The team at Sanderson Arcade in Morpeth have ten thousand reasons to celebrate this week after reaching their fundraising target for The Sick Children's Trust.
The management team, staff and shoppers at the centre have spent the last eighteen months raising money for The Sick Children’s Trust after it was selected as the Arcade’s nominated charity at Christmas 2012.
Over the last year and a half the fundraisers have run marathons, completed skydives, busked, flipped pancakes and even shined shoes to reach the £10,000 target. The popular Christmas Lights and Halloween events at the centre also helped to boost the fundraising target.
And this month the team have presented the money to The Sick Children’s Trust in a special cheque presentation held on the centre.
Julie and Paul Carss from Shilbottle collected the cheque with their three year old daughter Summer. They know too-well the difference the charity makes to families with sick children being treated in Newcastle, as little Summer has had two heart transplants at the Freeman Hospital after being born with a severe heart defect and contracting pneumonia which led to heart failure.
Summer spent eight months waiting for her first transplant in the Freeman’s children’s heart unit, receiving treatment on the Berlin Heart – a specialist life-support machine only available in Newcastle and London. Sadly, just a year later, consultants discovered the graft had failed and Summer had chronic artery disease. She was put back onto the Berlin Heart while she waited for a second heart to become available.
Thankfully just three months later, her transplant went ahead in December 2013. Summer has had four strokes due to complications from her heart problems and still has some issues with her mobility, but she’s progressing well thanks to the specialist treatment she receives at the Freeman.
Families like Summer’s, rely on The Sick Children’s Trust to stay near to their sick children while they are being treated in hospital. The charity provides free 'Home from Home' accommodation, as well as emotional and practical support for the families of seriously ill children in hospital through its Crawford House in Newcastle.
A second ‘Home from Home’ at the Freeman Hospital’s children’s heart unit, is now nearing completion and the money raised at Sanderson Arcade will provide a playroom in the new house which will open this autumn.
Summer has spent over a year and a half of her life in hospital and during this time her family know how important it is to be by their daughter’s side and the difference the new house will make.
’We never came home’, mum Julie says, ‘things were happening so quickly that we had to be right there by Summer’s side. We were both exhausted as we had to sleep in the old family rooms at the hospital which weren’t designed for long-term stays. There were times when she arrested in the middle of the night, and we had to run across to the ward to get there in time.
“When your child is so poorly, going home simply isn’t an option, no matter where you live. The idea of leaving her alone was horrendous. I’m so pleased Sanderson Arcade has raised such a fantastic sum for the new family accommodation. The new house has comfortable rooms with direct phone lines to the wards, which will certainly help parents get a better night’s sleep, knowing they can be reached straight away. Having a child on the Freeman Hospital heart unit is a waiting game and The Sick Children’s Trust’s new ‘Home from Home’ will make such a difference to the distress families like ours face.”
The Centre Manager at Sanderson Arcade, Medi Parry, said: “This really has been a huge team effort. We set ourselves a tough challenge but everyone has worked really hard over the last eighteen months to achieve this fantastic amount for the new ‘Home from Home’.
“I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who has helped us raise this amazing amount of money which is going to make such a difference to families and young people in our region. We can’t wait to see the new playroom when the new accommodation is officially opened later in the year.”
Caroline O’Doherty, Campaign and Appeals Manager at The Sick Children’s Trust, said: “We are delighted that the staff and customers of Sanderson Arcade have raised such an incredible sum, which will enable us to fully-equip a playroom in our newest ‘Home from Home’. With so many activities and ideas, the fundraising over the past year has been great fun and the perfect way to raise money for a special space which will help the brothers and sisters of sick children in hospital. Thank you to everyone who supported the appeal!”