Will you help families feel less isolated through one of the toughest Christmases they will have ever faced?
The Nation is facing a very different Christmas this year
For all of us this year, Christmas will certainly be different. For families like Dawn’s, who support a seriously ill child with complex medical needs, however, this could not be a more worrying and lonely time.
The demand on WellChild’s services has increased dramatically since the start of the Covid pandemic. The WellChild Family Tree in particular has seen a 25% increase in signups since the beginning of the year – a service that supports families across the UK enabling parents to feel included, supported and listened to when they need it most.
“It’s great just knowing there is someone to talk to that knows what you are going through. Everyday friends don’t really get it, as much as they want to help you! People on the WellChild Family Tree do get it; it makes you realise you are not alone. Each person has their own story to tell, this is mine."
Dawn, Maisie’s mum
Maisie was a happy ten-year-old girl who loved dance, gymnastics and being outdoors. Her parents began to notice a few things which didn’t seem right and she was diagnosed with a tumour in her brain stem. She went in for an operation and spent more than nine months in hospital. She was left unable to move, breathes through a ventilator and is unable to eat.
Their lives changed overnight. They now have carers twenty-four seven and Dawn’s husband has given up work to help care for Maisie who is now 15. With hard work, Maisie can now move her arms, hands and legs but after nearly five years there is little strength in these movements.
“It is amazing that Maisie has been so positive throughout all this, not only since her diagnosis but especially during this year.”- Maisie’s Mum, Dawn
Shielding during COVID-19 has been a real struggle for Dawn’s family. Maisie loves going to the cinema or shopping but the family has been shielding since February and will continue to do so, especially since the announcement of a second nationwide lockdown. Maisie has complex medical needs, a tracheostomy and she has had chemotherapy so her immune system is low, taking her out would be too much of a risk.
“COVID-19 has made families like ours feel more isolated than ever before. It has made me more anxious if I have to go out in the world.” – Dawn, Maisie’s mum.
“Christmas has always been about family, but this year we will be isolated for fear of our beautiful daughter Maisie catching COVID-19, a risk we simply cannot take”
– Dawn, Maisie’s mum
Why is the WellChild Family Tree so important to Dawn and Families like hers?DONATE
COVID-19 has made families like Dawn’s feel more isolated than ever before.
“It has made me more anxious if I have to go out in the world. We have to try to get back to some kind of normal, but I feel safer in my own home. I know this is the same for many people who have a child with complex care needs.” - Dawn
As a result of COVID-19, 76% of families supporting a seriously ill child saw vital care and support stop altogether and families have become more hidden and isolated than ever. Many were advised to ‘shield’ and have struggled to get the support they need. 70-80% of families report their mental health has worsened.
Everyone with a child with complex needs feels alone at some point.
The WellChild Family Tree is a lifeline for families like Dawn’s to ensure that they don’t get left behind and cut off from the world.
How the WellChild Family Tree supports other families to feel less isolated at Christmas
"The WellChild Family Tree allows us to see what other families are doing while shielding and get ideas of fun things to do at home... Christmas is going to be very different for us because we normally do lots of fun things like pantomime, ice skating and seeing all our family"
- Lidia, Maddie's mum