A mum from Winterton, Scunthorpe is taking on a charity skydive in memory of her daughter to raise funds for The Sick Children’s Trust.
Aimee Hemstock will be undertaking the 10,000ft tandem skydive on 21 August, raising funds for the charity that supported her with a place to stay while her daughter Lilley underwent treatment in hospital in 2016.
Lilley needed to be delivered by emergency caesarean as Aimee’s placenta had erupted resulting in her losing 2.7 litres of blood. Lilley was diagnosed with a hole in her heart and a butterfly vertebra, which is caused by the lateral halves of the vertebrae failing to fuse correctly. Lilley was also struggling to swallow food before she started to turn blue. The medical staff immediately took her for an X-ray which revealed she had a condition called Trachea-Oesophageal Fistula (TOF). This is where the throat doesn’t connect to the stomach properly and prevents food from passing to stomach.
Needing emergency surgery to correct the condition Lilley was transferred from Scunthorpe Hospital to Leeds Children’s Hospital for the procedure. Aimee was unable to travel with her until two days later as she was still recovering from her caesarean. The surgery was successful and, for the four weeks that Lilley was in Leeds, Aimee was supported by The Sick Children’s Trust and its Eckersley House ‘Home from Home’, meaning she could always be by her daughter’s side. Lilley then returned to Scunthorpe Hospital for another week before Aimee was finally able to bring her home.
At three months of age Lilley started struggling with her breathing and was rushed to a specialist children’s hospital in Sheffield. It was discovered that her internal organs were being pushed up and forward which was compressing her lungs against her chest. She underwent surgery to move her organs down from her chest, spending another four weeks in hospital before they were able to return home. However, over the next year Lilley continued to struggle with her breathing and swallowing with her choking on several occasions. She spent a lot of time in hospitals in Scunthorpe, Sheffield, and Leeds where she stopped breathing completely nine times.
Lilley was due to undergo another surgery to help with her breathing, but sadly she passed away before the procedure could be carried out in 2017, aged 17 months. During Lilley’s time in Sheffield Aimee stayed in both Magnolia House and Treetop House, another two ‘Homes from Home’ run by The Sick Children’s Trust. Aimee has never forgotten the support she received and is now taking part in The Sick Children’s Trust’s 40 skydivers challenge in celebration of their 40th anniversary. Aimee said:
“Being able to stay at The Sick Children’s Trust’s ‘Homes from Home’ was such a massive help as without them I would have had to rely on my parents driving me to and from the hospitals. I wouldn’t have been able to spend as much time with Lilley, and when your child is critically ill where you’re going to stay is the last thing you’re thinking about.
“Thanks to this amazing charity I didn’t have to worry about any of that. I want to raise as much as possible so they can support more families like mine in the future. I’ve never done anything like this before, and in fact I’ve never been in a plane before so this will be an extreme first!
“I’m excited for the challenge and keeping the nerves at bay, but I’m sure that will all change on the day. I’ll be forever grateful for the charity’s support and the time they gave me with Lilley.”
This year The Sick Children’s Trust is celebrating its 40th anniversary and since 1982 it has supported over 73,000 families, like Aimee’s, with a free place to stay close to their seriously ill child’s hospital bedside. Community Fundraising Officer, Charlotte Coldrey, said:
“Taking on a skydive is an incredibly brave way for anyone to raise money, but for someone like Aimee who has never been in a plane it is absolutely amazing! We’re celebrating a huge milestone at The Sick Children’s Trust this year and it’s fantastic to have 40 committed supporters who are willing to take on this challenge to raise money and mark this achievement.
“As a charity we rely on the generosity of our supporters and fundraisers like Aimee to make sure we can continue to be there supporting more families. While we do not charge families to stay in any of our ten ‘Homes from Home’, it does cost the charity £40 to support a family for one night.”
More information about Aimee’s skydive challenge can be found on her Just Giving page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Aimee-Hemstock1