A gift to Childlife is very special as funds are divided between its four partner charities, each one helping children and young people with major challenges to their daily lives. One of the Childlife charities, Acorns Children’s Hospice, provides support to life-limited children and their loved ones, either in their homes or in one of their three hospices.
When a child is seriously ill, he or she naturally becomes the focus of attention and worry. Brothers and sisters are often caught up in a challenging routine of caring, just like their parents. And when a sibling dies, their grief is just as keenly felt.
Alistair started using the service in 2007, when his sister Frances was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. He was very close to his sister. And when she died in 2007, Alistair’s behaviour became quite challenging: ‘I felt really sad and angry’ he says; ‘for a while I had one-to-one counselling which helped me forget about the past and look to the future.’
Using child-friendly counselling techniques, the sibling team and trained volunteers at Acorns give children the chance to work through their feelings in a safe and supportive environment.
It’s not just a bereavement service. Children can also experience difficulties and worries when a sibling is first diagnosed and at any stage of their illness. Plus a complex medical condition may impact on every aspect of family life – from daily routine to days out and holidays.
Acorns also supports siblings through regular group meetings for siblings and with an annual magazine called BASIL (Brothers and Sisters in League) and gives them the chance to take part in creative workshops. Plus there are trips and ‘adventure away days’, which give children the chance to be children for a while, out from the shadow of terminal illness. Thank you for your support.