When a young child faces a life-limiting illness, their family also faces an extremely challenging time. The brothers and sisters of seriously ill children can find themselves growing up in difficult and emotional circumstances, and often have to cope with the loss of a sibling at a very early age.
But thanks to the work of charities like Together for Short Lives, and the money they have received from Pennies donations over the past two and a half years, these families don’t have to face this time alone.
Together for Short Lives works closely with children’s hospices like Little Havens in Essex, to support children like Evan Barnes, who grow up with a very ill younger brother.
It took 11 minutes for Evan’s younger brother, Finley, to be resuscitated at birth, which caused significant damage to his brain. He was on constant medication and needed care 24 hours a day. By the time he was three, his family turned to Little Havens Hospice for respite, not only to give Finley the specialist care he needed in the final weeks of his life, but to help Finley’s family truly enjoy the time they had left together.
See Evan talk about his memories of his brother and their time at Little Havens in the video below.
Finley spent the last eight weeks of his life at the hospice. He was four years old when he died in December 2008.
His mum Carrie said: “If Finley had died at hospital or at home, I don’t think we would have coped. At Little Havens his death was pain free and we could sit there and still hold his hands and do the small things that we needed to do for just a little while longer. If we could have chosen a death for Finley, that would have been it.”
Together for Short Lives is one of a group of 10 charities that has been benefitting from donations since Pennies first began, working closely with organisations like Little Havens across the country. In just two and a half years donations made via Pennies have totalled over £26,700 for the charity, money that helps fund their vital work every day.