A bereaved dad is bravely sharing his story to help raise funds for the children’s hospice that cared for his three-year-old son. Scott Rogers, from Clacton, has spoken out to support East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices’ (EACH) Christmas Appeal.
Son Fin was diagnosed with leukaemia early last year and although he put up a brave fight and went into remission during the summer, the cancer returned and he died on 19th October 2022.
He received end-of-life care and Scott, wife Becky and seven-year-old son Ollie continue to be supported by EACH. Now Scott is sharing his story as a way of supporting the charity’s Christmas Appeal – a campaign aiming to raise in the region of £40,000.
In addition to an online appeal, his words feature on a letter that is set to drop through 4,500 doors across Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk.
It is also part of an ongoing social media campaign and was emailed to 8,400 people on 27th November.
“There’s no right or wrong way to deal with grief and it depends on an individual’s personality,” said Scott, 35.
“However, as a dad, I remember feeling I had to keep going and didn’t want to stop. I saw it as my job to fix things and, even though there was nothing I could do to change the situation, I needed to be strong for everyone else. It was my duty to make sure they were OK.
“I feel my whole purpose is to look after and protect my children, so to lose Fin made me feel a failure. It was hard to process and it’s only now, looking back, I realise I burnt myself out, physically and mentally.
“I still consider myself a dad of two boys, even though one has been taken away, and my advice to anyone else going through the same thing is don’t forget to look after yourself.”
Two EACH nurses were present when Fin died at home. It was a harrowing time and Scott is keen to shine a light on the support he and his family received from EACH.
Ollie is enjoying music therapy while Scott and Becky benefit from counselling and bereavement support, in addition to attending events and memory days at The Treehouse.
“What we experienced a year ago is something no-one wants to go through, but it would have been completely unbearable and unimaginable without that support,” he said.
“We couldn’t have been in better hands and will forever be grateful for the opportunity to spend time with Fin, while also processing everything going on around us. I can’t praise the incredible staff enough and everyone was so kind, caring and respectful.”
Scott admits Christmas will be tough, although he and Becky are keen to put a brave face on for Ollie’s sake.
“We hid away from the world this time last year,” he said.
“We went away for a few days because we didn’t want to be at home, around other people. We wanted time on our own, adapting to life as a family of three.
“Christmas will never be the same. It’ll always feel different and we’ll never be as excited as before. However, we’ll put a brave face on for Ollie’s sake. He’s only seven so he’s looking forward to it.
“He talks about his little brother all the time and gets upset, but we want him to know it’s ok to be excited about his toys and presents, about seeing family and being allowed to eat sweets and chocolate first thing in the morning!
“Those things are completely normal for any child and his excitement will help us get through it.”
To make a donation to EACH’s Christmas Appeal, click here or head to each.org.uk/appeal