This Father’s Day, join us in celebrating the most important men in our lives by making a donation to Helen & Douglas House. This might be your Dad, your Grandad or perhaps someone else who has played an important part in your life. Let them know how special they are to you, by doing something very special for them – supporting terminally ill children and their families.
Have you ever wondered what Father’s Day means to a Helen & Douglas House family? We hope that Mike’s moving story will inspire you to treasure those special moments even more.
Father’s Day will be an opportunity for me to remember all the happy times I spent with my twins Ben and Ollie, but the day will also be a reminder of the many precious moments that we can no longer share. When the boys were 3 years old they were diagnosed with a life-shortening condition called MPS – Sanfilippo 111A. I was told that there is no cure. The boys would have delayed learning, they would lose all abilities such as speech, walking, eating and they would not be able to do any of the normal things you take for granted that your child will do as they grow up.
When you have a child with a life-limiting condition you are not able to leave them with anyone, they need to be cared for and looked after by someone who understands their condition.
Sadly Ben died in October 2012, shortly before his 10th birthday. Ollie carried on visiting Helen & Douglas House for respite care up until he passed away this May – he was 15 years old. We were looked after by the staff in Helen House, and Ollie stayed in the Little Room, a special air-conditioned bedroom where we could spend time with him before the funeral. Helen & Douglas House have cared for me and my family from the earliest stages of Ben and Ollie’s lives, through to supporting us in our grief after their deaths. We are so fortunate to have this fantastic hospice on our doorstep, as our life would be much harder without them.
Please, help us tell as many people as you can about the amazing work Helen & Douglas House does for everyone who walks through their doors, and make a donation in celebration of the father figure in your life this Father’s Day.
Over the years whilst my family has been using Helen & Douglas House, I have personally wanted to give something back for all that they have done to support us. I have done this through fundraising events such as holding charity golf days in Ben’s memory, skydiving, running various events such as the London Marathon, London 10K, the fabulous Santas on the Run. I have cycled different events, which included cycling the Ridgeway in a day with work colleagues and friends, and we have hosted charity balls.
It was difficult for me to do these things as much as Ollie required a lot more than one to one care and I cannot be away for too long, so I did more after dinner speeches to businesses or at charity events to raise the profile of Helen and Douglas House, to hopefully inspire others to do more for the charity, but I know that this is something I will always support and I will push myself to do more of when possible, especially now during these difficult times for the charity.