Vikki and Alun Williams lost Elis Rose when she was just 16 months, but we’ve been lucky enough to continue our special connection with them and their whole family over the past 10 years with our bereavement services.
On Saturday 13 April, Vikki, Alun and family came along to the hospice to share their experience of bereavement and their fundraising journey, having worked tirelessly to raise an incredible £11,000 on behalf of the ‘Elis Rose Legacy Fund’ to help families in the similar situations at Tŷ Hafan.
With the help of the couple’s huge support network, they managed to raise enough money to be able to refurbish the hospice’s complementary therapy room — something that Vikki has wanted to do for years. She hopes that it can be made into more of an inclusive space for families where they can be pampered with hair-dos and makeovers, but also designed in a way that remembers Elis Rose.
Tŷ Hafan was also presented with a ‘CuddleBlanket’, a special piece of equipment that keeps the child’s temperature low to allow families to spend as much time as possible with their child after death; to say goodbye in their own time. They also fundraised to produce 70 ‘Heart In Their Hand’ keepsakes — tiny silver hearts that can be placed in the child’s hand or blanket when saying goodbye, while the parents keep the accompanying keyring as a reminder of the connection shared.
Alun Williams said on Saturday:
"We wanted to give something back to Tŷ Hafan that will help other families at a very sad time. Being given the option of using a ‘CuddleBlanket’ so that families have the chance to say goodbye to their child how they want to and have as much time as they need is an incredible gift and something we never got to do."
Our Head of Community Service and Partnerships, Tracy Jones, also said a few words at the event:
"When a parent loses a child, those final moments are more precious than anything. Unfortunately, the nature of the children’s conditions cared for at the hospice often means that they die without any warning signs, and the parents are rarely prepared to say goodbye.
"Providing families at the hospice and at their homes with the opportunity to spend just a few more moments with their child is priceless. Continuing bonds is an essential part of the bereavement process, so the idea that the families can hand the heart to their child and have that everlasting memory is so significant. We can’t begin to think what difference these items will make to families and how treasured they will be, and it’s beautiful that they’re being used in memory of Elis."