A family from Ipswich have celebrated raising £7,000 for EACH in memory of a beloved son and brother.
Jonathan and Joanne Rawlings and their newborn son Joshua James were joined by members of their wider family to release balloons at The Treehouse on Friday, 28 April.
They chose the date specifically as it would have been the first birthday of James Rawlings. The tot suffered severe complications at birth and was transferred from Ipswich to Norwich hospitals.
EACH helped Jonathan, 40, General Manager at Precision Cargo Services in Felixstowe, and Joanne, 34, Assistant Manager at the Ipswich branch of DJ Evans (Bury) Ltd, make some precious memories with James before his life support machine was switched off but, against all odds, he kept breathing.
The family were then offered a place at The Treehouse, which they gratefully accepted. They spent five days there and James’ parents were shown how to care for him, as he required feeding through a tube and various medicines.
Finally, they were able to spend five days at home. James sadly died on 16th May - aged just 19 days.
Since then the family have organised barn dances and online auctions to add to money collected for EACH at James’ funeral, with friends adding to their fundraising total by climbing Ben Nevis and taking part in the Great North Run.
Jonathan says: “EACH have embraced us into their family and we’re supported as little or as much as we want. They’re like a loving parent – there when you need them to guide you through the things in life you never think you’ll be able to handle.
“The biggest compliment I can pay is that, if we hadn’t received the help and kindness EACH provided by wrapping their arms around us and helping us to heal and progress after this heart-wrenching chapter of our lives, our newborn son and James’ little brother Joshua James wouldn’t be here today.
“There’re no words or sums of money we could come up with to ever pay back the outstanding care we received.”
Jonathan and Joanne continue to receive bereavement counselling and so their fundraising continues.
The former will be running the Ipswich Colour Dash on Sunday, 28 May at Christchurch Park. The five-kilometre (3.1-mile) fun run begins at 11am - more details at www.each.org.uk/colour-dashes.