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An Alternative Way to Support Children and Families this Christmas

This year Barnardos children’s charity is not asking for toys – but for donations to allow the organisation provide more practical gifts for the families they work with. Barnardos ‘Gifts for Good’ are an alternative gift for family or friends this Christmas.

By purchasing a ‘Gift for Good’ on behalf of a loved one in lieu of a present, you are both directly benefiting a child or family Barnardos works with – and your loved one will receive a card that shows the importance and impact of that support.

Barnardos ‘Gifts for Good’:

  1. PJs, bed socks and slippers – to provide warmth and wellbeing.
  2. Food Voucher – to feed children & their potential.
  3. Filled Soap bag for a family – for health and independence.
  4. Books – providing a new chapter of opportunity.
  5. Duvet, Pillow & Covers – to cover a good night’s sleep.

 

Each ‘Gift for Good’ that is purchased this Christmas will go directly to one of the thousands of children and families Barnardos’ works with all year round. Each family has different needs to the next – your donation will allow the organisation to direct your help how each need it most.

How much does it/they cost?

  1. PJs, bed socks and slippers €18

With this gift you could provide the comfort and cosiness of warm pyjamas and keep tiny toes toasty warm at night. This gift will help keep children warm giving them a better chance to stay healthy and thrive.

 

  1. Food Voucher  €25

With this gift you could provide lunches to children in our early year’s programme, or you could provide breakfasts to children in our services, setting them up with a warm full tummy ready for a day of learning at school. This gift will give a child the best start to the day (and to their young lives!)

 

  1. Filled Soap bag for a family €28

With this gift, you could help provide essential toiletries like a toothbrush, toothpaste, facecloth, sponge, soap, shampoo, brush and comb that many families in our services are not in a position to provide or regularly replace.

 

  1. Books €35

With this gift you could help support work in our amazing early years’ programme, which includes encouragement of language development among pre-schoolers through dialogic reading. This gift will open a new chapter in life for young children who need a little extra help to bring their development up to par with their peers so that they are ready to start mainstream school.

 

  1. Duvet, Pillow & Covers €50  

With this gift you could help create a comfortable and warm place for a child to get the rest they need at night. In winter months especially, some of the families we work with may not be in a position to heat their homes. With this gift you will help a child get a good, warm and comfortable night’s sleep, which is key to their learning and behaviour.

You can buy Barnardos ‘Gifts for Good’ today at https://shop.barnardos.ie/ or by calling 01 7080 429 to place your order. For each ‘Gift for Good’ you buy, you’ll be sent an individual card with envelope to pass on to a loved one in lieu of presents this year.

LynnS DREams, LYNNS, poem, lauralynn childrens hospice, fairycares, fairy non-bio, fairy non bio campaign, hospice, children's pallative care, childrens charityI have teamed up with Fairy Non-Bio who will be donating to LauraLynn Children’s Hospice from every pack of Fairy Non-Bio Pods and Fairy Non-Bio Fabric Softener sold between now and July 12th. Fairy Non-Bio have committed to make a minimum donation of €25,000 to LauraLynn later this summer.

As you walk in the door of LauraLynn children’s hospice you are greeted by an incredibly warm and loving energy. As I turned to my right there was a quote written on the blackboard:

“Everyone wants happiness, no one wants pain

But you can’t have a rainbow, without a little rain.”

LauraLynn, LauraLynn hospice, childrens hospice, pallative care, Fairy Non-Bio, charity, Burrell PR, end of life care,

 

The quote made me smile. In fact all the quotes throughout the hospice made me smile because they are loving, encouraging and meaningful. As I walked over to read Lynn’s poem (read it here) at the entrance it was a sharp reminder of how precious life is. I first visited LauraLynn five years ago not long after it had opened so this was my second time to read that poem as I entered. But this time reading that poem felt different. I felt every word of Lynn’s dreams and thought to myself what a beautiful soul.

LauraLynn, LauraLynn hospice, childrens hospice, pallative care, Fairy Non-Bio, charity, Burrell PR, end of life care,


Lynn’s poem and The Story of LauraLynn at the entrance

I believe in energy and I believe we are all connected even after we are gone. I realized right there and then why the energy of LauraLynn was so special. It is because you are met with the energy of these two beautiful souls Laura and Lynn as you enter the door.

A PLACE OF HOPE

LauraLynn was created from a place of love and hope and that shows in every aspect of its care. At LauraLynn they look after the whole family including grandparents and siblings. They recognize than when a child is sick it affects everyone so their focus is keeping people connected and tending to their individual needs, which is really beautiful.

