A family from Chelmsford is fronting a campaign to raise money for Essex’s only children’s hospice after it cared for their son at the end of his life.
Noah Wright was supported by the team at Little Havens following his diagnosis of a rare brain tumour in 2019, aged just three. Mum Kat, Dad Nick and Noah’s twin sister Ella stayed at the hospice for respite breaks and when they needed support in managing Noah’s pain and medication. Noah died on 3rd May 2020, aged 4, surrounded by his family.
Children’s Hospice Week (20th-27th June) shines a light on the vital work of charities like Little Havens, which is based in Thundersley but cares for children aged 0-25 with complex or incurable conditions.
Kat, 40, says, “After our initial shock at Noah’s diagnosis, we were put in touch with Little Havens Hospice.
“One of the nurses visited us at home and shared how the charity could support us, even whilst Noah was doing well at that time. Having a friendly face explain that hospices are not all about the end of life was enlightening. Little Havens strives to make every day count for children with a lifelong illness, offering their families a special place to be together.”
Nick, 42, continues, “When Noah’s pain or symptoms became difficult for us to manage at home, the hospice team provided a calm and reassuring environment. Noah’s medical care was their responsibility, and we could enjoy time together as a family with the pressure off.
“It was amazing that despite Covid and despite lockdown, they were still available to us for that. A lot of the doors shut, and this was one of the few doors that always stayed open.”
Little Havens is focused on supporting the whole family, and helping them to create positive memories together. Kat says, “Ella knew her brother was poorly but she felt that he was going to get better. I felt really anxious and overwhelmed, not knowing how we explain this to her.
“The Little Havens Counsellor was amazing. I was constantly in touch with asking for advice. Without that support, I don’t think I would have coped.
“Now that we are a bereaved family, Little Havens still continues to offer support. Ella can have sessions with an experienced counsellor, and we can visit for annual memorial events.”
The care provided to more than 200 families across Essex who rely on the support of Little Havens is completely free of charge. This can only happen because of the generosity of people across the county making kind donations, organising fundraising events, visiting the charity’s 23 shops or leaving gifts in their Wills.
It costs more than £52,000 every week for the charity to support these children, both at the hospice and in the family homes. Nick says, “Everything we have received from the hospice has been free of charge. They offer families such as ours a lifeline at the most difficult time. If people didn’t donate, then we wouldn’t have had all those precious memories with Noah, and you can’t put a price on that.”
To make a donation to support the vital care of Little Havens this Children’s Hospice Week, supporting children like Noah who only have a short, but precious life, visit www.havenshospices.org.uk/noah
Published: 20th June 2022