Customers at a toy shop in Westcliff have donated a trolley load of presents to Little Havens Hospice in time for Christmas.
Chris’s Toy Box and Bouncy Castle Hire in London Road, Westcliff, held a Toy Drive where people could donate brand new toys which would then be donated to Little Havens and gifted to the children and their siblings, or used as raffle prizes.
On Monday 5th December, owner Chris Lindsay and his wife Bex Lindsay, delivered all of the gifts to Little Havens with their friends Stephen Newman and Sophie Muller, whose daughter Maci, four, is cared for by Little Havens. In 2016 Maci was diagnosed with Chronic Intestinal Pseudo Obstruction Syndrome – Neuropathic Type, a condition which means she isn’t able to digest food. She also has epilepsy and a cyst on her brain. She has been visiting Little Havens for respite stays since 2015.
“We never got a proper break from caring for Maci. Although we had carers come to the home, we’d spend time catching up with the things we couldn’t get done, like the housework and washing. So we never really rested. But when we come to Little Havens you get that break and the chance to sit down and relax or if we want to go out for lunch, we can.”
For the first year the family came for day stays to the hospice, but now they come and stay as a family overnight.
“For her to be in a safe, friendly environment, even if she is screaming when we leave her, I know she’ll be alright in five minutes. She’ll be fine again and playing and to know that I don’t have to worry when I’m not here. And it’s not just about coming to stay here, if you include the sibling clubs, the extra fun days they do that we get invited to, it’s so much more than just respite.”
Little Havens is part of Havens Hospices which also incorporates Fair Havens Hospice for adults. Both hospices provide respite, symptom management and end of life care to babies, children, teenagers and adults with life-limiting conditions. The charity must raise over £100,000 every week and relies on the generosity of the local community.
Sally Bridger, Community Fundraiser for Havens Hospices says,
“I’d like to thank Chris and Bex for thinking of the children at Little Havens at this time of year and to all of their customers who donated toys as well. At Little Havens whether we care for a child for years, months, weeks or even just hours, we make a real difference to their life. We’re the only place in the area wholly dedicated to looking after those with an illness which could shorten their life. Thanks too to Stephen and Sophie for coming down with Chris and Bex. Together, we’re ‘Making every day count’ for families like Maci’s.”
For information on how you can get involved in fundraising for Little Havens Hospice visit www.havenshospices.org.uk/supportus