As you walk in on the right there is a therapy room, which is a safe place that children can come to and talk in confidence about their feelings and what they are going through personally. Siblings of bereaved families can also come here and avail of therapy, which is important too.

LauraLynn, LauraLynn hospice, childrens hospice, pallative care, Fairy Non-Bio, charity, Burrell PR, therapy room, end of life care,LauraLynn provides palliative care and support for children with life-limiting conditions and their families. There are eight beds and there is always and emergency bed kept free. The rooms are beautiful and the Head of Care, Bevan Ritchie, explained to me that they try and make it a home away from home. Their aim is to make the children and their families as comfortable as possible.

FULL HOLISTIC CARE

Full holistic care for the children is really important so the bathroom so the bathroom is a multi-sensory bathroom where music can be played and the lights change colour while the child basks in their bubble bath.. This is important as a lot of the children are non-verbal and bringing in the sensory aspect helps to calm them and creates a connection and delivers stimulation to the different senses.

LauraLynn, LauraLynn hospice, childrens hospice, pallative care, Fairy Non-Bio, charity, Burrell PR, end of life care,There is also a dedicated sensory room where there is a waterbed and for children with physical disabilities the movement of waterbed on their bodies can offer great relief.

There are rooms upstairs where families can stay over with full facilities like a kitchen and a TV room. In one of the children’s bedrooms downstairs there is an adjacent room where parents can sleep. The headboard has outlets for oxygen and medical equipment so if a child is very ill or near the end of their little life parents can get into bed with the child for a cuddle. This removes the clinical hospital feel and allows for memories to be made and quality time to be spent together. This really had an impact on me as my favourite time of the day is getting into bed to cuddle James.

THE BUTTERFLY SUITE

LauraLynn, LauraLynn hospice, childrens hospice, pallative care, Fairy Non-Bio, charity, Burrell PR, the butterfly suite, end of life care,

This was the most difficult part of my visit as I thought of all the parents who have said goodbye to their little angels. ‘The Butterfly Suite’ was created as a special place for families to be near to their children after they have passed away. Butterfly’s have always been a strong symbol of change and transformation to me and even when I have lost people close to me in my own life I always imagine them being transformed into beautiful energy. The physical part of them is gone but their energy and the memories last forever.

LauraLynn Memory

LauraLynn provide psychological, social, spiritual and bereavement support for the entire family during this difficult time. Their end of life care also ensures maximum physical comfort for your child through the management of pain and other symptoms that they may have.

Overall I left LauraLynn with a warm heart full of hope. The community and support parents and children get from a dedicated staff and support team is truly incredible.

We all see the world through our personal eyes and our view of the world is shaped from our experiences. Five years ago on my first visit I was very much still adjusting to life back in Ireland as a single mum. Personally I was struggling greatly and my visit to LauraLynn filled me with love and hope. On this visit I saw so much more. I saw a center that treats everyone as an individual where everyone gets seen as himself or herself and that’s rare. The holistic care ensures that all aspects of a person are treated and that each child’s life is lived to the full no matter what their condition.

And I’ll leave you with Tinkerbell’s words:

“You know that place between sleep & awake,

The place where you can still remember Dreaming

That’s where I’ll always love you

That’s where I’ll be waiting”

LauraLynn, LauraLynn hospice, childrens hospice, pallative care, Fairy Non-Bio, charity, Burrell PR, end of life care, Tinkerbells words

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LynnS DREams, LYNNS, poem, lauralynn childrens hospice, fairycares, fairy non-bio, fairy non bio campaign, hospice, children's pallative care, childrens charityI have teamed up with Fairy Non-Bio who will be donating to LauraLynn Children’s Hospice from every pack of Fairy Non-Bio Pods and Fairy Non-Bio Fabric Softener sold between now and mid-July. Fairy Non-Bio have committed to make a minimum donation of €25,000 to LauraLynn later this summer.

 

THE HISTORY OF LAURALYNN

LauraLynn, Ireland’s Children’s Hospice was born out of the sadness of the tragic loss of Jane and Brendan McKenna’s only children, Laura and Lynn. Laura passed away in August 1999 at the age of 4, following surgery to repair a heart defect. Her big sister Lynn died less than 2 years later, in April 2001, at the age of 15. Lynn had leukemia, which was diagnosed on the day of Laura’s last surgery.

 

Having dealt personally with such serious illness both Jane and Brendan saw a huge need for a ‘Home from Home’ for children with life threatening and life limiting conditions. In 2003 they set up the ‘LauraLynn Children’s Hospice Foundation’ to raise funds to build Ireland’s first Children’s Hospice.

