Messages of love – from one child to another

February 11th, 2020

Inside each and every one of these carefully hand drawn cards is a special inspiring message direct from the heart of one child to another.

And with the help of Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation’s Golden Giveaway, they’ll be winging their way to support families in need at our region’s hospitals.

The cards, carefully created by children at Yarm’s Layfield Primary School, will form part of special sibling packs given out to the brothers and sisters of tiny babies being cared for on neonatal units across the North-East.

The packs are the brainchild of Leo’s, a charity set up by Yarm mum Lottie King to support families whose poorly and premature babies are being treated on the specialist wards. Teesside Philanthropic’s £500 donation means 15 packs can be filled with little things designed to ease the pressure.

“It can be such a scary place for them with all the alarms and wires and equipment, not to mention the fraught parents,” said Lottie, who founded Leo’s in memory of her own son who lost his life at just four hours old.

“We want to use these packs to help keep siblings occupied at the cot-side or with our volunteers when they’re around to offer direct sibling support.

“Our hope is that these packs improve the sibling’s time on the ward, lessen the worry and anxiety they feel, and allow parents to feel calmer knowing their older children can be occupied.”

Lottie revealed that there are more than 400 families a year at Middlesbrough’s James Cook Hospital alone who need neonatal care and many of the babies on the ward have siblings.

Leo’s also provides a secure video and picture messaging service to allow nurses to send parents updates when they can’t be on the ward; welcome boxes and well-being boxes; community playgroups; a dedicated counsellor; sibling support and bereavement support.

Baby Leo is survived by his twin Oska and older brother Dax who are pupils at Layfield Primary. The school has been a great support, added Lottie, and has been involved in helping Leo’s in many ways.

“The idea for the boxes and the cards is all based on my eldest son and on his experience; what we have to done comes from real life experience,” adds Lottie. Children at the school also took time to host Vicky Powell from Philanthropic patrons The Keys in Yarm.

And, of course, show off their special cards filled with love and support.

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