As Christmas approaches, the families supported by Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity across South London who care for a child with a life-threatening or terminal illness are only too aware that the greatest gift of all will be spending time together this festive season.
Rainbow Trust last week launched its new heart-warming Christmas animation, The Greatest Gift, alongside its traditional Christmas Appeal to encourage supporters to donate so the charity can reach more families this festive season through its team of family support workers.
Rainbow Trust matches families who have a seriously ill child with a family support worker who provides emotional and practical support at home, in hospital and in the community, making life a little easier.
It has nine care teams of family support workers across England, including two in London. The family fronting the appeal are the Bethells from Colchester in Essex, who have shared their story and made a heart-felt plea for donations.
The story shows how their Rainbow Trust family support worker, Sarah, helps them cope and face each new day because their son Samuel, aged three, has a life-threatening heart condition and needs to be watched at all times.
Sarah has been a lifeline for them over the past two years, looking after Samuel so his parents can spend some time with his two sisters, taking Samuel to hospital appointments and helping the family prepare for Christmas, which was particularly difficult last year when he was recovering from heart surgery. It was a struggle,” mum Vicki said. “Without Sarah, we don’t think we would have remembered everything we needed to make the day special for the children. She collected the Christmas tree, helped with the shopping and made pigs in blankets.
“Thanks to Sarah being there to ensure Samuel didn’t get over excited, we were even able to have a visit from a Christmas elf, whose favourite food was sprouts and peanut butter, which was lovely because it meant that the children didn’t miss out on the visit because of Samuel’s condition.
“We couldn’t do without Sarah’s support. Samuel wakes in the night up to 25 times, so having Sarah there to look after Samuel during the day means we can catch up on some sleep after a difficult night.”
Thanks to Sarah, the Bethells are looking forward to Christmas and are pleased to share their story for the charity’s Christmas campaign and animation to illustrate just how vital the charity is for families like theirs.
“This year we know Sarah will be there helping out again if we need it,” Vicki said. “We can’t wait to see the children’s faces when they see the tree. Daisy wants sprouts with peanut butter and Samuel is desperate to meet Father Christmas.
“Rainbow Trust’s Family Support Workers enable thousands of families with sick children to be at home together every day. It would be the greatest gift to families like mine if you could make a donation to Rainbow Trust at https://rainbowtrust.org.uk/the-greatest-gift
Please give whatever you feel you can spare and Rainbow Trust will be able to reach out to more families at Christmas and throughout the year.”
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