Saturday, 29 July 2017

All of us have been following the heart breaking story of Charlie Gard and his family. 
It must have been the most traumatic and devastating time for him and his family made even harder by the presence of the press and court appearances.

Yesterday hearing the sad news that Charlies fight was over was so overwhelming. 
Although we are not related to him or know his family the UK and further afield have been privileged to have been allowed into their world and their fight. We have been given a glimpse into the awful reality of their situation.

We will all have our opinions on what has been happening but at the end of the day the people that mattered were Charlie and his family. They were the ones that were having to live each day with all the difficulties that entailed.

No family, in an ideal world, should ever have to go through the trauma of losing their baby or child, but to have to do this in the public eye must be overwhelming. 
I truly hope that the press now leave the family to grieve in private, to let them organise and have Charlies funeral to say their goodbyes & to try and continue to live their lives without their precious little boy.

One thing I really hope they have in place is a co-ordinated after care package to support them through the darkest times of their lives. We know how difficult it is to keep functioning even when you have support but if there is no support available it can be virtually impossible to keep going.

This is what motivated us to set up this charity and to petition the Department of Health to make changes to the current provision of bereavement support. 
If the family find it difficult to find support Charlies-Angel-Centre Foundation would definitely be there for them.

Your fight is now over Charlie, you are now free of pain and able to fly high with the other angels. You have been such a brave little boy, now its time to rest.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Who is Charlie Arthur Curtis?

This is a question I will never tire of answering, all of us are so proud of Charlie and what he has inspired us to achieve. 
Even when we are finding it difficult or emotional to talk about him we just remember how brave and strong he was.
When we are asked to do an interview or write about him it fills us with pride to tell them all about this incredible little boy.

Charlie always will be a very very special little boy to us, his family, but over the last 4 years he has also become special to so many others.

He is a Son, a Grandson, a Great Grandson, a Nephew, a Cousin and now a special Angel.

He was a fighter from the day he was created to the day he left us to gain his angel wings. Someone so small and vulnerable should not have to fight like he had to but he showed so much strength.

He fought against his illness with great vigour and showed his mummy what a tough little cookie he was. 
Through his show of strength he also gave her fight to keep strong and protect his life for 32 precious weeks. 
He then gave her the strength to carry on after his death and to try and help other families.

Charlie also gave the whole family strength to support his mummy through the hardest challenge in her life as well as enabling us to be able to keep going. 

We have all come through as much different people, all of us changed in different ways. 
Issues that we used to think were massive problems now pale into insignificance. When you go through a loss it puts other things into perspective and makes you reevaluate your reactions to situations.

None of us have been left untouched by Charlie's presence.

Now his fight is being felt by so many more people all across the UK and the world. Because of him there are now so many more families that are able to access the support and friendship they need to help them.

How amazing is it that such a small little boy can be making such a huge effect and making major changes all over the world. 

I want everyone to know about Charlie because I feel so proud of what he achieved and is still achieving in his memory.

Charlie Arthur Curtis, an inspiration, a motivator, a little prince.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Since we set up the charity in 2013 we have been the ones who have organised and hosted all the fundraising events. We have really enjoyed the things we have arranged and have tried to make them a variety of events to appeal to a wider audience.

It has got easier over the years as we have gradually gained experience and confidence in our abilities but at times it has been very time consuming and stressful. 
Our hope has always been that we would get to the point where other people would be holding events or taking part in sponsored events. 

Well 2017 seems to be the start of this happening.

It has been absolutely amazing being contacted asking if it was 'ok to do an event for us'. Some of them have been friends of families we have supported, some have been families who have lost a child or baby and others have been companies that have seen our website and liked what we are doing and want to help.

The first company to contact us was Touchstone, who are themselves a charity that work in the field of mental health. One of their employees had found our website whilst looking for a local charity to support. Every year they choose a charity to raise money for and luckily for us they liked our vision and plans to change the current provision of bereavement support.
They organised 2 events, one was a fun day at their offices, and the 2nd was a sponsored walk at Roundhay Park, Leeds.