 

In 2007 they were approached by representatives of the ‘Children’s Sunshine Home’ which is their current location. The following year the two organisations merged and LauraLynn, Ireland’s Children’s Hospice was born. As a result of this Ireland’s first Children’s Hospice became a reality in 2011.

 

The main aim of LauraLynn is to provide palliative care to children with life-limiting conditions both in their hospice facility and the child’s own home. They also very importantly provide special care and respite to parents and siblings, helping them to cope with their difficult situation and to have fun time together as a family making memories.

 

They are committed to improving the quality of children’s palliative care in Ireland and their Clinical Education and Training Department provides training programmes tailored to meet the key needs of the evolving disciplines required by health professionals working in this relatively new space.

 

The history of the hospice actually dates back to 1925 when it was a convalescent home. Dr Ella Webb, a pioneering Dublin pediatrician of her time, treated many cases of children with rickets.  With the support of a dedicated group including Ms. Letitia Overend, they saw the need to provide medical care within a residential setting, where tenement children with rickets could be given an opportunity to recover fully, before returning to home.

 

Funding at the time came from voluntary donations and this early ethos of providing care for disadvantaged children has continued to motivate those who work and continue to work and volunteer at LauraLynn today.

 

Brendan and Jane’s daughter Lynn wrote this beautiful poem I would love to share with you:

LynnS DREMA, LYNNS, poem, lauralynn childrens hospice, fairycares, fairy non-bio, fairy non bio campaign, hospice, children's pallative care, childrens charity

 

The Fairy Non-Bio ‘Care for Others’ campaign will help to support the LauraLynn@Home care which is offered in 11 counties in Ireland. This will enable children with life-limiting conditions and their family to access palliative care and support within their own home. For further information click here.

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FAIRY NON-BIO sponsored post

 

The Make-A-Wish® Crystal Ball Fundraiser took place at the Doubletree by Hilton on Saturday the 16th May.I’m honored to be an ambassador for this amazing charity. The ball was a potent reminder of the inspiring work done by the foundation granting wishes to brave children battling life-threatening medical conditions all over Ireland.

The memories that make a wish create are ones that are treasured forever. These special days help families forget about the illness and hard times. On the night of the ball Norah Casey spoke about her sons friend who passed away some years ago but before he had a wish and it’s a memory that her son cherishes forever.

Special guests on the evening were the Conneely Family who were recipients of a wish. Wish mother Rosie made an emotional speech about how her family lived through Aideen’s illness myelodysplastic syndrome and the impact her child’s wish made to her entire family. Aideen’s wish was to be a Barbie Fashion designer. The video above is of Aideen’s wish and it was premiered at the event and it really shows how important the work is that make a wish do xx

Myself and CEO of Make a Wish Susan O'Dwyer

Myself and CEO of Make a Wish Susan O’Dwyer

Myself and the stunning Imelda at The Make a WishCrystal Ball in the Double Tree Hilton hotel Ballsbridge-photo Kieran HarnettMyself and the stunning Imelda at The Make a Wish
Crystal Ball in the Double Tree Hilton hotel Ballsbridge-photo Kieran Harnett

As an ambassador of Make a Wish I was honored to attend their annual crystal ball on Saturday. To say there were a few tears is an understatement. It was truly incredible to see the difference this charity make in peoples lives.

Make-A-Wish Ireland has one simple aim to grant the wishes of children aged between 3 and 17 years living with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. A wish granted is true magic for the child, providing respite from their normal routines of hospitals, doctors and treatment.

When I returned I posted on Facebook and a friend of mine posted that Make – a-Wish had granted a wish for her sister Niamh before she passed away and when I spoke to her today she described to me how special the day was for everyone. It was the first time in ages her parents had a meal out and every single person in the family was made feel special. Susan O’Dwyer the CEO is so passionate about Make-a Wish and after Saturday night I truly know why.

Among the guest were Imelda May who sang 4 songs although we could have listened to her all night. What an incredibly talented lady. She had her family with her and it was such a pleasure to meet them all. Lucy Kennedy, Lorraine Keane, Deborah Veale and Photographer Jenny Mc Carthy were also there. Jennys hubby and Lucy’s sidekick Martin King was the host for the evening and did an incredible job full of empathy and love listening to some heartbreaking stories. Ireally don’t know how he did it. I also bumped into the lovely Norah Casey as well as some great friends old and new.

If you would like to help grant a wish you can ext 50300 to “MYWISH” and donate €4 to make a dream come true!!

