Support in 2014-15

In 2014-2015 we provided support to bereaved families throughout England & Wales at their time of need. Below we list the ways that we have helped and supported, as well as the thoughts and gratitude of those we’ve helped…

 

£2,056.12 in Gift in Kind.

 

Provided Christmas including presents and Christmas dinner to over 150 bereaved children that would not have been able to celebrate Christmas.

 

Completed our first DIY SOS project

 

In 2014-15 we launched our Children’s Bereavement Support Groups and completed the following:

38 Child Assessments
49 Parent Assessments
2 Direct one to one sessions
18 Children attending monthly groups.

 

We also provided the following Financial & Respite Support:

A) Financial: Having sadly lost ther son to Neuroblastoma having battled it for 5 years, this family fell into arrears with their gas and electric and felt that a break away as a family would beneift them. We paid in full their utility bill arrears and provided them a family holiday.

B) Financial & Respite: Harry became unwell in March 2009 and after a visit to the doctors the family  were told he had a virus. The next day he was admitted to hospital as he was struggling to breathe. After being given a nebuliser and oxygen his condition improved overnight and it was assumed he had an asthma attack. Harry’s condition deteriorated and placed in a medically induced coma. Harry’s life support was switched off on 31st March 2009. Leaving behind siblings we paid for their school trip as well as an Asda voucher to relieve any additional financial stress the family had.

C) Financial: This family lost their daughter/sister in tragic circumstances. Her brother was struggling with his grief and in turn this was affecting his education. He wanted to attend a specialist course but mum could not afford the fee. So working with the school we joint funded the course ensuring the young man emained in education.

D) Respite: Shannon moved from The Lake District in June this year due to the death of his dad. Shannon and his dad lived alone and had no other family connections. Shannons dad suffered from Polio and Shannon was his carer. Shannon only saw his mum from the age of 11 occasionally. After dads death Shannon had to leave his home, school and friends and move to Wigan to live with mum. Naturally still struggling with grief and has has anxiety issues in relation to coming into school therefore, his attendance was of major concern. Shannon longs to go back to Windmere to see his old friends but mum is struggling financially. We provided a few days back at Windmere for Shannon, with travel and accomodation.

E) Respite: This family took guardianship of their nephew when his mum passed away at a young age. Mums daeth followed suddenly from further deaths within the family. Sadly the young boy also passed away a short time later from cancer. His cousin, who was like a sister to him has suffered the loss of many family members had been making brilliant progress and the family felt she desrved something special. We provided a laptop for her to allow her to complete her school course work, this was the choice of the young lady.

F) Financial: This family sadly lost dad at a young age to a long battle with cancer leaving behind 3 young children. Finances had been a struggle for this family and a number of bills had built up over the time dad was battling his illness. We provided this family a high level of financial support by paying off rent arrears, council tax and an Asda voucher as well as committing long term support to this family.

G) Financial: Having lost their daughter in tragic circumstances whilst on holiday aged 6, this family was struggling to provide their young son with some time with children his own age whilst taking time to grieve themselves. We paid for the young son to attend nursery 2 days a week for a number of months allowing the parents time to grieve.

H) Financial: Jake died aged 6yrs at Christmas. He had Battens disease but only diagnosed 18 months ago. mum & dad were struggling emotionally as they have endured such a roller coaster since Jake was diagnosed and unfortunately Jake deteriorated very rapidly and following a sever chest infection early December, sadly died at Christmas.  Unfortunately they were struggling financially post Jake’s death as all benefits for Jake ended and both parents have been off work struggling with their grief.  The family needed the stress of the next months mortgage payment to be removed. We paid this on their behalf. 

I) Financial: Sharon is grandmother to 2 children (10 & 3). Both of the childrens parents have since died in very tragic circumstances and Sharon has taken custody of the children. Sharon works part time and refuses to give up her job to claim benefits. She therefore receives no help.  Sharon was struggling to be able to afford to carpet the bedrooms for the children, so we stepped in and funding full carpeting.

