A family whose son was cared for by Little Havens Hospice before he died at four months old have held a fundraising party in his memory.
Reggie Marshall was born on 24th May 2013 and at two months old was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 1, a rare, genetically inherited neuromuscular condition which can affect crawling and walking ability, arm, hand, head and neck movement, breathing and swallowing. When he was three months old Reggie, his mum and dad Carly and Matt and younger brothers Freddie, nine and Kennie, seven, where referred to Little Havens Hospice.
The family held their second fundraising party at Laindon Community Centre on 28th May in celebration and in memory of Reggie’s life. The evening included a disco and raffle and raised £2,704 for the hospice.
“Everyone had told me about Little Havens, but I was fed up of it. I didn’t want to go. One of the nurses from the hospice came to see us at home and she explained all about it – I didn’t even realise they were proper nurses or did respite. I thought it was just where really sick children went when they were dying. We agreed to go and visit, for the boys really. They loved it and couldn’t wait to go back.
“Little Havens took over Reggie’s medicine and feeds, I was so nervous. Matt and I were the only ones who had done it and we both sat there watching them, making sure they were doing it right. After that, I can’t explain how it felt - they were angels who just let me be Mum.”
Reggie’s condition continued to deteriorate and on 30th September 2013, aged four months, he died at Little Havens.
“Reggie stayed in the Woodland Suite up until his funeral. I didn’t have any idea what it would be like but family and friends visited, sat with Reggie or held him. We let the boys see him too. My sister bought sky lanterns for us to release and when we took them up to the top field, the nurses sat by Reggie’s side. Two days before the funeral I held Reggie for the last time.
“I never dreamed what Little Havens would be like but from the very beginning they looked after our whole family and they gave us longer to be with Reggie. It wasn’t a relief, by any means, but he wasn’t suffering anymore. Before Little Havens, I’d always wanted Reggie to die at home but I was so glad we were there in the end. It was the best thing we did.
“I will always remember how wonderful the nurses were with Reggie. They would cuddle him, hold his hand, and sing to him. My little Reggie certainly touched a lot of hearts!”
Because the care of Little Havens is completely free of charge, Carly and her family has fundraised and supported the charity ever since.
“Little Havens let us be a family. We were able to all spend time together and we made some beautiful memories with Reggie at the hospice. We will forever hold Little Havens close to our hearts, and really wanted the opportunity to give something back. We have a lot of supportive family and friends behind us that are always there to help - I want to thank everyone who helped with our fundraising party for Reggie - we had an amazing night and it felt great to have raised such a wonderful amount for the hospice.”
If you would like to find out more about Little Havens Hospice and the services it provides why not visit its Open Doors event.
On Sunday 26th June between 11am and 3pm Little Havens is open to visitors to have a tour of the hospice, find out more about the services it provides and there will be refreshments and entertainment. For more information visit havenshospices/opendoors