Demelza provides specialist care and emotional support for children with terminal conditions and their loved ones, so they can enjoy their time together as a family for as long as they have. The bereavement suite has rooms where, before the funeral, families are able to stay close to their child after they have died. Having this private space to say goodbye and spend time together as a family, is a crucial first step in the grieving process.
The Eltham hospice marked its 10th anniversary this year and both bereavement suites are in desperate need of an update, having not been refurbished since the hospice opened in 2009.
Ryan Campbell, previous Chief Executive at Demelza said “the recent report published by Hospice UK has highlighted the lack of funding for hospice care. At Demelza, we’re almost entirely dependent on the generosity of our supporters to provide 80% of the funds that keep our services going. Bereavement suites and support services are key to the grieving process for families and are a neglected area. Last year alone, the bereavement suites in our hospices were in use for over 80 days and this appeal is crucial to fund these vital improvements so that time spent in the suites with a child is as positive and supportive as it can be for families who find themselves in this unimaginable position”.
Linda Thorne, whose son Sam died at the Sittingbourne hospice in September 2018, said, “The bereavement suite was amazing and the staff were so thoughtful, giving us time to say goodbye to Sam in our own time. We were able to personalise the room just how we wanted to. Sam’s nieces and nephew were able to draw him pictures and staff made their understanding of death so much easier. Friends and family visited Sam and we had hand and footprints made. Every family in this situation should consider the bereavement suite, even if it’s just for a day“.
Backed by some of our Celebrity Ambassadors, including Jayne Torvill, Robin Cousins, Cheryl Baker, Sally Lindsay and Dave Berry, the appeal runs for a month until Sunday 23 June and marks the end of Children’s Hospice Week.
To find out more about the appeal and to donate, please go to https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/bereavement