Staff at The Montefiore Hospital in Hove have adopted a charity that is truly close to home…
They plan to volunteer their time and fundraise for Brighton-based Forward Facing – a charity which aims to give children and young people with life-threatening conditions, or who have experienced bereavement, the chance to forget their daily struggles and enjoy magical experiences to make lasting memories for themselves and their families.
The Montefiore’s team is busy raising awareness of the little-known charity around the hospital and is planning a summer sponsored walk which will culminate in a fund-raising party. Staff are also being `fined’ for running up tabs in the hospital canteen and the fines are going straight into the charity coffers.
Volunteers from the hospital will also be lending a hand at Forward Facing’s annual Memory Making Day on Monday April 9th at Brighton Dome – a day when unwell or bereaved children, siblings, parents and family members come together for a day of face paints, fun and choreographed dance.
Montefiore senior staff nurse Julie Gore has first-hand experience of Forward Facing which she says has helped her family feel normal again.
“The charity has helped to create fun days out for my daughter Tash and my granddaughter Aylah – something that has been so difficult to do over the past few years due to my daughter’s illness,” explains Julie. “Then, when my youngest daughter, Jess, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis two years ago, Forward Facing included her in their memory making events. We all went to a donkey sanctuary – organised and paid for by the charity – which was a wonderful experience for all three of us to enjoy together. And Tash and Aylah have been up the i360 thanks to the charity.”
Julie’s 26-year-old daughter Tash, of Brighton, has spent the past seven years undergoing 13 operations for a benign brain tumour which has brought on epilepsy, hearing loss and balance difficulties. Constant hospital visits have meant relaxed family time with her little daughter is rare. And the family is still reeling from the news that Julie’s youngest daughter, 24-year-old Jess, has MS. She has only just this month returned to work at The Montefiore Hospital as a health care assistant in the outpatients’ department following intensive treatment.
“We wanted to support a charity that was really local and by taking Forward Facing under our wings, we hope to promote the charity and help make more memories for families like Julie’s,” said The Montefiore’s hospital director, David Eglington. “What I like about this charity is that it focusses on the whole family not just the person who is ill, and for us, that is very close to our hearts.”
Forward Facing was founded by local lady Tasleen Carstairs. When she sadly died from cancer, nearly four years ago, her best friend Candice Konig and the charity’s trustees made a commitment to continue her good work.
“I am really delighted to have The Montefiore Hospital on board as supporters and fundraisers to help us continue make memories for families who are going through tough times with illness and bereavement,” said Candice, now charity director. “The more funds we have, the more we are able to create magical days out for people so that, just for a time, they can enjoy being a dad or a mum, a grandmother or granddaughter for the day, rather than someone who is ill or the carer of a person who is suffering a long-term illness. Fun moments of normality are what holds families together when the going gets tough.”
Find out more about Forward Facing by visiting www.forwardfacing.co.uk