Taigh Wright and Laura McKeown at the Make A Wish Crystal Ball in the Double Tree Hilton hotel Ballsbridge-photo Kieran Harnett Taigh Wright and Laura McKeown at the Make A Wish Crystal Ball in the Double Tree Hilton hotel Ballsbridge-photo Kieran Harnett

Sinead Christian and Martin King at the Make A Wish Crystal Ball in the Double Tree Hilton hotel Ballsbridge-photo Kieran Harnett Sinead Christian and Martin King at the Make A Wish Crystal Ball in the Double Tree Hilton hotel Ballsbridge-photo Kieran Harnett

Marie Joyce at the Make A Wish Crystal Ball in the Double Tree Hilton hotel Ballsbridge-photo Kieran Harnett Marie Joyce at the Make A Wish Crystal Ball in the Double Tree Hilton hotel Ballsbridge-photo Kieran Harnett

Norah Casey at the Make A Wish Crystal Ball in the Double Tree Hilton hotel Ballsbridge-photo Kieran Harnett Norah Casey at the Make A Wish Crystal Ball in the Double Tree Hilton hotel Ballsbridge-photo Kieran Harnett

Deborah Veale and Lorraine Keane at the Make A Wish Crystal Ball in the Double Tree Hilton hotel Ballsbridge-photo Kieran Harnett Deborah Veale and Lorraine Keane at the Make A Wish Crystal Ball in the Double Tree Hilton hotel Ballsbridge-photo Kieran Harnett

Lucy Kennedy and Susan O' Dwyer at the Make A Wish Crystal Ball in the Double Tree Hilton hotel Ballsbridge-photo Kieran Harnett Lucy Kennedy and Susan O’ Dwyer at the Make A Wish Crystal Ball in the Double Tree Hilton hotel Ballsbridge-photo Kieran Harnett

Alison Canavan at the Make A Wish Crystal Ball in the Double Tree Hilton hotel Ballsbridge-photo Kieran Harnett Alison Canavan at the Make A Wish Crystal Ball in the Double Tree Hilton hotel Ballsbridge-photo Kieran Harnett


After my recent trip to Thailand I have seen first hand what this amazing charity does and exactly where the money goes so please donate as little or as much as you can for a great cause!

Saichoon above is 5 and has cerebral palsy. The new centre will help by providing the physical therapy he needs, along with education

Thanks Ali xxxx

Thai Children’s Trust UK backs major new disability project:

Father Ray Centre for Children with Special Needs, Pattaya

 A much needed centre of excellence for children with special needs in Thailand is the major project chosen by Thai Children’s Trust’s for this year’s online Big Give Christmas Challenge – the online match-funding event which takes place on Thursday 5 December 2013 at 10am. The charity’s target is £60,000.

The Father Ray Centre for Children with Special Needs will offer schooling, therapy and family support in the local community of Pattaya, the popular tourist resort two hours’ south of Bangkok.

It is intended to become a beacon for future state-funded provision and is a constructive effort to respond to the current disparity between the quantity and quality of services necessary for children with special needs and the facilities currently available.

The state-of-the-art facilities will provide physical therapy, individual development and education plans; education and vocational training for children with a range of special needs; and information and family support for over 300 families in the local community – many of whom live in outlying areas.

Official figures report 1.2 million people living with a disability in Thailand out of a population of some 66.79 million, with some 220,000 identified as having special needs. However, estimates of those who are not diagnosed or registered as having special needs lift this figure to 700,000. This means that with more than one in four disabled people not recognised as having a disability, the challenge is immense.

People living with a special need in Thailand often face prejudice, embarrassment and exclusion, largely due to lack of awareness of disability in general. Moreover, there are not enough inclusive public schools to support the population of children with special needs in the Pattaya area, having now grown to the size of a city which attracts increasing numbers of families migrating there in search of employment.

The total cost of the new Centre to construct and equip is £800,000 plus running costs of £140,000 a year.. Plans are to start construction by the end of the year and to be ready to receive children with special needs by the end of 2014.

Andrew Scadding, Director of Thai Children’s Trust, says:

“This much-needed Centre will give these children the specialist support they so desperately need, and that their parents are unable to provide or afford.

“Having supported the Father Ray Foundation for over 30 years, we are now able to realise Father Ray’s last dream, which he was unable to complete in his lifetime. This appeal marks the 10th anniversary of his death and is a most fitting tribute to the wonderful work he tirelessly carried out in Pattaya for thousands of disadvantaged, vulnerable and disabled children.

To contribute to The Big Give Christmas Challenge 2013 please go to www.thaichildrenstrust.org.uk/the-big-give

Contact information:

Patricia Orr. Thai Children’s Trust. T. 020 7250 8292 M. 07889 140 139

Pop & Mai above both 4 and have downs syndrome. The new centre will give them the education development they need, as well as support for their families and friendship