Make every Christmas count
Children’s hospice Martin House is calling on people to Make Every Christmas Count for its families.
The hospice, which cares for babies, children and young people with life-limiting conditions, has launched a Christmas appeal as it copes with the effects of the pandemic on its income.
Clair Holdsworth, interim chief executive, said: “This year has taught us all how fragile life is – but that is something felt every day in the lives of our families. That’s why, after such a challenging year, they need our support more than ever, and we want to make sure that we make Christmas count for them.”
For the family of eight-year-old Felix Williams, who has an undiagnosed, life-shortening condition, the pandemic has left them extremely anxious for his welfare.
Felix has a progressive condition, and his parents Sarah and Matt have been told he is unlikely to live beyond his teenage years.
Sarah said: “When we celebrate Christmas as a family, we can’t help but wonder if it will be Felix’s last.
“That’s why Christmas at Martin House is so wonderful. Felix adores seeing Santa, and even my girls, Amelie and Kitty, who’ve had to grow up so quickly, get caught up in the magic of it all.
“Martin House Christmas parties, visits from farm animals and watching the Martin House nativity have given us so many happy memories to look back on.”
Martin House normally organises lots of activities and events for families to enjoy at Christmas, but due to the pandemic, these will not take place this year, and the care team is working on other ways to help families celebrate.
Sarah added: “This Christmas will undoubtedly be quite different to other years at Martin House, but I know the staff will do their very best for the children.
“It’s also incredibly reassuring to know that if we’re worried about Felix for any reason over Christmas, they will be there for us 24/7.
“Felix is the happiest person you’d ever meet, and he loves every day, but I can’t pretend that there haven’t been some dark times. Thanks to Martin House, we’ve never had to go through them alone.”
It costs nearly £9 million a year to run Martin House, with the majority of its income relying on fundraising and voluntary donations.
Clair added: “We need to be here for families throughout Christmas, whether they need the reassurance of a phone call or if they need to come to the hospice. We can only do that with the support of people in our community.”
To support Martin House this Christmas, visit www.martinhouse.org.uk/everychristmascounts.