Ben’s Epic Journey
Ben’s Epic Christmas Gift Cards
Fundraising Project for Christmas Gift Cards
18 October 2020
As some of you are aware, our son, Ben, was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia and Lyme Disease in June 2018. He subsequently underwent chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant from an Angel unrelated donor in October of that year.
We managed to have Christmas at home and spent a further beautiful five months at home, before Ben relapsed in July 2019. We were initially hopeful that he would respond to treatment that would lead to a possible second stem cell transplant. However, the disease was very aggressive and so, heartbreakingly, this wasn’t possible.
Benny made it to his 12th birthday, which he enjoyed in Piam Brown Ward, Southampton, with some close friends and family. Just six days later, after getting him home on the Friday, he died in my arms on Saturday 10th August 2019.
Ben grew so much in such a short space of time; both in knowledge, age, as well as in heart and wisdom. He never wanted any association with cancer and certainly didn’t want to be defined by it. In his last few days, he humbly told me he would give up his life if other children could be healthy. In my heart, as his mum, I felt very much that he was handing the baton to me to continue a legacy of kindness for the children and families affected by childhood cancer.
Last year, we were able to fundraise for Ben's Epic Christmas Boxes and delivered these to children staying in the three hospitals Ben was cared for during his treatment for cancer. We were humbled both by the generosity of our donors and by the lovely responses we received in the early part of this year from the families, some of which have been posted to our blog, www.bensepicjourney.org You can see by the photos above the boxes and stockings that we put together and us delivering them to the wards.
This year, due to Covid 19 restrictions and for the safety of the patients and families, we are managing the gifts a different way. Last year, we were able to choose exciting gifts that we know Ben would have loved to give the children. This year, we are providing the families an opportunity to select those gifts for themselves by way of gift cards, in the hope that we will be able to return to our original idea of Ben's Epic Christmas Boxes in 2021.
We were extremely lucky last year with the generosity of the donations, which allowed us to exceed our target. However, we appreciate that many people have been affected by the pandemic and may not be in a position to be so generous this year. Therefore we are asking everyone to share the campaign as widely as possible to help spread the message and the load.
Ben was very well cared for by the amazing NHS teams of Nurses, Doctors and Consultants over the last fourteen months of his life and we would like to make Christmas for those who need to stay in hospital over the festive season a little easier and would like to start the ball rolling with this fundraiser to see what miracles may come.
The Hospitals are:
Starfish Ward, Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth
Piam Brown Ward, Southampton Hospital
Starlight Ward, Bristol
The three wards accommodate approximately sixty-five children, but if we exceed our target, we may be able to then stretch to the two other Day wards, which Ben also visited.
The intention is to start here with Ben's Epic Christmas Gift Cards and to reach our target of £6,500.
You can find out more about Ben’s story via his blog here at: www.bensepicjourney.org
You can also contact us here at: [email protected]
All donations are non-refundable, but will be used for good as part of our lovely boy’s legacy of kindness to others.