These are a couple of pictures from their first event. The day was a great success and everyone had a brilliant time. They managed to raise a fantastic £298.53.
The sponsored run was also a great morning, I went along originally to cheer and support them all but ended up joining in and completing the walk myself. It was  really good getting to walk round with them all and get to know a bit more about them.

We are hoping that we will be able to meet up with all of them again. In total for the two events they have currently raised over £500, what a wonderful group of people they are.

The next event that has turned out to be a huge fundraising success has been the Leeds 10K. 
Originally we had just one runner taking part for us, Charlies Uncle Shane. In his youth Shane had been a brilliant cross country runner so I think he saw this as an event he could excel in. He has not really ran much in his adult years but he was truly determined to do it.

A couple of weeks before the race we received an email from Bevan Brittan Solicitors letting us know that there were 9 of the employees taking part in the 10K for us. They had chosen us because we have been supporting a family who are one of their employees close friends. We were really surprised but very excited and grateful.

In the week running up to the run we were again contacted by a lady, Ruth Childerson, who had decided to do the run for us as a close friend had recently lost a baby and we are now supporting her. It is very touching when things like this happen as it shows us how important the work we are doing is and that there are people out there who want to do something to show their support.

On Sunday 9th July several of us from the charity, along with Charlies three young cousins, went along to cheer everyone on. It had forecast unsettled weather but it turned out to be a blazing hot day. 
Charlies cousins, who are Shane's daughters, had been busy making posters to wave in support of everyone.

They were very excited to see their daddy along the route and were even shouting out 'run daddy run'. Shane excelled himself and finished the run in 1 hour 8 minutes. We are all very proud of him and know Charlie will be as well.
Lyndon Cambell from Bevan Brittan completed the run in a personal best time which in such hot weather is fantastic.
Ruth ran the race in 1 hour 21 minutes. To complete the run is good but to do it in such scorching sunshine is outstanding. 

  The current total for the money raised from the run is £4,226.46.
What an absolutely phenomenal amount, we would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who took part in the race, you are all wonderful people. 

The funds you have raised will enable us to continue to provide our services to bereaved parents and families across the UK.

We hope that it continues like this and we get many more people organising events to fundraise for us. We love getting to meet so many amazing fundraisers.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Each week things seem to be getting bigger and better for the charity, and this week has been no different.

On Monday 3rd of July we took a huge step forward on our road to opening our bereavement centre.

We have been looking around for a bigger office to move into for a little while as we have been growing out of our current one. A few weeks ago we finally found the one that we could see us developing our services in.

 We had been to see a few but this one just had that feeling about it, it felt comfortable and spacious. The office is situated close enough to the town centre for good transport links but not too close to the hustle and bustle. It also had parking spaces available which is important to us when we have clients or counsellors visit.

We have spent the last couple of weeks sorting out the furniture and decor and we think it is looking really great. 
We feel like we have made a nice welcoming environment for anyone to come along to. 

Having this room will enable us to see many more families and will allow us to start up our Community Support Group here. We are also hoping to start up drop in sessions and a men's support group.

The office will also enable our counsellors to arrange to see clients there.

Last week we held our first committee meeting at the new office which was a great opportunity for our trustees to see how things are developing. They were all really positive about the room and commented on how warm and friendly it was. We couldn't have had a better response which just confirmed that we had chosen the right one.

This week we invited 2 professionals, from the hospital, that we work closely with to come and see what we had to offer and they loved it. They agree that this is a huge step forward for us and will ensure that we can continue to grow and get our services out to as many families as possible.

The next chapter in our charities development has well and truly began. If you are ever in the area of the office please pop in to see us, let us show you around and see what we have on offer. 

We are really proud of what we have achieved so far and feel that this is just the start of something even bigger which will make sure that bereaved families are able to access the help and support they deserve and need.

Thank you to all of you for getting behind us and for your continued support it really has made a difference to us and the families we support.

Our address is Sandway Business Centre, Shannon Street, Leeds
LS9 8SS.