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Kay Lyon from Wootton is making a Mother’s Day appeal to encourage people to sign up to give a regular gift to Helen & Douglas House to help them plan for the future and ensure Helen House can continue to help their family.

Mother’s Day falls on 11th March this year. It can be precious time to celebrate the relationship between mother and child. On the morning of Mother’s Day many children will be handing over hand-made gifts and cards; lovingly folded, painted and glued together. Some mums will be brought a cup of tea, a bowl of cereal and some toast on a tray for breakfast in bed. For others this will be possible but not with all their children, but they will still celebrate the fact that they are mum to much loved and special children.

One of these mums is Kay who lives with her husband Andy in Wootton, their six year old daughter Sienna, who was born with Dravet syndrome, a rare and catastrophic form of epilepsy, brother Jamie, aged 13 and sister Ella, aged 12.

Kay speaks movingly about being mum to Sienna and what Mother’s Day means to her.

Kay said “Being Mum for Sienna is like having a new-born baby for life. She cannot do anything for herself and therefore requires 24 hour care and monitoring. Her health is fragile and she is constantly dealing with illness and seizures which are worse when she gets a temperature. Looking after a childlike Sienna can consume much of my time, so having help is essential so that I can also be Mum to my other two children.”

“As Mum to Sienna, it is great to have the break I need, with qualified and trained people to help out. I can’t just leave Sienna with anyone, as the responsibility is too great. I have a number of hours a week where I get help with Sienna at home, so I can spend time with my other two children doing the normal things like picking them up from school, taking them to after school activities, helping with homework and cooking meal. When Andy and I need a few days to spend time as a couple, or do something active with Jamie and Ella, Helen & Douglas House provides Sienna with a welcoming and safe place to go. Helen House is sensitive to the needs of our family and in that way it feels a lot like coming home; a safe haven. It makes me feel normal again and able to carry on.”

“Mother’s day means a lot to me because it’s a thank you day for all the precious Mums out there. And Mums need a thank you because Mothers are always sacrificing their own needs for their family. This is probably more so for Mums of kids with special needs. These Mums get an even more intense experience of what it means to be a mother.”

“On Mother’s Day we try to make it memorable even if Sienna is unwell. My older two children will give me a small gift and Andy will cook lunch or take us out. Last year I got a lovely Mother’s Day card that Sienna ‘made’ at school with her handprints.”

“My Mum passed away when I was 21 and she was my best friend but I’m so lucky that I get along so well with my Mother-in-Law, Ferraleth. We celebrate the day together and it is about both of us. Ferraleth helps us as much as she can with all our kids despite her own health ups and downs of late.”

“I’ll let you in on a secret, being Mum to Sienna has its heartbreaking moments but I have also come to see it as a privilege because I can also experience immense joy in her presence. Her beautiful almond blue eyes look into mine as if trying to understand this world she lives in. Her little body leans in closer to mine for a cuddle when I hold her and despite refusing to hold anything else she wraps her little fingers around mine with a firm grip. Her smiles are so precious because she was three before she smiled for the first time.”

“As a Mum to a special child you get down to the basics of what important for your child and they are happiness, comfort, and connection. Helen & Douglas House staff know this feeling too and that’s why they do what they do. Please support them so they can support Mums and Dads like us to continue to have the resources to be the best parents we can be.”

“I knew about Helen House & Douglas when I had my first two children but I never imagined I’d need their help one day. Please set up a regular donation for Helen & Douglas House. A regular gift will help them to plan for the future and make sure they can be there for local terminally ill children, Sienna and our family for many years to come.”

Hazel Bedford from Helen & Douglas House said “Given the recent sad news about having to close Douglas House, we need your support now more than ever to help the children and families using Helen House. You can help by starting to give a regular gift. It could make an enormous difference. Whatever you can afford every month will help us ensure we can care for local terminally ill children, whether that’s £5 a month or £50 a month. Every donation really matters to us.”

Jill Kerr is a home volunteer for Helen & Douglas House who regularly visits a family to assist with a family by doing household chores and spending time with the sister of the little boy who visits Helen House, she also works at the hospice as a Douglas House volunteer carer.

She has organised a Mother’s Day Fundraiser in Jericho running from Thursday 8th – Sunday 11th March. Over 14 businesses will be taking part including the florist Daisies where Jill works.

Jill said “I see first-hand the difference Helen & Douglas House makes to the lives of the local families with life-limiting conditions. This is why I volunteer for them and have organised this Mother’s Day fundraising campaign in Jericho. There will be collection tins in all of the businesses that have very kindly agreed to support us. Please pop into these Jericho businesses and make a donation to support your local children’s hospice who need your help now more than ever.”