My family were introduced to The Sick Children’s Trust in 2009 when my son Harry was rushed in to the Intensive Care Ward at Sheffield Children’s Hospital with breathing difficulties. Harry was a typical, healthy child and to see him deteriorate so quickly and be taken from a screaming conscious state to a still forced coma was devastating. Hooked up to countless machines, bleeping and whirring, constant assessments, blood tests, steroid nebulisers and a team of specialists pondering the next move and all adds up to very worried parents. We live 40 minutes from the Sheffield Children’s Hospital on a good run in the car but when you are emotionally drained and mentally fixed on being there for your child, leaving their side is a last resort.
Luckily, we were introduced to Ann Wyatt the House Manager at Treetop House, one of The Sick Children’s Trust’s ‘Homes from Home’ located in Sheffield. Ann offered us a room which was within the hospital building on the top floor, five minutes’ walk (run if required) from Harry’s bedside and a shining light in a very dark time. The room was simple, immaculately clean and a quiet little sanctuary to gather our thoughts, have a cry, get some sleep, and have a shower and gain that little bit more strength that my baby boy required from his parent before heading back to his bedside.
Our story is one of with a positive ending although at the time we were being prepared by the specialists for a very different outcome. Harry fought off the three viral infections and the non-related bowel perforation to fully recover and is now a football-crazy 12 year old. I made a promise when Harry was in surgery that if he came back to me I would do something to help the charity, something to somehow repay my gratitude to the charity and help others.
I had no idea if there would be an appetite for my event but I knew I had to do something so I asked Laura, my wife, to put a deposit on the venue that she worked at and I set about organising a black tie event. I thought if we can raise a couple of thousand pounds then it will have been worthwhile…. and year one was really successful. So much so that people on the night were asking for the next event date. Fast forward ten years and the event has grown in to bi-annual events due to the number of people who want to attend, and the whole family is involved.
Harry and Samuel, his younger brother, are now instrumental in the success of these events, they help set up the venues, sell raffle tickets, they auction off the last item on the night, they star in the themed video that we play on the night a highlight for many of the guests, they often appear on the local radio station to promote the event and the charity, and genuinely want to be involved, because they understand the importance of the charity and its need for funding for it to continue to exist.
We are so proud that as a family we have been able to support The Sick Children’s Trust over the years with the help and generosity of our family, friends and the local community raising a staggering £236,600.
We are really looking forward to continuing with our fundraising efforts going forward and are so very grateful to all of The Sick Children’s Trust team for their hard work and dedication supporting families in need.
With love from, Marcus, Laura, Harry & Sam, the Levs.