Joanne's Sahara Trek page
Fundraising for Children's Hospices Across Scotland, (CHAS)
We're Children's Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS). We care for children throughout Scotland with life-shortening conditions and their families. We make sure that no matter how short their time together may be, it is filled with happiness. Even in the pain of grief, we're determined that joy lives on.
Charity Registration No. SC019724
My little sister "Princess" Dawn was adopted when she was 2 years old, and and very quickly became the boss! She was hilarious, with a wicked sense of humour, loved a giggle and a nonsense, and to be centre of attention! She was our princess, and made sure everyone knew it! She had some challenges - she couldnt walk or talk (but could get everything she wanted with just a look), she was tube fed from around the age of 8 (except for the odd bit ice cream, chocolate or taste of Dominos pizza!), and she was prone to chest infections and asthma attacks, resulting in numerous hospital admissions, all as a result of Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy, Scoliosis and Developmental Delay. But whatever was going on, she was the happiest, smiliest, bravest princess anyone has ever met.
But on Christmas Day 2018, her latest chest infection/asthma attack was too much, and she passed away peacefully on Boxing Day at the age of 15.
From when Dawn was around age 10, we as a family started to get support from CHAS. We had been reluctant because we thought 'hospice' meant going for end of life care, and not a happy place. We were very wrong.
Rachel House Hospice was brilliant, and because of them I was able to take Dawn to see Sclub7, Ed Sheeran, Disney on Ice, Caley Thistle in the League Cup Final, the pandas at Edinburgh Zoo, and also to go ice skating. We live in Inverness so without Rachel House a trip to the Central Belt with Dawn was almost impossible. She also loved the snoozelen, jacuzzi, trampoline, roundabout and swing at Rachel House, as well as the fact she could stay in bed but still go through to the living room, or even outside, and see everyone! They provided amazing care for Dawn and us as a family, taking care of her feeds, numerous medications several times a day, airway clearance, and personal care - allowing us to have a break and just be her family.
The CHAS@home team in Inverness were also amazing. Every few weeks they took Dawn out bowling, to the park, the beach, or to see her best friend Harry, who also has complex needs, was in Dawn's class at school and also uses CHAS services. The team also took her to Belladrum Music Festival in 2018 which she loved! This allowed Dawn to just be a teenager and go out without her parents or sisters. But the @home team's value really lies in the tough times. When our dad passed away suddenly in October 2017, they cleared their schedule to be able to help care for Dawn, allowing us to take care of arrangements. When Dawn was admitted for her last admission on December 21st, they visited in the days before Christmas and left on call numbers with the ward staff. Within 6 hours of Dawn passing away, Dawn's Community Nurse made arrangements for Dawn to be brought home straight from ITU, and the CHAS@home team came to set up a cooling blanket, which allowed Dawn to stay at home, in her own bed, with all her own things around her (and her tiara on!) right until the night before her celebration of life, which due to the time of year, was almost 2 weeks later. They came to check on Dawn every day, and were on call for us 24/7 if we needed them. Words cannot express how much comfort we took from having our princess at home with us, rather than somewhere else on her own.
The support of CHAS, particularly the @home team, got us through the worst days of our lives, and they continue to support us now.
This is why I will be taking on this challenge of trekking across the Sahara Desert in October, to raise money for CHAS, so they can continue to provide this invaluable support to children with life limiting and life shortening conditions, and their families. Dawn would find this hilarious though, she knew how little exercise I do normally and therefore how much training I will have to do over the next 9 months!
The minimum sponsorship I need to raise is £1800 to take part in this challenge. But I would like to raise as much as I possibly can, because the support of CHAS is a lifeline to many families across Scotland facing the worst days of their lives. I hope this page gives an insight into the importance of the work that CHAS does, and why any amount, large or small, that you can donate will make a huge difference to so many people.
(This is Dawn's story, however CHAS also provide support in many other ways that didn't apply to Dawn, for example plans for end of life. They can also provide end of life care and care after a child passes away at one of Scotland's two children's hospices, Rachel or Robin House. They can support siblings, particularly young siblings, in understanding what is happening in these situations. The support CHAS provides is incredible and invaluable.)
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.