J) Financial: Kyle was an 11 year old, who suffered an asthma attack whilst playing out with his friends. Unfortunately by the time help had arrived Kyle had sadly passed away, leaving behind a young brother. As well as grieving the family of Kyle were worried about how they would pay for his funeral. We stepped in and paid the funeral amount in full. We also sourced a Manchester United shirt signed by Wayne Rooney (Kyles favourite player) for Kyle to be buried in.

K) Respite: We have supported this family continouasly providing a number of support types. This family sadly lost their daughter at Christmas and do not like to be home during this time. As part of our ongoing support to them, we paid for a Christmas day meal out.

L) Financial: Shamaz was a young boy that had a condition called Sanfiliopp syndrome this is a degenerative disorder. He was the second son of four children.   Shamaz died July 2013 Shamaz used ShootingStarChase for his end of life care. Dad is on an extremely low income as a leader in supporting his community.  They visit Shamaz grave daily but are unable to fund a headstone for him. We provided financial support and purchased the headstone on behalf on the family.

M) Financial: Charlotte was devastated by her son passing away at such a tragic young age. She has coped remarkably well with bereavement support in caring for her other son and dealing with her grief. Charlie passed away on March 9th 2014. Charlotte is a single parent who also cares for her other 2 year old son. Mum was sturggling to pay for her sons headstone after paying a deposit. We paid a contibution of £1000.00 to the headstone. 

N) Respite: Having suffered the loss of her two young sons in extremely tragic and sudden circumstances, this family needed to spend some quality time away together.  We arranged a VIP trip to London that also included a visit to a West End show. Undestanding the impact a bereavement can have on finances we also provided £500 gift card to relieve the financial burden.

O) Financial: Having lost both parents, this young family went into the care and guardianship of older sister who is a teenager herself. The family were struggling financially and we provided an Asda gift card to ensure they could purchase household essentials.

P) Financial: Jackie’s son passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on Sunday 23/11 whilst he was staying at Claire House Hospice for respite. Jackie is struggling financially and having significant problems bearing the cost of a funeral. As her son was over 18 years, the funeral costs are fully payable, whereas under 18 years there are substantial reductions. As well as caring for other family members, we stepped in to offer financial support with the cost of the funeral.

Q) Financial: Having lost their son aged 3 folliwng a long illness, this family was struggling to pay for the transport for his funeral and were unavialble to seek support as they both worked full time.  We paid the full amount for the transport to the funeral.

R) Financial: Mum sadly died following an embolism. Daughter who was 7 at the time now lives with dad. Daughter is now 10 and they live in a 2 bedroom house. Son/Brother has returned home and daughter Lilly is now sharing a room with dad. Dad wants a sofa bed so she can have her own room and he’ll sleep downstairs. Finances are tight and dad cannot afford to buy one. As part of ongoing support, we provided a sofa bed as per dad’s request. We also provided this young girl a full bedroom renovation.

S) Financial: Having lost their young son unexpectedly, this family was extremely upset that they could not afford a headstone for him. This was causing addition stress and strain on relationships and their ability to grieve. We purchased a headstone for the family and paid the cemetery fees in full.

T) Financial: Mother is  struggling to pay off the funeral expenses as her son (22) died suddenly on 12th January 2015. Mum has health problems which do not allow her to work and has one dependent child living at home with her. Jessica (13) was carer with mum for Steven and is now care support for her mum. This case went to a debt collection agency within 7 weeks of the funeral, who have been chasing mum causing her considerable distress. We paid the arrears in full.

