Inspire | Summer 2018

The Children's Trust Blogger

Welcome to inspire

Amanda Boyd, A member of the Donor Care Team at The Children's Trust
I would like to say a big thank you – because with your support this past year we were able to help more than 1,300 children with brain injury and neurodisability in communities across the UK, at our national specialist centre and at The Children’s Trust School. As well as this we have had more than 56,000 visitors to braininjuryhub.co.uk, our website which offers free information and advice on brain injury. We also sent out over 1,000 copies of our books on brain injury at no charge to children, young people and families who needed them - find out more about our resources here. This edition of inspire you can join us in celebrating the incredible achievements of the children we support like three year old Lillie-Anne and six year old Shakeerah. All of this would just not be possible without you. Thank you. I hope you enjoy reading. Warmest wishes, Amanda Boyd - Senior Supporter Care Coordinator

Shakeerah's Story

Caring for Shakeerah by Yasmeen, Shakeerah’s mum When Shakeerah was diagnosed with a huge brain tumour just after her first birthday, I knew things would never be the same again. Shakeerah is six now. She’s a bundle of joy, but her disability affects almost every area of our lives. She has a tracheostomy, uses a ventilator overnight, is fed through a plastic tube in her tummy, and bears scars around her head from numerous operations. Her medical issues are complex, but against all odds she is continuing to make great progress every day. Although I have a supportive partner and help from homecare nurses, I do the lion’s share when it comes to caring for Shakeerah. And that means doing so much more than just feeding and changing her. On top of the 24/7 care, endless appointments, and the military planning needed to make sure she’s on the right medication and using the correct equipment; getting out the house is a mission in itself. Looking after Shakeerah can be challenging and hard at times, but it’s also rewarding and at its best is filled with moments of love and joy. But, as you can imagine, sometimes we just desperately need to recharge our batteries.  And that’s where little breaks come in. Little breaks are days out or short stays at The Children’s Trust for children like Shakeerah. Each one is tailored to the children’s needs and Shakeerah absolutely loves going on her little breaks. And it’s such a relief for us to know she’ll be properly looked after. Seeing her come home, clutching biscuits that she’s decorated or plants that she’s potted, is adorable. She always has a huge grin on her face. And I feel refreshed and ready for the next challenge.
The Little Break Appeal by The Children\'s Trust
Thank you if you have already supported The Little Break Appeal. There’s still time to support our little breaks appeal by visiting thechildrenstrust.org.uk/little-break-appeal

I’ve got the best job in the world by Keren Holding

 
Karen Holding Leisure and Play Coordinator
  As Leisure and Play Coordinator at The Children’s Trust, it’s my job to organise fun activities, days out and events for the children and families we support. Playing and having fun helps children overcome their fears and develop the skills they’ve learned in therapy without them even realising it. For example, when we take children on a shopping trip, they’re getting used to visiting new places, using money, meeting new people and eating socially. I recently organised a visit to an outdoor activity centre, where a group of children got to take part in activities like climbing and archery. Days out like this are so important as they help children to overcome their nervousness and build confidence after their brain injury. You could really see how much of a difference the day made as the children became more vocal and eager to get involved. And then there was Lillie-Anne, who was very anxious when she first came to The Children’s Trust. She had spent a lot of time in hospital and because of this had become worried about making a mess. Through our messy play sessions, we helped Lillie-Anne realise that there was nothing to be scared of. Now she loves finger painting and making a lot of mess! You can read more about her above. The best thing about my job is seeing the look on the children’s faces when they do things they never thought they could. It’s also great to watch the children and their families having fun together. There are always so many smiles.

Our Shops need you!

Shop manager Lisa, left, and our incredible volunteer Doreen We’ve got 20 fantastic shops in Kent, West Sussex and Surrey. They raise thousands of pounds every year to help children with brain injury and neurodisability, and there’s always a bargain to be had. But what makes our shops so special is the staff and volunteers, who work tirelessly to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Doreen began volunteering at one of our shops the day after she retired from her job at John Lewis. She’s now 81 years old, but age is no barrier for this amazing woman. She recently did a freefall abseil for us down London’s ArcelorMittal Orbit, which is over 240ft high. Doreen’s shop manager, Lisa, said: “All our customers and volunteers know that Doreen is always game for a laugh! She is such a huge part of making our shop such a happy and fun place to be. The customers adore her fabulous spirit as much as her peers do.” We are always looking for new managers, assistant managers and volunteers like Doreen for our shops. But don’t worry, you won’t have to take on an abseil to join our team or make a difference! We welcome people of all ages, from all backgrounds and every part of our community. And you don’t even need to have retail experience to become a volunteer, because we’ll train you to work the till, greet customers, sort stock and do other essential tasks during our thorough induction programme. To find out more about working or volunteering in our shops email

Lillie-Anne's Story Story

Rachel and her partner, Ben, were shocked when their two year old daughter, Lillie-Anne, was diagnosed with a brain tumour so big that it was squashing her spinal cord and affecting the left side of her brain. Doctors at a children’s hospital successfully removed 99.9% of Lillie-Anne’s tumour. But when she woke up she couldn’t move her left arm or legs. Rachel said: “Lillie-Anne was like a new-born baby after her op.” Lillie-Anne still couldn’t walk or eat by herself when she came to The Children’s Trust in April. But it wasn’t long before this remarkable little girl was doing both. Rachel told us: “The staff at The Children’s Trust were just amazing. Lillie-Anne formed a special bond with one of the health care assistants, Tricia, and the pair quickly became inseparable. I’m certain that having Tricia in her life made Lillie-Anne recover much sooner.” “Without The Children’s Trust I don’t think Lillie-Anne would be where she is now. Their wonderful staff and facilities made such a difference to her.” Our activities were a real hit with Lillie-Anne, too. She particularly enjoyed dancing, doing puzzles, going to the duck pond and getting covered in paint at messy play. In their regular sessions with Lillie-Anne our skilled physiotherapists and occupational therapists used specialist equipment, like physio balls, to help her develop the muscles she needed to stand up on her own. With their support she grew stronger and more mobile every day. Soon she began walking again, laughing and chattering to everyone around her. After just two months she was ready to go home. “We were supposed to be at The Children’s Trust for four months”, said Rachel. “But Lillie-Anne made such incredible progress thanks to their team’s support that they let us come home after two. The Children’s Trust team still keep in touch though, ringing regularly to see if we need anything.” Lillie-Anne has continued to go from strength to strength since she left The Children’s Trust. She’s due to start school in September and we can’t wait to hear what she does next! “It was such a pleasure getting to know Lillie-Anne. She was really sweet and had a lovely sense of humour. But there was also no stopping her either. She had a dogged determination and kept going until she succeeded at whatever she was doing. The progress she made was phenomenal.” Tricia, Health Care Assistant.