It’s been two years in the making, and now the collaborative work between specialist palliative care and children's services is coming to fruition, as this week they launch a new pre-child bereavement resource called My Forever Box.
The contents of the box, are designed to enable a child to process their grief and initiating difficult conversations – and 30 families have already benefitted with some wonderful feedback:
- ‘If this can make such a difference to our family, how many more families can you support?’
- ‘We have a safe place to allow us to treasure memories on special occasions.’
- ‘The boxes were so good that I have made donations from a football tournament and the funeral collection to ensure that they can continue to be given to other children who find themselves in the horrendous situation.’
- ' The knitted hearts were a fantastic idea. I have since collected some more so that her brothers and parents can also have it to hold, knowing that she will have one with her for eternity.’
Huge thanks to our NHS Charity for funding the first hundred boxes. At £30 per box, this has really helped the launch, and our Charity Team is holding a raffle soon to raise funds so they can purchase some more boxes. Charity Manager, Emma Kovaleski, said: "It is thanks to our Charity supporters who have so kindly raised funds and donated into the Palliative Care Fund, that enables this type of project.
Mark MacDonald is one of those supporters. He said: "A year ago this month, we brought my dad home to spend his final days with our family. I can remember at the time our GP telling us that 'the Palliative Care Team in Calderdale is the best in the country,' which was reassuring even if it seemed a bold statement. However, they couldn’t have been more-right and the following three weeks would have been impossible without the care, compassion and utter professionalism of Abbie Thompson and her totally incredible team.
"The team continued to offer support and advice for many weeks after dad's passing and we cannot begin to explain how eternally grateful we will always be for them.”
Members of staff who have driven The Pre-Child Bereavement Project are Staff Nurse Rebecca Fletcher, Specialist Nurses Anthony Thomas and Gemma Gordon, Lead Nurse for Children and Young People Julie Mellor, Cancer Information Manager Mandy Davies, Matron Abbie Thompson and key Worker for Child Death Liz Martel.