Friends and family of a little boy who required specialist medical treatment in a hospital miles away from home shortly after he was born have raised over £3,000 for The Sick Children’s Trust.
Zachary Conroy, who just turned one year old, was diagnosed with haemophilia when he was born and has since required specialist treatment at Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle upon Tyne. Throughout his treatment at the hospital, his parents, Elle and Peter, have been supported by The Sick Children’s Trust with free ‘Home from Home’ accommodation, which has meant that they’ve never been more than a few minutes from his hospital bedside.
Since receiving support from the charity, the couple, from Redcar, have been tirelessly fundraising along with friends and family for The Sick Children’s Trust’s ‘Home from Home’ Crawford House.
Crawford House, which is located within the hospital grounds at RVI, is one of ten ‘Homes from Home’ run by the charity across the country supporting families with children undergoing specialist hospital treatment. Mum Elle, who will be running the Great North Run for The Sick Children’s Trust later this year alongside her friend, Becky, says:
“Everyone’s support has been absolutely amazing and we can’t thank all our friends and family enough for what they’ve done. After being supported at Crawford House, we wanted to spread the word and raise awareness about what the charity does for families like ours. Within no time at all Zachary’s godfather, Ian, was talking about climbing a volcano, his aunties were knitting away, my brother started training for three bike rides and all my friends and family came along to a charity spa night. The support has been incredible and we’re delighted to be able to give back to the charity that was there for us.
“Crawford House has been a great comfort to us when Zachary has needed treatment in Newcastle. We never knew such a great charity existed. The Sick Children’s Trust was there for us with no questions asked. We were taken in and didn’t have to worry about anything, we could just concentrate on helping Zachary get better. Not only is it a case of just being together, minutes from our son’s side, but when grandparents came to visit we could all sit down in the living room and have a coffee in a space that felt like home.
“When Zachary fell ill again in October we were welcomed back to Crawford House with open arms. It was so reassuring to know that they could help us. We know that if Zachary needs treatment in Newcastle again Crawford House will be there for us. And we are so grateful for that.”
Crawford House has 23 family bedrooms, 14 bathrooms, a fully equipped kitchen where families can make homemade meals and shared living spaces where they can relax. Although accommodation is provided free of charge to families, it costs the charity £30 to support a family for one night with ‘Home from Home’ accommodation.
Zachary’s godfather, Ian Ellwood, raised £1,534 – enough to support a family for 51 nights with ‘Home from Home’ accommodation – after climbing the world’s highest volcano, Ojos Del Salado. Ian says:
“Crawford House made all the difference when it really mattered to Peter and Elle and for that I am extremely grateful. To show my gratitude I knew I had to take on a big adventurous challenge and climbing Ojos Del Salado seemed the perfect fit.
“My toughest day was the summit. We set off at 4am in -27°C and headed up from 5,700m to 6,893m. Half way up I began to really struggle as I’d been ill for the last 24 hours and had not been able to eat. A friend of mine turned around due to altitude sickness and exhaustion and it crossed my mind more than once to turn around myself but I kept going.
“I was constantly thinking about a call I’d had with Peter a few days after Zach was rushed to hospital and hearing the emotion and exhaustion in his voice. I knew that whatever I was feeling, he had been through much worse. So I pushed myself to carry on. I would’ve felt like I’d failed The Sick Children’s Trust and everyone who had made donations towards my challenge if I had given up then. I’ve always been super competitive so this didn't really seem like an option.”
Every year, The Sick Children’s Trust supports around 4,000 families with seriously ill children in hospital, keeping them close to their loved one’s hospital bedside. Over the last year, Crawford House has helped nearly 700 families from the North East and beyond stay together while their child receives specialist treatment at the RVI. Crawford House Manager, Andrew Leadbitter, says:
“We’re so grateful to all of Zachary’s friends and family who have taken the time to fundraise and raise awareness of The Sick Children’s Trust within their community. As a charity, we rely entirely on voluntary donations to keep our ‘Homes from Home’ running and everyone who has chosen to raise money on Zachary’s behalf will help to keep more families together at the time when they need to be the most.
“There are lot of exciting events coming up in the Conroys calendar including the Great North Run and Elle’s brother’s trio of challenges – we can’t wait to hear how they all get on!”
To support Elle and Becky’s Great North Run fundraising efforts, please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/elle-rebecca
For further information about The Sick Children’s Trust, please visit http://www.sickchildrenstrust.org/