The PM Society is delighted to support Together for Short Lives, the leading UK charity for all children with life-threatening and life-limiting conditions and all those who support, love and care for them. Together for Short Lives supports families, professionals and services, including all of the UK’s 53 children’s hospice services. Their work helps to ensure that children can get the best possible care, wherever and whenever they need it. From the moment of diagnosis, for whatever life holds, Together for Short Lives helps to ensure that families make the most of their precious time together.
We are delighted to have the support of the PM Society and to benefit from this year’s awards ceremony. The funds raised will help us to continue to make a lifetime of difference for seriously ill children and their families, across the UK.
Kevin is in many ways a typical seven-year-old. He is bubbly and chatty and loves swimming, riding his scooter and playing with his sisters. However, he suffers from hypoplastic left heart syndrome, which in simple terms means he was born with half a heart. “For the first twelve hours of his life I thought we had a healthy child that we would take home,” says his Mum, Enkeleda. “We were about to be discharged when doctors heard a heart murmur, and the next day he was transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital where we found out about his condition.” Since then, Kevin has undergone multiple open heart surgeries – his first when he was just five days old. He was put on a heart transplant list on his fourth birthday in 2011.
Kevin’s Mum first heard about Richard House children’s hospice from their community nurse when Kevin came out of a three-month stint in hospital. She says “At that point I was not interested... I thought a hospice was a place where you took your child and left him there.” Although the nurse explained about all the different services available for families at Richard House, it was nearly a year before Enkeleda decided to visit for herself.
Kevin and his Mum have been coming back to Richard House ever since. She says
“the hospice brings people together who are going through similar experiences. This makes you feel like you are not alone and you don’t have to pretend because everyone understands... Kevin has made some great friends of all ages and so have I. We have such a great time as a family.”
Enkeleda is full of optimism for the future. “Kevin has such a positive outlook that it makes you see things in a different light and appreciate life. I allow Kevin to do almost anything he wants to do. He really pushes himself and I let him because quality of life is as important as quantity. Richard House helps us to achieve that quality, and he really loves his life.”
You can find out more about the charity, and donate to support their work, at togetherforshortlives.org.uk