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I've had quite a strange childhood. My mother passed away when I was 5 and my brothers and sisters were raised by my dad. We moved around quite a lot and never really settled anywhere. My dad also had a few demons himself and was dealing with the loss of his wife, the recession (where he lost everything) and a drinking problem.
It wasn't the picture perfect upbringing, but that all said and all that I went through as a child, I knew I always had a home, was safe, and that I was surrounded by people who loved me and cared for me. All 6 of my siblings and I were also lucky enough to all be healthy children. Unfortunately, that's not always the case with some children. Some children are born with medical conditions that can be severe and in some cases life threatening. With money donated to BBC Children in Need, there are places in the UK that specialise in helping babies and young children and support their families.
For example, take Zoë’s Place Baby Hospice
Zoë's Place Baby Hospice in Coventry provides specialist care for babies and pre-school children who have complex medical needs or life-threatening conditions.
Your donations help pay for a nursery nurse to provide stimulating sensory care during short respite breaks for up to six young children at a time - around 50 families a year.
By using special multi-sensory equipment and by teaching through play, nursing staff ensure that the little ones can enjoy many new experiences despite their conditions.
Jaime, who's two, is one of those children.
She has a very rare type of muscular dystrophy called SMARD. It's a degenerative genetic condition that can paralyse the diaphragm. Jaime was initially diagnosed after she stopped breathing.
Her parents later learnt that many babies with the condition are mistakenly thought to have suffered cot death.
Jaime lives with her mum, Sarah, dad Steve and younger sister, Emily, in Coventry. As she can't breathe unaided, she's on constant ventilation and is fed through a tube.
But her eyes are an amazing tool and she answers questions by pointing to things with them and by focussing on cards that are held up in front of her at school. She can also use an eye-gaze computer. She goes to Zoë's Place Baby Hospice for short overnight stays and it's the one place her parents can leave her, safe in the knowledge that all her medical and personal needs will be catered for, and then some.
Jaime's prognosis is promising - a woman with the same condition in America is now 19 and works as a personal assistant. But once she turns six, she'll be too old to attend Zoë's Place. And care at other children's hospices is in such demand because of improved medical knowledge that they may have to prioritise those children whose life expectancy is less stable.
For now though, Jaime and her family will continue to benefit from the excellent care that they receive at Zoë's Place Baby Hospice in Coventry.
BBC Children in Need has raised over £650m thanks to the generosity of the general public and because of the amazing fundraising that goes on all around our nation. This year I want to do my piece and help as many children as possible enjoy their childhood, because let’s face it, once it's gone, it's gone.
So, this year, at 6:00am on Friday 8th November, I've decided to run from the source of the River Thames in Thames Head to the Thames Barrier along the Thames Path...a 184 mile run...nonstop. That works out at just over 7 consecutive marathons! If all goes to plan, I hope to arrive at the Thames Barrier at 6:00pm on Sunday 10th November.
So please help me raise as much money as possible by donating on my page, telling all your friends about what I'm doing and getting them to donate. Share my page on your Facebook and Tweet about it. Tell your work colleagues about it. You can even come and show your support by volunteering on any of the days and being at the rest stops. But whatever you do, do something. Every child deserves a safe and happy childhood.
Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity. So it’s the most efficient way to donate – saving time and cutting costs for the charity.