A Staffordshire based charity supporting bereaved families is appealing for support as it plans a Summer Ball for almost 200 guests.
A Child of Mine is looking to work with businesses in the area who can offer sponsorship, auction and raffle items or support in kind in the run up to the event at the Chase Golf Club, Penkridge, on Saturday, 29 June.
Scores of bereaved families across the county benefit from support groups offered by A Child of Mine. In addition, the charity plays a national advisory role, including working with major UK children’s hospitals and advising on a Government Department of Health study into how Child Death Review panels operate.
Despite its wide reach, A Child of Mine is run by its only full-time staff member, Gayle Routledge, who founded the charity to offer support following the death of her son, Lewis, from cancer in 2010.
“Our Summer Ball is our main single fundraising event and is much loved by many of the families we have supported,” said Gayle. “But, to make it a success we need the support of the Staffordshire business community. If we can find sponsors for the entertainment or the venue, then we can ensure much more money is raised to support our bereaved families. Auction prizes are also a fantastic fundraiser, for example, a travel agency offering a holiday, a spa venue contributing a day ticket or companies offering prizes that we can auction.
“We will, of course, thank any company who can help and mention them in our engagement with our families and to a wider audience through social media.”
The money raised from the Ball is used to support families who have lost a child. Regular support groups are held for families who have lost a child and, uniquely, A Child of Mine hosts sessions to support brothers and sisters of a bereaved family, not just parents.
Gayle has also established partnerships with hospitals such as Great Ormond Street, London and Birmingham Children’s Hospital and with hospices, including the Donna Louise Children’s Hospice, Trentham, Stoke-on-Trent.
Said Gayle: “There are many families out there who don’t know anyone else who has lost a child. They don’t know anyone who can understand them and may feel terribly alone. There is a well-known quote we use that in many ways sums up why we started A Child of Mine: A wife who loses a husband is called a widow. A husband who loses a wife is called a widower. A child who loses his parents is called an orphan. But….there is no word for a parent who loses a child, that’s how awful the loss is!” (Jay Neugeboren, 1976).
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