U) Respite: Adam’s mother died three years ago after waiting for an ambulance for three hours. She died in the ambulance after leaving Seymour Leisure Centre London W1 where she had internal bleeding and was screaming in pain all that time. Her son, Adam watched her lying on the floor in agony and was helpless to do anything for her pain. His dad kept taking him away so that he didn’t see all of her distress and waited outside for the ambulance. Two ambulance showed up after three hours and my son and grandson went in the ambulance behind Christina’s. After a few minutes the ambulance stopped and one of the paramedics came around to the back of my son’s ambulance. My son heard the intercom announcement in his ambulance telling the hospital to be ready to take Christina. She had a cardiac arrest. The paramedic said to Stephen, my son, whilst being mindful of Adam. Sadly Christina died.  Dad felt Adam needed something to look forward to and Adam loves Manchester United. We set up a VIP tour and meet the players of Manchester as well as staying at Hotel Football. 

V) Respite: Liam died on 1 November 2014 aged 16 years tragically and suddenly. Leaving behind two siblings aged 13 & 14 years. Natalie is a single parent who has had to continue at work to maintain the family income, she is also training as a Counselor herself.   However this is a struggle and they have a low income.  They are in need of a new cooker and in need of a break and the two children have asked whether they can have a holiday this year.  This is not a financial possibility for Natalie
We provided a new cooker and a family holiday for this family.

W) Financial: Sadly on the 11th Jan Martin was killed while crossing the road. He left 4 children, 3 of which attend our small school aged 5, 9, and 11.
Unfortunately Martin wasn’t married to Miss Jones, they had been childhood sweethearts and a good catholic family, but had never made it official, this has left their mother with no financial support, she isn’t entitled to anything a widow would be, they have both worked hard to provide for their family, but now Liz finds herself without his pension, his income, or able to apply for any benefits. We have provided this family with ongoing support types and will continue to do so. On this ocassion the family had to move to a smaller property that was unlivable. We purchased and completed on their behalf a full house renovation to make the house a home.

X) Financial: We are offering continued support to this family, whose mum sadly lost her life 3 hours after giving birth. The family of 4 children and dad, were struggling to pay the funeral arrears. We paid off the arrears and bought a headstone. To allow the children somewhere to visit mum.

Y) Financial: Having lost her 15 year old son after battling cancer, Veronica wanted to hold a memorial but could not afford the hire of the chapel. We paid the chapel hire to allow friends and family to attend.

Z) Respite : 6 years ago, Claire gave birth to her firstborn son already having 2 daughters aged 10 & 9yrs old.  Finn was born too early and too small and aged just ten days old we had to take the decision to turn his ventilator off, Finn fell to sleep in mum arms.
In 2010 and 2012 Claire gave birth to our two little children, Maddison and Kobe who are both now 4 & 3 and very healthy.
In 2012 Mark (dad to the girls) was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, and was given just a few months to live. Our girls and I were devastated. Bethany and Rhian continued to see their Dad throughout his illness and this often meant they cared for him, feeding him, changing his catheter bag, washing his face, shopping, etc.
Mark, in the space of 6 months went from a walking talking able bodied man to not being able to use his legs, arms, and pretty much lost the use of everything. Our girls handled all of this with so much dignity and grace and love, this in itself was heartbreaking to see.
Eventually, 14 months later on July 27th 2013 Mark lost his fight. Myself and our girls managed to see him the night before and I am so grateful that my girls were able to have this final time with him.
Since losing their Dad both my girls have been absolutely incredible.. They’ve once again remained so positive, so dignified, and I just know that their Dad is looking down so proudly over them.
Claire felt the girls needed something special to look forward too but unfortunately financial restraints m,eant this would not be possible. We booked and paid for a full VIP London weekend so the family could have some time away together.

AA) Financial: April has recently moved into a house after living in a hostel. They were living at the hostel due to domestic violence.
Has a second hand microwave but its rusty inside so can’t use it. Washing machine and tumble dryer are also second hand and on their way out. Finding it difficult with three young children washing and drying. Her son Wyatt died at Alder Hey leaving 3 siblings 5, 3 and 4 months. We provided this family with all required utilities as well as ongoing support. 

BB) Financial: We offer ongoing support to this family who sadly lost their mum suddenly and unexpectedly leaving 2 young children (3,9) who are now in guardianship of their 18 year old sister. We are providing ongoing support to this family and have provided an Asda gift card to help with groceries and household essentials, as well as completing DIY SOS on the property as per the images above.

