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Appeal for cash by Sick Children’s Trust hostels while coronavirus prevents fundraising events

PUBLISHED: 07:00 11 April 2020

First time Paul and Leanne get to cuddle their premature baby at the Royal London. Picture: Paul Curry

First time Paul and Leanne get to cuddle their premature baby at the Royal London. Picture: Paul Curry

Paul Curry

An emergency cash appeal has been made by the Sick Children’s Trust to help keep families together who have children seriously ill in hospital.

Paul and Leanne Curry with little Adam at his first birthday in December 2019. Picture: Paul CurryPaul and Leanne Curry with little Adam at his first birthday in December 2019. Picture: Paul Curry

The charity, which gets no government funding, needs public help during the Covid-19 crisis to continue running its hostels like Stevenson House in Whitechapel, where parents from all over Essex and east London can stay free in their own space while their children are in the Royal London.

It costs £2.2million to run its 10 Home from Home centres across the country operating on voluntary donations — but normal charity fundraising events have had to be cancelled during the pandemic.

“There is even more worry and uncertainty for families with a seriously ill child in hospital,” the trust’s chief Jane Featherstone said.

“There is an overwhelming feeling of helplessness when their child is in hospital.

Adam, born weighing just 2lb, is now a sturdy toddler... dressed as 'the Brave Lion' for World Book Day 2020. Picture: Paul CurryAdam, born weighing just 2lb, is now a sturdy toddler... dressed as 'the Brave Lion' for World Book Day 2020. Picture: Paul Curry

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“They can’t do anything to improve their condition, but can be there for them. The reality of the coronavirus pandemic is that they may not even be able to do that in their time of need.”

One couple supporting the charity are Leanne and Paul Curry from Romford, who were given accommodation by the charity in 2018 when their baby Adam was born at just 26 weeks and needed specialist treatment at the Royal London.

They were given a place to stay at Stevenson House for six weeks, just minutes from Adam’s hospital bedside.

Leanne said: “All you want when your child is in hospital is to be there for them. You don’t want to worry about missing the last train home, but the reality is you can’t stay with them all the time without a place like Stevenson House. The last thing you want to worry about is travelling or booking a hotel.”

Adam weighed just 2lb when he was born three months prematurely. He had to have three blood transfusions, but there were complications because of severe bleeds on the brain at birth and a partially collapsed lung. He had to be in an incubator round the clock for several weeks.

But “little miracle” Adam got through it and celebrated his first birthday in December. He has come on leaps and bounds. His mobility has been slower, but he now “moves so fast and tries pulling himself up and do everything babies like to do”, his proud mum reports.

The Sick Children’s Trust helps 3,500 families every year by giving them a place to stay, but says it cannot do this without public donations.


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