“EACH is a perfect fit, because it gives me an opportunity to help other parents experiencing something similar to me” – Lee has a deep connection and is always prepared to go the extra mile

A dad whose son died after just five weeks believes it was “fate and destiny” that he should one day find work helping others.

Lee Williams is deputy manager of the EACH shop in Histon Road, Cambridge. It is a role he carries out with pride, commitment and dedication and he says he feels a deep personal connection because of his own tragic experiences.

Son Tyler was born at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, in Huntingdon, in December 2006. He had Dextro-Transposition of the Great Arteries – a birth defect in which the main arteries carrying blood out of the heart, the main pulmonary artery and the aorta, are switched in position, or ‘transposed’. He was expected to survive 24 to 48 hours yet defied the odds and lived for five weeks, before passing away in January 2007.

Lee says it was a devastating time but now channels his energy into work, raising money and trying to help other parents experiencing similar things.

“I care very deeply about EACH,” said Lee. “I strive to do the best job possible every time I set foot through the door and I’m always happy to go the extra mile. I’ll always work extra hours and do long days if it means raising extra money. It’s my way of giving something back. I feel a deep connection and also have two old schoolfriends who have children that use our services.

“I know every penny we raise directly helps children, young people and families and that thought is always going around my head, even when I’m not at work. I empathise and feel a lifelong attachment. I can’t ever see myself doing a different job.”

Lee, who lives in Cambridge, says he always finds December and January tough months, because of what happened to Tyler. This year was especially challenging and poignant. “The anniversary is always painful and very thought-provoking,” said the 45-year-old. “However, for some reason, this was the worst year yet. There were days when I could barely drag myself out of bed. It was a horrific time in our lives and I couldn’t return to work for eight months.

“I was a chef but couldn’t go back. It’s not a good thing to do when your hands are shaking and you’ve got a knife in your hand. I tried a couple of other things, including working in a bakery and a supermarket, and knew I wanted to do something different. Then I lost my dad and thought how proud he’d be if I could find a job working for a charity, helping other people. Getting this job was therefore one of the proudest moments in my life and I thought of him looking down on me. It’s therapy for me and I’ll continue to push and push to do my best until the day I retire – and even then I’ll start volunteering.”

Tyler’s condition had not been diagnosed during pregnancy. Had that been the case, his chances of survival would have been 95%. He was referred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, in Cambridge, where the problem was immediately spotted by a specialist, and then transferred to Great Ormond Street.

“Losing him five weeks later was the most painful thing imaginable,” said Lee. “I held in my arms after his life-support machine had been turned off and I carried him to his grave. It was the very last thing I could do for him. He’ll always be my little miracle, because he lived for so much longer than expected.

“Would you believe that my lifesaver, at the time, was a dog, which I bought about four weeks after losing Tyler. He was magic and seemed to know when I was having a down day. We’d go for long walks and that cleared my head. The dog saved me and I can’t guarantee I’d be here now without him. The other thing that changed things was when my partner fell pregnant with our beautiful daughter, Paige.”

Paige is now 14 and Lee loves spending time with his daughter, just as he does being in the Histon Road shop.

“I’d always wanted to work for a charity and have taken part in fundraising activities for Great Ormond Street,” he said. “EACH is a perfect fit, because it gives me an opportunity to help other parents experiencing something similar to me. It was fate and my destiny to start working here and I genuinely believe that. I used to live near one of the shops and walked past it every day when taking my little girl to school. We used to pop in and I’d always buy her things.

“I got talking to the manager and built up a nice relationship. Then when a vacancy came along I knew I had to apply. That’s what I did and, fortunately, I got the job. Initially I started working two days a week and then I became deputy manager. I also had a spell as relief support manager before moving into the deputy role at Histon Road. I have the motivation and really enjoy being in the shop. I’ve always been a people person and love that interaction with customers and those who donate goods.

“Tyler’s always in the back of my head and doing what I do means I go home with a smile on my face. What happened made me the person I am today.”

Anyone interesting in joining Lee and volunteering at the Histon Road shop is welcome to pop in for a chat, email volunteerservices@each.org.uk or call 01223 363695.

Notes to Editors

“EACH has made us all feel part of an extended family and, thanks to staff and fellow families, we’re not alone with problems. We always leave The Treehouse feeling positive, stronger and thankful.”

  • We care for children and young people with life-threatening conditions across Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk, and support their families.
  • We offer families flexibility and control over where they receive their care and support, including where their child dies – at home, in hospital or at one of three hospices at Milton (Cambridge), The Nook (Norfolk) and The Treehouse (Ipswich).
  • Our family-centred approach includes specialist nursing care, symptom management support, short breaks, wellbeing activities, therapies and counselling, all meeting the individual needs of the child, young person and whole family.
  • We are recognised as leaders in our field, with a reputation for excellence and commitment to pioneering development and innovation.
  • We rely on voluntary donations for the majority of our income and this year need to raise £5.8 million from fundraising and £6.5 million in income from our shops. The year before the pandemic we received just 16% of our total income from statutory sources.
  • EACH Royal Patron –Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales.
  • For more information about EACH, including forthcoming events and how you can help raise funds,visit each.org.uk or call our Suffolk fundraisers on 01473 917965.

Keep in touch:

www.each.org.uk
www.twitter.com/EACH_hospice
www.facebook.com/EACHhospices
www.instagram.com/eachhospices
www.linkedin.com/company/eachhospices


For further information about this release please contact:

Matt Plummer | Media and PR Manager | 07738 328058 | Matt.Plummer@each.org.uk

 

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top