CC) Respite: Dalton sadly passed away on the 8th February at 3 months old. Dalton was born extremely pre term (24 weeks) and suffered from chronic lung disease, and spent his short life ventilated on the neonatal unit. The family stayed by Dalton’s side throughout his time on the neonatal unit, witnessing him experiencing hypoxic episodes and deteriorating before their eyes. In January the family made the brave decision for Dalton to be compassionately extubated at Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice. Sadly, Dalton became too unwell to be transferred and passed away on the neonatal unit at the Leeds General Infirmary. Dalton was then transferred by Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice to the snowflake suite, where the family and siblings visited Dalton on a very regular basis. Dalton’s parents and siblings (as young as 2) all visited Dalton in the snowflake suite, and had cuddles. As precious as these moments were, this experience was incredibly traumatic for the family. The family needed and felt they would benefit from some time away together so we provided them with a family holiday.

DD) Respite:  This family have spent time in hospital due to twins being born prematurely. They have 2 other girls 9 and 6 who have been away from there mum as shes had to be on hand at hospital. Sadly they lost one of their children. The family felt a break away together would be of huge benefit. We paid in full for the holiday together to spend some quality time in a different environment.

EE) Financial: This family and there 2 young children lost their older sister died unexpectedly in February whilst having a bath. We have provided ongoing emotional support to the children however mum fears that the children are now afraid of water. Taking this in to consideration, we paid for the chidlren to have private swimming lessons ensuring the children did not become afraid of water. 

FF) Financial: These two young siblings moved in with gran, having witnessed the tragic loss of mum to domestic violence.  Gran’s house was not suitable and did not have a sofa or dinning table. We purchased the family a new sofa and dining table.

GG) Financial: Michael was fatally stabbed on 1st august 2014 leaving behind 8 year old twin boys and at the time of his death a 6 day old baby girl, he was transferred from the heath hospital Cardiff to king’s college hospital in London where he underwent a liver transplant, for the first 10 days he was on full life support, after 10 days he woke up, we as a family were filled with hope and thought he would be coming home, unfortunately Mike contracted the infection aspergillus’s as the doctors had to take away his own immune system to stop his body rejecting the new liver, unfortunately the infection spread which resulted in a catastrophic airway bleed causing his heart to stop for 25 minutes, the doctors fought and successfully brought him acknowledge to life, but little did the family know due to the bleed and lack of oxygen going to the brain, Mike suffered a stroke resulting in severe brain damage leading to his family having to make the decision to turn off his life support. The family were struggling to purchase a headstone for Mike and this was causing considerable distress to them. We purchased them a headstone and paid in full.

HH) Financial: Dad has died today of Motor Neurone Disease, in Willow Wood hospice. Although this was a long term illness, dad’s death was sudden and unexpected. His son is 11 years old and is struggling with dad’s death. We recieved a call from a hysterical mum, the day prior to dad’s funeral. Mum had been told that unless the funeral amount was paid in full THAT AFTERNOON, the funeral would not go ahead the following day. Mum stated that there was no way she could afford the amount and her concern was explaining to her son, dad’s funeral is not taking place as planned. We paid in full that day for the funeral ensuring it went ahead the following day.

II) Respite: This family recently lost their son Carson, who was born 13 weeks prematurely and had a series of health issues. Carson spent the first 3 years of his life in Alder Hey, but his positive spirit saw him doing things his family were told he would never do, such as being able to walk. Carson and his family spent the last few weeks of his life at Claire House where they were able to make precious memories together.
The family are struggling with the void that has been left in their lives since Carson passed away. It was felt that they would very much benefit from some time away together with their older boy 16, 15 and 9. We provided this family with a family holiday.

JJ) Respite: This family sadly lost their son to Oculocutaneos Albinism, Chronic Lung Disease and spent a lot of time in Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice. They needed some quality time away together with their other children. We sent them on a family holiday with meals included to allow them some quality time together.

