Jane McHale (House Manager, Eckersley House), Heidi Watson (CEO, Children’s Heart Surgery Fund) and Sheila Keenaghan (Eckersley House).
It is the latest in a series of substantial donations from CHSF, who have gifted more than £500,000 to Eckersley House since 2010. Driven by their mission statement to support the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit at Leeds Children’s Hospital as a world-class centre of excellence, CHSF provides funding and resources needed to care for a patient’s heart, mind, family and future.
Jane Featherstone, CEO of The Sick Children’s Trust, said:
“We are so grateful for yet another generous donation from Children’s Heart Surgery Fund, who have been wonderful supporters of Eckersley House over the past 13 years.
“We have a very close working relationship with CHSF, working in collaboration to support families of children with serious heart conditions being treated at Leeds Children’s Hospital. We often hear stories from those families about how much they appreciate the support they receive from both charities, and I hope that this continues for many years to come.”
Baby Alec being treated in Leeds. Credit: Children’s Heart Surgery Fund.
One family that has been supported by the two charities is Adam Dale and Caley Flynn from Sheffield, whose baby son Alec (pictured right) was born 11 weeks premature at their local hospital in August 2022. However, the diagnosis of serious heart condition saw Alec transferred to Leeds Children’s Hospital, more than an hour away from the couple’s home. Adam and Caley said:
“Alec was diagnosed with coarctation of the aorta, a serious heart condition that required corrective surgery. We were all in shock. He had been doing great, smashing through all his targets. There were no signs that anything was wrong. It was so worrying because we didn’t know what was happening to him, or what was going to happen.
“We were a long way from home, but thanks to The Sick Children’s Trust we didn’t have to worry about where we were going to stay or how we were going to pay for it. We could just focus on putting all our efforts into being there for our baby, which was all we wanted to do.
“We met Jane [McHale], the House Manager at Eckersley, and she was wonderful. She couldn’t do enough and sorted everything out for us. All the staff there were brilliant, and it was so homely. When Jane said that there was no financial cost for us, it was such a huge relief, a massive weight off our shoulders. We didn’t need any help when we were in Sheffield, but we really did in Leeds, being so far away from home.”
Caley Flynn and Adam Dale with baby Alec, who has been doing brilliantly since leaving hospital. Credit: Adam Dale
“Children’s Heart Surgery Fund were also incredible for us, giving vouchers for food, providing toiletry bags and even to offering pay the cost of our fuel when travelling. What they have done to support the families of children with heart conditions in Leeds is amazing, and we cannot thank them enough. We don’t know what we would have done without the support of CHSF and Eckersley House.”
Heidi Watson, the CEO of CHSF said: “Eckersley House has been a vital resource for our heart parents for well over a decade, providing them with respite and home-from-home facilities while remaining close by their poorly child. One in 125 babies are born with heart disease in our region – often needing lengthy hospital treatment, and the whole family needs support during this period. A huge thank you to Jane, all the team at Eckersley and the tremendous CHSF supporters for their hard work and commitment in helping to fund our latest donation.”
More information about Children’s Heart Surgery Fund can be found on their website chsf.org.uk.
Baby Alec full of smiles! Courtesy of Adam Dale.