Supporters of Children’s Hospices Across Scotland – better known as CHAS – are being asked to help dying children and their families enjoy precious moments together before it’s too late.
The charity which runs Rachel House at Kinross has launched a special campaign as it emerges from lockdown and a summer of cancelled fundraising events.
It has been running a virtual hospice over the last three months. helping families by phone and video with services such as clinical guidance, financial advice and bereavement support. The charity’s dedicated family support teams have also offered a range of interactive activities, art clubs, storytelling and friendship calls to children and parents.
Jayden Easdale, 4, is among the youngsters who has benefited. He suffers from Tay Sachs Disease, a rare, incurable disease and is currently shielding at his home in Fraserburgh, where he lives with his brother Connor, 7, sister Kaitlin, 20, and mum and dad, Lynn and Brian.
Lynn, said: “The doctors said Jayden might only live until he was four but he’s a wee fighter and this March he marked his fourth birthday. We hope and pray he will make his fifth birthday too but we also have to face the fact that he might not.
“It’s so hard to think about Jayden no longer being with us which is why every single moment we have with him is so precious.
“Before the pandemic, Jayden went to Rachel House for regular stays which he absolutely loved. It feels like a holiday each time we go. Jayden is spoiled rotten by all the staff – everyone is so friendly. The virtual hospice service has been nothing short of amazing and a real lifeline for us all while we have been shielding.”
CHAS supports more than 450 families like Jayden’s across Scotland but during the pandemic, it has had to dramatically transform the way it operates while also facing up to the cancellation of many events and fundraisers.
Iain McAndrew, director of fundraising and communications at CHAS, said the virtual hospice service had made all the difference to families but it depended on the public for support.
“Coronavirus has taken time away from being able to spend it with those we love the most but the vulnerable children that we support have even less time, and every single moment is precious. That’s why we’re launching this campaign – to help families like Jayden’s.”
Both Rachel House in Kinross and Robin House in Balloch are continuing to provide end of life care. For more go to www.chas.org.uk