Hospice benefits from lockdown exercise

Couple raise over £8,600 for Acorns in memory of precious son.

The parents of a ‘precious’ baby boy who was born with a rare genetic condition have raised over £8,600 for Acorns Children’s Hospice to mark what would have been their son’s tenth birthday.

Mike and Paulette Stephenson used their daily hour of exercise to complete a sponsored 90-mile cycle for Acorns over nine consecutive days as a tribute to their beautiful boy, Daniel.

The couple, from Hall Green, who received care at the charity’s hospice in Birmingham, wanted to thank Acorns for the ‘amazing’ support they received following their unimaginable loss.

Mike explained: “When you go through the loss of a child, it’s obviously very difficult. But the thing about Acorns is they make the unbearable bearable. The support they’ve given us over the last ten years has been invaluable.”

Beginning on 6th May, on what would have been Daniel’s tenth birthday, Paulette and Mike cycled ten miles for nine days – the same number of days they shared with Daniel, who was born with Edwards Syndrome.

And last Thursday (14th May) the couple completed their final ride, ending the challenge at Acorns in Birmingham on Oak Tree Lane, in Selly Oak, where they were met with cheers and applause from staff.

Paulette said: “We had planned to commemorate Daniel’s life with a quiz night and a 90-mile cycle, ten for each day of his life, in the Peak District. Unfortunately, because of the coronavirus pandemic, both events had to be cancelled. So, we decided to use our daily one-hour exercise allowance to raise money for Acorns instead.

“Over the past ten years, generously helped by our family, friends and colleagues, we have tried to raise as much money as possible for Acorns so that other families can be helped in the way that we were.

“Acorns is an amazing place which provided love, expertise, compassion and understanding at a time when we needed it and that is something we will never forget.”

Amid the current challenges facing the nation, Acorns is continuing to provide emergency and end of life hospice care as well as emotional and practical support to 600 families who are in strict isolation at home.

In March, the charity published its emergency response for Covid-19, prioritising care for the most vulnerable children and their families and setting aside its hospice in the Black Country for children from local hospitals with complex care needs to help acute trusts maximise their intensive care capability.

As well as this, the charity temporarily closed its hospice in Birmingham and offered the facility for use in the emergency response.

Acorns needs the support of the community and local businesses as much as ever as it continues to care for some of the region’s most vulnerable families and support the NHS.

You can still sponsor Mike and Paulette by visiting their JustGiving page. Details on how you can support Acorns in the fight against coronavirus can be found here.