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 resources called My Forever Box which has been supported by CHFT Charity.
My Forever Box is a personal memory making box to enable a child to process the death of a significant adult or sibling and to have their own safe box. The box aims to support the child and adult, enabling the pre bereaved child to process what is happening to their loved one, process grief, and initiate conversations regarding death and dying in a sensitive and timely manner.
30 families have already benefitted from the boxes, and we have received some incredibly positive and productive feedback so far:
- 'We have a safe space 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.'
CHFT Charity are grateful to be able to help such impactful projects like this. Thanks to your kind donations, we have been able to fund the first hundred boxes, costing £30 per box. CHFT Charity, alongside the Palliative Care Team, will be holding a raffle soon to raise funds to help continue the funding of the 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 who so kindly raised funds and donated them into the Palliative Care Fund in loving memory of his dad, Terry MacDonald. He said: "A year ago this month, we brought my dad, Terry MacDonald, home to spend his final days with our family. We knew this would be difficult at the time, but we were offered support in our decision by everyone in the Trust. I can remember at the time, our GP's at Longryod Surgery saying "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!
"Dad passed away peacefully on November 1st last year in the care of Abbie and her team, realising his wish to be at home amongst his family. The team continued to offer support and advice for many weeks after dads passing and we cannot begin to explain how eternally grateful we will always be for them. Dad was a popular and well-respected figure in our industry and community, and mum had decided to offer people a chance to donate in dad's memory to the Palliative Care Team in lieu of flowers at his funeral. It's wonderful to see this donation being used by the team and the trust to help support the My Forever Box Project, to benefit other families like ours at the time of loss and sadness. The whole family are pleased that dad's memory can be honoured in this way, as I'm sure he would have been. The care that our family experienced in the hands of Abbie and her whole department will never be forgotten and we are pleased we were able to help them continue their innovative and inspired work."
The Palliative Care Team are super supportive and passionate about their work, resulting them in being selected as a finalist in this years CHuFT Awards in the Work Together Get Results category.
We would like to say a special thanks to the colleagues who have driven the pre-child bereavement project, Staff Nurse Rebecca Fletcher, Specialist Nurses Anthony Thomas and Gemma Gordon, Leada Nurse for Children and Young People Julie Mellor, Cancer Information Manager Mandy Davies, Matron Abbie Thompson and key worker for Child Death Liz Martel.
We would also like to say a big thanks to donors and supporters like Mark MacDonald for donating into our Palliative Care Fund, you really do make an amazing difference to our hospitals and community sites as well as patients and individuals within our community.
Don't forget to keep your eyes open for our raffle that will be launched very soon!