Parents who stayed in hospital with a poorly child or baby over the festive period were gifted hampers thanks to a fundraising project.
Supported by children’s charity Rockinghorse, Aidan’s Christmas Dinner Project treated families at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton and the neighbouring Trevor Mann Baby Unit with a selction of goodies including tea, coffee, a cafetière, rocky road bites, mini mince pies and hand cream.
Christmas lunch was also cooked for families at both hospitals thanks to the additional support of Ronald McDonald House.
Project founder Lucy Pond said: “The children in hospital at Christmas receive lots of gifts from the generous toy appeal donations, but parents are often forgotten about.
“There were many tears and smiles of gratitude from exhausted parents and carers all hoping to be able to get home in time for Christmas.
“The reality is that many had to stay in hospital with their children, so we hope the hampers and Christmas dinners went a long way to make it as a special a day as possible.”
To date, over £14,000 has been raised, providing 205 Christmas hampers for families since it was founded in 2015 by Lucy alongside her husband Simon in memory of their son.
She said: “My son Aidan was tragically diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called Mitochondrial disease, aged just one.
“Unfortunately, there is no treatment or cure for the disease and he was diagnosed as terminally ill, passing away at the Alex on March 1, 2014.
“We spent Aidan’s last Christmas in 2013 as a family in the Alex. Funding issues meant that for families like us, a Christmas dinner was not able to be provided.
“In Aidan’s memory, it was our aim to set up a project in order to provide a Christmas dinner for parents and carers.”
Lucy spent Christmas eve delivering the hampers alongside volunteers and a team from Rockinghorse who have been supporting the project.
Louise Bartha, appeals and trusts fundraising Manager at Rockinghorse, explains why the project is so important to the charity: “As the official fundraising arm of the Alex, we are incredibly supportive of Aidan’s Christmas Dinner Project and work closely with Lucy to ensure the hampers are funded, created and delivered to patients and parents in hospital on Christmas day.
“Seeing first-hand the impact that the hampers have, brings home the importance of the project at what is a very difficult time for a family in hospital. It’s wonderful to see what a big difference the hampers make in giving families a much-needed boost.”
Lucy and Rockinghorse are now looking to fund the hampers for Aidan’s Christmas Dinner Project in 2019. To donate, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/aidanschristmasdinner2019