KK) Financial: Having lost his wife and mother to his children, dad was left to care for his 3 children.  He could not afford new school uniform and this was causing concern for dad. We purchased new uniform on his behalf.

LL) Respite: We have provided continued support to this family who lost son/brother suddenly on 12th January 2015. Mum has health problems which do not allow her to work and has one dependent child living at home with her. Jessica (13) was carer with mum for Steven and is now care support for her mum. We provided a bedroom refurbishment to allow Jessica her own space to relax.

MM) Financial: Nicola sadly lost her daughter Samantha on the 26/05/15, Samantha suffered birth trauma resulting in her having complex medical needs and global developmental delays. Both Mum and Dad were Samantha’s carers and also supported Samantha’s twin sister  who was born with no medical needs.  There was an outstanding amount of the the additional headstone engravement as she has been buried with her grandad and on the families behalf this was causing mum concern, so we paid for the inscription in full.

NN) Financial & Respite: David and his wife had worked all their life, his wife worked for the Courts and David was in the same job for around 20 years as a manager for a kitchen fitting company. David’s wife passed away 2 and a half years ago following a diagnosis of cancer, leaving behind two young boys. Around this time, David was dismissed from work due to theft from employer and he attempted to set up his own business. David’s family are extremely supportive, they have set up numerous payment plans to tackle the debts and county court judgements have been set aside. There is little money left over for family days out due to the outstanding debt.  New school uniforms were causing concern and the family felt a day out together would be extremely beneifcial. We provided new uniforms for the children as well as a day out to Alton Towers. We are also providing ongoing support to this family.

OO) Financial: Having lost 6 year old daughter, this family were struggling to pay for the headstone for their daughter and was about to lose their £200 deposit. The headstone was jointly funded by Once Upon a Smile and REACT charity to ensure the headstone was paid for in full.

PP) Respite: Peter sadly lost his wife suddenly 3 years ago to a brain tumour. Leaving him to care for his 2 young children. Peter has been unable to provide a holiday for his family but would love to spend some quality time away. We provided a family holiday for this family and paid in full.

QQ) Financial: This family adadly lost mum on 11 February 2013, 18 year old sister took guardianship of her brothers as well as caring for her own young daughter. Her young brother was also diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in March 2012 and is being treated under the care Paediatric Haematology at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.

Lauren has been unable to work since her mother died and so manages the household on state benefits. Lauren is a single parent with the additional responsibility of caring for her brother who has been very unwell and whose condition is associated with significantly increased weekly outgoings.
Mum had not made any funeral arrangements for herself, other than insisting that she be buried, and did not leave any means of funding her funeral. Environmental Health paid for mum to be buried as the family had no other means to pay for her funeral. There has never been any funds available to the family to purchase a headstone. We purchased the rights to the grave on behalf of the family, so they are able to erect a headstone and also paid in full for a headstone. We have continued to offer support to this family.

RR) Financial: Bethan and Nicholas had fostered Joshua for approx. 11 years. Joshua had a condition called FSH Muscular Dystrophy. Joshua relied on his foster parents to meet his every need. He was wheelchair dependant and was fed via a gastrostomy tube. Despite all his challenges Joshua was a happy young man who brought light into everybody’s life. Since his death the family have struggled financially. They are having considerable difficulty in paying for the funeral costs. They have no savings or monies to use and this is affecting their ability to grieve greatly. They are becoming very anxious and stressed about the funeral bill and this is affecting their relationship and that of the other children. We paid of the funeral arrears in full.

SS) Financial: Another tragic and sudden death of dad/husband whilst on holiday, left this mum to care for her 3 young children. Saldy dad had a heart attack on holiday and the family went through an extremely traumatic time. The funeral could not be afforded and was causing additional stress to the whole family. We pledge our ongoing support to this family and paid the funeral to relieve the stress and allow the family to grieve.

