Sunday, 28 June 2015

Things are really starting to hot up with our plans for our Family Fun Day on August 1st 2015. 

We are getting more people requesting to have a stall at the event, bringing in money towards our funds. 
If you or someone you know would like to have a stall at the event please contact us via the website.

We now have a full list of raffle prizes which have been donated to us by many different people and companies.
We are so grateful to all these people, without them we wouldn't be able to hold a raffle, which usually raises plenty of money.

Prizes are:
  • 2 tickets to Flamingo Land during 2015 
  • Family sledging session at Snozone at Castleford Xscape
  • 2 tickets to Yorkshire Cricket
  • 2 x £50 vouchers at Ink Religion Tattoo shop
  • 2 complimentary gift cards (valid for 1 year from 1st August) for a regular screening at any Everyman Cinema
  • Bird Table, Handmade by Leslie Pankhurst
  • Sal's Cupcakes has donated a voucher for 1 fully decorated cake or cupcakes
  • Signed Warwick Davis book with Certificate of Authenticity
  • 2 paintings by the late Pauline Wherrell kindy donated by her daughter Tanya
  • Pamper Day and Champagne lunch for 2
  • Signed book by goalkeeper Neville Southall 
  • A 2 hour Bentley chauffeur driven experience donated by Hoss-Amo cars
  • Work Pro Tool kit
  • 4 Bottles of wine
  • Bradford Bulls Family Ticket (2 adults, 2 children) for home games the coming season
  • Pamper Day and Champagne Lunch for 2 at The Chevin Country Park, Leeds.
  • Shellac Nails by Amanda Howes
  • 3 tickets for Cadburys World
I am amazed at what people and companies have donated and think that there are some amazing prizes.

We are still looking for items to be donated to us to use for our tombola ( toiletries, ornaments, toys etc)  and book stall, both adult and children, so if any of you have anything please let us know. 

We have got confirmed visits from a few children's characters, Ironman, Olaf, Elsa, Spiderman  and Sponge Bob.

There will be 2 face painters available to decorate both kids and the adults.

We have a 9 hole Crazy Golf course, Candy Floss Stall, Sweets Stall, Tombola, Lucky Dip, Book Stall, Balloons, Bouncy Castle and Slide and a visit from our local Fire Station Engine.

Endeavour Disco will be providing the music for the day and staff from The New Middleton will be providing food (donating 30% to us ).

I think it is going to be an amazing Family Day where everyone can have lots of fun whilst raising vital funds for us.

I hope that you can all come along to support us and tell all your friends to come along too.


Saturday, 20 June 2015

I love the fact that on every post recently I have been able to say that we have had a really positive week.

Well yet again I can say that we have had another good week for our charity.

Sam has had an interview this week with South Leeds monthly paper and they are hoping to run our story in their July edition, getting us even more publicity for our cause.

I have had a meeting this week with 2 lovely ladies who work for the adult bereavement services for South Leeds CCG. 
The meeting was to introduce ourselves to each other and to talk about what we are hoping to achieve through our push for improved bereavement services. 

Although I am not able to say too much about the meeting, I can say that they have asked us to become involved, later in the year, with their review of the current services available. 

They also asked that when we meet again they would like to get a full history of the care we received and the issues that we encountered, both in hospital and in the community. 

They commended us on our commitment to improving the current bereavement services and assured us that they will try to address all of the concerns we have.

There has also been a meeting this week that Sam and Clive went to with our local Councillor and patron of our charity, Kim Groves, which has given us a few avenues to look into to help us get our support centre up and running quicker. 

As we get more details we will let everyone know, but we are feeling quite positive at the moment.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

We have had another really great week for our charity.

We have had an article published in the Yorkshire Evening Post which was a really nicely written piece.

The special cot which could help bereaved parents.

Carrie Curtis. PIC: Gabriel Szabo/Guzelian

Carrie Curtis. 

After her own son lived for just 19 minutes, Carrie Curtis tells Sarah Freeman why she wants to help others

