News

08th June 2020

Helen & Douglas House staff delivered over 50 hampers of donated items to the families they care for across the including Ella’s with item provided by local businesses.

Ella Greenough, aged four, lives in Oxford and has an unknown Muscular disorder. Her family was one of the families who received one of the hampers. Ella lives with her Mum Kirsty, Dad Craig, and sisters Grace, aged eight and Kacey, aged 14. Ella has been coming to Helen & Douglas House for respite care for just under four years.

The hampers contained over 20 items which were generously donated by local supporters, everything from essentials like shampoo, toilet roll and tea through to toys for the children including their siblings and a sensory play pack for the children we care for.

Helen & Douglas House is continuing to provide vital end-of-life and symptom management care for local children at their hospice in Oxford and supporting children in their own homes throughout the current lockdown.

At the moment these families are not able to visit the hospice for respite care. Because their children are very vulnerable, many of them have had to self-isolate to protect them and not have carers coming into their houses. This is really tough for many of these parents or carers having to take on the 24/7 care of children with complex needs without a break.

So Helen & Douglas House wanted to help their families during this difficult time. They felt hampers would be a nice thing for their most isolated families to receive. They also might not have the opportunity to visit the shops as often, so they decided they would put together a mixture of necessities and luxury items for the whole family to enjoy.

Members of the Helen & Douglas House fundraising and care team packed the hampers and designed personalised tags for each hamper so the families knew who the items in them had been donated by.

Amy Bottali from Helen & Douglas House who organised the hampers said ‘Delivering these hampers was an experience I will never forget. The items in each hamper reflect what families will find useful during lockdown, but we also added items that we thought would lift their spirits. They were so grateful to receive these and to have a visit from us as they are feeling quite isolated at the moment.

‘This would not have been possible without the generosity of our amazing corporate supporters who funded the items to go into the hampers and the travel costs for the Helen & Douglas House staff to deliver them, which included –   BPI (Business & Personal Investment Ltd), Abbotts – Witney, Pacific Produce, Waitrose at Headington, Thame, Wallingford, Witney and Abingdon, Tesco Oxford, Notcutts Garden Centre, REDBOX and Alec’s Angels.

Kirsty Ella’s Mum said ‘We are so grateful for the hamper from Helen & Douglas House. We are all trying to keep safe at this time. We are concerned about Ella and our safety as Ella’s carers so we have self-isolated for 6 weeks. Ella was in hospital for four weeks before the pandemic so for a long 10 weeks Ella hasn’t been out.

‘We really miss Helen & Douglas House especially after a hospital stay as they help us with the transition home and help us as parents catch up on some sleep as we know she’s being cared for and all her medical needs are being met to a high standard. This is very important for parents as we need to be strong to give Ella the care she needs at home.

‘Ella has been joining in with her siblings with home schooling by colouring in. She has also made cakes for her siblings which is so lovely as she is unable to eat them due to her condition. Ella helped us paint a rainbow on our window to let are neighbours know to stay at home and stay safe.

‘We can’t thank Helen & Douglas House enough not just though this pandemic but from the very first time she was referred. They have been our rocks and Ella loves her 1-1 care playing hide and seek with her carers.

If your company would like to help local terminally ill children through providing items for hampers, fundraising or making a donation, please contact Amy by emailing abottali@helenanddouglas.org.uk