Family raise funds for Sick Children's Trust after little Esmé struggles for life at Royal London
PUBLISHED: 07:00 14 April 2017
Sick Children's Trust
The parents of a little girl who survived three major lung conditions in hospital at just five weeks old are taking part in a fundraising campaign for the charity that gave them free accommodation to be near the hospital bedside.
Emily and Luke Smallbone experienced every parent’s worst nightmare when their baby, Esmé, was rushed to the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel with breathing difficulties.
Esmé fought for her life in the paediatric intensive care unit for four days.
The couple and their eldest daughter Ava were given free ‘Home from Home’ accommodation at Stevenson House run by the Sick Children’s Trust just minutes away from Esmé’s hospital bedside.
“It was the worst time of our lives when Esmé was fighting for her life,” Emily recalls. “But the charity was there for us, which meant our family wasn’t torn apart as we could all be together.
“It was a huge relief and meant we were just minutes from Esmé when she needed us the most. She had all of us there, including her sister, and we believe this had a significant impact on our baby’s speedy recovery.”
Now two years on, with Esmé doing well back home in Surrey, her parents are taking part in the charity’s annual ‘Big Chocolate Tea’ fundraiser to help other families with children in hospital with free accommodation.
They are holding events at their places of work during campaign week starting next Friday, April 21.
It costs the Trust £30 to support a family in one of its 10 ‘Homes from Home’ centres for one night. Accommodation includes a private bedroom, communal living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens, playrooms and laundry facilities.
The annual campaign raised £60,000 last year, which gave 2,000 families accommodation.
Big Chocolate Tea runs April 21 to May 1, but wellwishers can take part any time and receive a free fundraising pack for the event.