To be honest, I don’t really know how we came to be involved with Acorns Children’s Hospice. It was one of many things that were happening to us in the darker days of Jude’s early years. I had actually visited their Selly Oak hospice (where Jude goes for respite weekends) not long after it opened as part of my nurse training but my perception was that it was a place for terminally ill children providing care at the end of life. Our visit there with Jude was one with some trepidation.
Acorns does provide end of life care and has an excellent reputation for the support they provide families at such a difficult time. However, their services are also for children who have life limiting conditions. Getting involved with Acorns was the first time I had understood that phrase – life limiting. Jude was just…Jude but we were beginning to understand how Jude’s complex health needs were going to limit his life. And ours.
As much as I try to avoid it, I compare Jude to other children. I compare him to children his own age who are healthy and well and I compare him to his peers at school who have a range of different needs and there is no escaping the fact that Jude’s problems are complex and numerous and I guess that’s why we were referred to Acorns and there’s no doubt that it has had an incredibly positive impact on our lives.
Jude is fortunate to get a number of weekends in respite every year – two can be booked in the diary at any time. This has meant myself and Rachel have been able to spend some time together, take the boys out somewhere, attend family weddings….or just do nothing. The type of things many families take for granted we are indebted to Acorns for.
Acorns also provide a couple of evenings respite at home each week – 3 hours an evening where Jude is cared for and often spoilt but people who love what they do
Then there is the dedicated support they provide to Jude’s brothers Nathan and Joe – meeting regularly with other siblings and going on days out.
Acorns keeps giving to us and families like us but 2/3rds of their funding comes from donations which is why I am running the Birmingham 1/2 Marathon this year. I am regularly asked to donate to good causes and I know others are too. Rather than set a monetary target for my fundraising I have decided to go for individual donations – 1000 individual donations in fact.
The internet is awash with viral campaigns, some more successful than others, some more useful than others. I would like you to donate a pound (or a dollar or a euro or whatever currency you deal in) and then ask your friends to do the same. A small donation multiplied many times to make a difference to so many lives.
Ian & Jude