Facing the prospect of your child’s heart surgery is terrifying, particularly when you have to travel away from your home and your support network.
Last year we provided practical, emotional and financial support to 181 families who had to travel outside of Northern Ireland for their child’s life saving heart surgery.
Paediatric cardiac surgery provision has been removed from Belfast, so families are now required to travel outside of Northern Ireland for their child’s open heart surgery and/or cardiac catheterisation. These currently take place between three hospitals; Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin in Dublin (OLCHC) as well as Evelina Children’s Hospital in London and Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
During the festive period last year we provided £13,200 in financial support grants to 39 families who were away from home for surgery or in hospital long term with their child.
Mum, Julie Marley explains the reality of financial strains when you’re away from home:
“The financial strain when your family is separated by hospitals is crazy. There’s a lot of eating on the go, taxi’, carparks, train rides, long drives, petrol, hotels, hospital accommodation, ferrying your other kids off here and there because you cant be in two places at once…Emergency trips to shops because you’ve ran out of clean baby clothes, blankets, all sorts of baby food since you can’t cook in hospital and are desperate for your child to start eating again. Living away from home cost us a fortune. We were very grateful for financial support from the charity when we were inpatients in Dublin and Belfast.” Heart Mum Julie
By donating to our #MoreThanAGift Christmas Appeal you can help support a family away from home this Christmas. Your donations will allow us to provide practical, emotional and financial support to a family in need. Thank you.