When Carrie Curtis gave birth to her son Charlie she was already prepared for the worst. At 18 weeks, doctors had told the 20-year-old, from Middleton, Leeds, her unborn child had Potter’s Syndrome.
With little fluid in the womb, the prognosis was not good and scans revealed that little Charlie had just one kidney and his heart had developed on the wrong side. Carrie was offered a termination, but decided to carry on with pregnancy, determined that she would not be the one to rob him of the gift of life.
It was a decision she has never regretted and she still treasures the time she got to hold her first child, before he passed away in Leeds General Infirmary. In the end Charlie lived for just 19 minutes, but his legacy has endured for much longer.
Following his death in December 2012, Carrie, along with other members of her family set up a charity Charlies Angel Centre with the aim of offering support to other bereaved parents. The last two years has seen the group undertake a major fundraising effort and their latest challenge is to raise enough money to pay for a CuddleCot for the LGI.
It looks like any other Moses basket, but the specially adapted cot comes with a vital temperature control which helps keep a baby’s body cool allowing the parents to spend more time with their child in those first few hours after they have been bereaved.
“Dealing with the death of a baby is incredibly difficult and if we had been able to use a CuddleCot it would have made a big difference,” said Carrie as she launched the online fundraising appeal. Each cot costs around £1,500 and while they are looking initially to just buy one, they would like to see all hospitals have access to the cots.
“It’s not something anyone likes to think about, but the problem is that in a warm room the baby’s condition can quickly deteriorate and so the baby has to be transferred to and from the morgue. Not surprisingly that is incredibly traumatic for parents to be separated again and again.“The CuddleCot cools the baby and so it allows the family to spend as much time as possible with their child, creating vital precious memories. For some that just means dressing their child, for others it allows them to take photographs, but for all it gives them time.”
Carrie, along with her family, have now launched a fundraising campaign which they hope will pay for at least one CuddleCot at the LGI.
“At the time, I think everyone who has been in a situation like Carrie has, goes on automatic pilot, but we saw what she went through and anything that can make that time more bearable for grieving parents has to be worth it,” says Ruth Curtis, Carrie’s step-mother. “When you go into a maternity hospital you don’t expect not to walk out with your baby.
“I think that was the hardest thing she has ever had to do, particularly because she could hear the cries of other newborns from the delivery suite. Setting up the charity and focusing are thoughts on efforts on specific fundraising campaigns has helped us all deal with what happened.”
While hospitals and maternity units are much better placed at dealing with bereaved parents than they ever have been, support remains patchy. Also, while many families receive immediate help while they are still on the ward, in the days, weeks and months after a death that they often find that there is nowhere else to turn.
When the rest of the world moves on and normal life returns for family and friends that can be when many experience the darkest of days.
“Our ultimate aim is to open a bereavement centre that is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week that will provide relevant information, bereavement counsellors and support so bereaved parents and families can access the support they need, when they need it,” says Ruth.
“No one can take away the pain which comes with the loss of a child. The truth is, grief is a very lonely place, but if we can make it a little easier for just one person we will have succeeded.”
To realise their dream the family is looking to initially raise £100,000, but in the meantime they are doing what they can to support families.
“The ripple effect from the death of a baby is huge,” adds Ruth. “When Charlie died we realised our other grandchildren were really struggling. They had stroked Carrie’s bump, but then there was nothing.
“One day we bought them both a teddy bear, which we called Charlie Bear, and the way they interacted with it really seemed to help. We realised that we might be able to do the same for other children, which is how we came to launch the Charlie Bear Packs.
“The pack, which contains a teddy and a letter from Charlie can be ordered free from the website and all we ask in return is that the family send us a picture of their Charlie Bear enjoying some adventure.”
Charlies Angels Centre recently won a Radio Aire Award for Inspirational Family and Carrie went to collect the award along with other members of the family.
“Those moments are strange, we are all incredibly proud of what Charlie has made us achieve,” says Ruth. “ But of course we would never wished that Carrie had been put into this position. All she wanted was to be a mum to Charlie.”

We also arranged a surprise for our granddaughters, Rhiann  (8)& Amy(7). 
We had heard that Little Mix were going to be visiting Radio Aire to do an interview. Both girls are big fans of the girls.
We have had amazing support from Radio Aire, especially Bethan Davis. 
We decided to contact her and ask if there would be any chance that Rhiann and Amy could get in to meet the band as a 'Thank You' for all the work they have done for the charity and as a treat for everything they have been through.
Bethan worked her magic and got the go ahead for the girls to go in.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

This week has been really positive for us, especially with the media.

On Wednesday we were visited by Made in Leeds TV. 

They spoke with Sam and shot a short film for their 'On the Aire' shows which go out at 6pm and 9pm each week.

Sam said she was nervous but the people made her feel a little more comfortable.

We were told that our story would be going out on Thursday evening, so we all sat and watched or recorded to watch later.

The story they focused on for this interview was the work that we are currently doing to raise funds to provide the LGI with a cuddle cot. 

Sam didn't need to have been worried as she came across really well on the screen.

She was able to get over how difficult it is for families going through the loss of a baby and how the topic of baby death is still one that people find uncomfortable and difficult to talk about.

It was very good to see the next day that our website had had 505 views following the screening.

If we go on to help any of these people or they go on to support our campaigns then the anxiety was worth it.

Made in Leeds have also said that they are interested in coming along to our Family Fun Day on the 1st August to film the event to show the fund raising that we do and to give us more publicity.

We have also had contact from the Yorkshire Evening Post, who had seen our current cuddle cot campaign and wanted to do an interview to go into their paper next week.

Luckily with it being a paper the interview could be done over the phone.

They wanted more information about the cuddle cots and how much we were aiming to raise. They also asked for an update on how the charity is currently doing.

The article will be in the Evening Post one evening this week so please keep your eyes peeled.

Finally we were contacted by South Leeds Life newspaper about putting a piece in their July edition. They are due to come out on Thursday 11th June to get our story.

All this media interest really excites us as it gives us a way of reaching a much broader audience.

We know that many people saw the tv show as our social media sites, especially Twitter, had lots of people commenting on the show. 

It feels like a really positive time for us all and I really hope that the interest in us and support we get keeps rising.