Advent Appeal for ICU 2019
When you think of Christmas, what do you think of?
Mornings spent with kids opening presents and playing with toys? Maybe happy greetings as you welcome friends and family into your homes, or visiting relatives.
Nights out, one too many tipples and lots of merriment? Perhaps a few days off work. A wind down. The only time that businesses shut and nothing happens. Schools closed, kids off. Shops shut. Time to stop.
This was how I saw Christmas. Up until Christmas 2017.
The festive period of 2017 saw us sat hour after hour, day after day, week after week at our critically ill son’s bedside in Alder Hey Childrens Hospital Intensive Care Unit.
Our beautiful then 1 month old baby boy was recovering from two major surgeries and two failed extubations. We as a family were not in the festive mood at all. Deflated, worried sick and split as a family unit, we were at a low point.
And this is where my eyes were opened to the sheer commitment, kindness and dedication of the staff that work on ICU, and families that have been where we were currently.
Nurses and doctors decorated the unit, making it look the business. Families got involved, passing the hours at their sons and daughters bedsides, cutting out snowflakes which were then hung down the seemingly miles of corridor.
On the big day, an amazing surprise of gift bags for us as parents, gifted to us by a fellow ICU family who had sat where we had one year previous, had walked our path and knew how we felt. I’ll never forget the kindness the Garden family showed to each and every family there that year (and each year since).
But above all, the kindness and dedication of the nurses, doctors, consultants, radiologists, everyone that worked on the unit over Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and the whole season. Working there, looking after our child, looking after us, whilst at home, their own families would have been continuing without them.
Some of them spending their Christmases with my child and not theirs. Because they care. Because it’s more than just a job.
The nurse that sat with me on Christmas Eve as I sat with my baby into the early hours, chatting, listening, explaining and reassuring me that it was ok to go ‘home’ for the evening.
Telling me to get some rest so that I could spend the morning with Henry in Mac House. Watch him enjoy his second Christmas. That Thomas would be looked after as if he was their own until I came back the next morning to spend his first Christmas together as a family in his bedspace.
And he was. He had carols played to him, he was talked to, sung to. He had gifts. So many gifts! He had a card made for him and from him, to us.
He was dressed in a festive outfit, to match his big brother. He had Christmas sheets put on for when we arrived back in the morning. A buffet was put on for us as parents. All arranged by staff on ICU.
I could go on and on. I want everyone to see what these people do. This isn’t just at Christmas, but every single day of the year. The dedication and commitment of staff to our children and our families. The sacrifices that they make themselves to be there for our children and our families. And the going above and beyond. So much more than just medical care.
So this year we want to give back. We want to show staff that we appreciate everything they did for us, and continue to do for families with children on ICU.
All year, Dan and I at Tom’s Journey have been supporting a staff rewards initiative by donating gift vouchers for a monthly prize draw. But we want to make this bigger and better for Christmas.
So, we are launching an advent calendar. 25 days, 25 prizes. And this is where we are looking for your help.
So far, we have self funded everything. We would like to give you the opportunity to help us raise excitement at Christmas for staff at work, and show them that their efforts are really so greatly appreciated.
I’m opening a donations page (through Toms Journey). We are aiming to raise enough money to buy a number of £20 gift vouchers to add to the prizes we give out. Every donor will be recognised and mentioned through our website and Facebook page.
We are also contacting local businesses and asking them if they would be able to donate to initiative. Maybe a meal. A few drinks vouchers. A hair cut or a nail voucher. 25 prizes is what we are after.
Please help us to show staff that what they do, every day, does not go unnoticed. That they will forever be remembered by Dan and I for what they did for Thomas, and for us.
And let’s show them that we really do see the sacrifices that they make with their families and friends by being there for families like ours.
Please help us raise the profile of Christmas on ICU!