TT) Financial: This family had worked all their lives are were now at retirement age. They adopting a number of children, some with disabilities throughout the years and are currently living on a pension. Sadly their 40 year old daughter Angela, passed away suddenly on 22nd April 2015, leaving behind 3 children (17, 13 &  20 months). Angela had adopted Lexi (her niece). This unfortunately only went through a few months prior to Angela’s death, and now the family have taken guardianship of Lexi (who is wheat intolerant) and Tom (who have severe autism), whilst Michael lives with his dad. The family are struggling with the amount outstanding of the funeral. We paid the funeral arrears in full relieving the stress and worry of how they would pay the outstanding amount.

Here’s what some of our families have said…

Thank you cards

‘We had a fantastic time in London seeing Charlie & the chocolate factory and taking a spin on the London eye. We also included a visit to the Dungeons and took a ride on an led lit rickshaw… Very scary!! It was great to see the girls smiling and having a great time. I can’t thank you enough for the opportunity’.

 

‘Without this charity, I believe a lot of families would be going through this nightmare alone, this should never happen and thanks to OUAS lot’s of families will never have to do this alone’.

 

‘Chloe met some children that are in the same situation as herself and it has helped her to realise that she’s not on her own’.

 

‘Your help to us has been extremely helpful and we are extremely grateful’.

 

‘Due to your financial support my son Jack has gone on to a full time college course to study Arobiculture, I would like to say a big THANK YOU’.

 

‘The help I recieved from OUAS helped me more than anyone will ever realise. The support was like winning the lottery for me not having to worry for a little while’.

 

‘The support has been the best thing for Alex and I am truly grateful for everything you have done for us’.

 

‘We just want to say that you are an amazing charity for your hard work and dedication in supporting bereaved families during the worst time of their lives. We can not thank you enough for your help and support.

 

‘If it wasn’t for OUAS myself and my family would still be in limbo. My boys would still have so many unanswered questions. Tyler would still be having bad anger & behaviour problems and I myself would still feel alone as I find it very difficult to open up’.

 

‘We would not have been able to afford the stone without your financial support. To be able to go somewhere and grieve and be able to take gifts to Charlie is a huge comfort’.

 

‘Thank you for your support when we needed it most’.

 

‘I thought I would never be able to make these children smile. Once Upon a Smile did this for our family’.

 

‘Things are easier knowing that Once Upon a Smile are there’.

 

‘I would like to take this opportunity to thank you and your team for the amazing work each and everyone of you do. You have made this traumatic time in our lives a little easier to live with’.

 

‘Just a massive and extended gratitude to ONCE UPON A SMILE! May the good lord bless you a thousand folds! MANY MANY THANKS!

 

‘Daniel Jillings has been amazing! I have been completely humbled and overwhelmed by the amount of support I have been offered and recieved. I am quite a proud person who has never had to ask for or accept help. OUAS made the whole process very easy and were so respectful of me and my situation. THANK YOU!’

‘I would like to say a massive thank you to Daniel and the team. Although our hearts are broken you put a smile on our faces, even if it was just for the day, to see my babies smiling meant the world to me. Thank you’.

 

We can never thank you enough for the help you enough for the help you have given us’.

 

‘I think this charity is fantastic. The help and support offered to families takes pressure off financially and emotionally. Keep up the good work’.

 

‘If it wasn’t for your help and support I don’t know what I would have done, so a big thank you’.

 

‘Just a massive THANK YOU for your help and your sensitivity in dealing with us as a family’.

 

‘I would like to thank OUAS for all the help they have given’.

 

‘I would like to thank you so much and I would like to thank Daniel who I spoke to from OUAS! As he was really polite and helpful. Thanks again’.

 

‘Would just like to thank you from all of us the Kaya family, for helping us do the best for our gorgeous angel. Very much apreciated xx’.

 

‘OUAS has been our lifeline. The magic you work the children you support is fantsic. Thank you to each and everyone of you for the time you give’.

 

‘Just a quick thank you for your financial support, you are a super charity doing great work and if I win the lottery one day, you’re having a large chunk of it! Many thanks’.