Happy New Year!
I wanted to write and thank everyone for their outstanding support for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) in 2023.
As chair of trustees, it’s a charity close to my heart and an honour and privilege to have been appointed, having been on the board since 2016.
I have a very personal connection to EACH, as a bereaved dad with lived experience of how the organisation supports families. That’s why I wanted to give something back.
Stanley, my beautiful boy, died when he was just 18 months old, in July 2012. It would have been his birthday today (2nd January).
He had a serious heart condition and underwent major surgery eight days after being born, then again five months later.
He continued to deteriorate and, the following summer, it was decided he needed another operation. Complications occurred, it was too much for his little body and, very sadly, Stanley died.
As you can imagine, my wife and I were left in a complete daze. Our world collapsed and we didn’t know which way was up.
A couple of days later, we had a knock on the door, and it was two members of the EACH care team.
Very simply, they said, “we think you may need us” and, boy, were they right.
In the days, weeks, months and years after, the support we received was absolutely exceptional.
We benefited from memory-making and memory days, bereavement counselling and group sessions.
Some days we’re good and some days we’re not but it’s undoubtedly helped us adjust to our ‘new normal’ and life without Stanley.
My wife and I have dealt with our grief very differently but, thanks to the support we’ve received, we’re able to communicate our feelings and understand how the other feels. The team never told us how to do things. They just guided us, helping us navigate our own pathway.
Skipping forward to the present day, it’s incredibly rewarding being part of such a well-loved, respected organisation and the commitment, ambition and passion I witness every day is truly tangible.
I’m referring to our talented and dedicated workforce, the legion of selfless, inspirational volunteers and, of course, the general public, who have once again shown staunch and unwavering support throughout 2023.
That includes spending money in our shops and online, signing up for fundraisers and popping loose change in collection pots. Every single pound makes a difference and is truly appreciated.
As both a bereaved parent and now the chair of trustees, I’d like to offer my heartfelt thanks for this outstanding public support. We never take that generosity for granted and hope for more of the same in 2024.
To find out more, please take a look at our website at www.each.org.uk. You’ll also find links outlining the many different ways to support us and get involved, including our full and exciting programme of fundraising events.
Thank you again – and a Happy New Year from everyone at EACH!
Brad McLean, EACH Chair of Trustees