Five-year-old Connie Price with the help of her family organised the 5K Toy Parade to raise money for new toys for Neptune Ward at Southend Hospital and Little Havens Hospice in Thundersley.
Connie was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension, an incredibly rare and currently incurable condition, in 2017. In addition to frequent trips and stays in Great Ormond Street Hospital, Connie and her family started accessing Little Havens as well as being a regular visitor to Southend Hospital’s Neptune ward
When Connie visits Neptune Ward for frequent blood tests, she is given a toy every time to keep every time, but she became worried there would not be enough toys to go around all the children that needed them. Her sister accesses the sibling support through Little Havens so thought the hospice could benefit too. Connie decided she wanted to buy some more toys for both places and with the help of her Mum, Jane and Dad, Jon organised a Toy Parade Walk around the grounds of Little Havens.
Mum, Jane said “When Connie said she wanted to raise money for Little Havens Hospice, and Neptune Ward I felt really proud of her. Both services have been fantastic, Connie and her sister always have such a wonderful time at both the hospice and hospital. When we go to both places, it isn’t just Connie they look after – it really is the whole family.”
Despite the soggy start to Sunday, Connie was joined by family, friends and their favourite toys to walk, skip and even dance along the 5K route round the grounds of Little Havens.
The walk was supported by national charity Partyman’s Magic Makers who provided medals for the walkers. The event also captured the imagination of the Cliffs Pavilion Promotions Team in Westcliff, who joined the walkers on the day to offer free games and glitter tattoo booth throughout the day. Argosy Toys in Westcliff-on-Sea has donated some toys to help get Connie started and will be helping Connie make the most out of the funds raised from the walk and raffle, which currently stands £3,500.
Jane continued, “The day was fantastic and I would really like to thank everyone helped us make it happen, I would especially like to thank my colleagues and Connie’s teachers from Blenheim Primary School and my wonderful friends who volunteered as marshals along the route and entertained the kids as they took part in the parade, by playing music, cheering them on and joking with them.
“I’d also like to say a huge thank you to every one of our friends and relatives who joined us on the day and helped us raise a huge amount for both the Neptune Ward and Little Havens. It was a fantastic day and Connie had so much fun with you all, so thank you for being a part of it.”
Carmel Hudson, Community Fundraising Manager for Havens Hospices, which includes Little Havens, Fair Havens and The J’s Hospice said “On behalf of everyone at Little Havens, I want to say a huge thank you to Connie for being such a superstar and organising such a wonderful event to help raise money for us; we can’t wait to see what new toys arrive at the hospice after Connie goes shopping!”
Connie and her family have set up a JustGiving page which anyone can donate too and help make Connie’s ‘toy dream come true’. All funds raised will be split evenly between Little Havens Hospice and Southend’s Neptune Ward and will go directly towards benefiting children, like Connie and her siblings, who regularly use their services when they need them the most. To sponsor Connie please click here.
If you’ve been inspired by Connie and would like to help Little Havens continue ‘Making every day count’ by holding your own fundraising event please click here.