Seriously ill children get new toys for Christmas thanks to readers supporting our charity appeal
PUBLISHED: 10:52 27 December 2013 | UPDATED: 10:52 27 December 2013
Severely ill children with life-threatening or life-limiting illnesses had a Christmas to remember thanks to kind-hearted The Reporter readers who have supported our charity appeal.
Youngsters supported by hospice at home organisation chYps received bundles of toys they can enjoy all year round after residents and businesses alike pooled together to donate and collect gifts.
One woman also made an anonymous donation of £200 in response to the appeal.
Tessa Youens, communications manager at chYps, which operates in Kent and Bexley, said she was delighted.
“It has been fantastic, everyone has been so generous,” she said. “It is lovely to know people have wanted to help their local children’s hospice at this time of year.
“It is nice to think people want to support our families.”
Little Ciara Paczensky, seven, from Darford, is one of the youngsters who has benefitted from our appeal.
She suffers from a type of rare skin disorder EB, which causes her skin to develop painful blisters.
Her father Grant, 41, of Brent Lane, said: “It is a constant battle, she is always bandaged. Her skin blisters at the slightest push or bump and if she takes a tumble her skin can just shear off.
“We try and let her do as much as she wants to, but it does limit what we can do. But generally she has as much of a normal life as we can give her.
“Without chYps it would be much more difficult.”
Nurses from chYps visit the family’s home at least once a week to give respite care to Ciara, who has suffered the inherited condition from birth.
The support from the charity also extends to Grant, wife Margaret, 44, and son Jonathon, nine.
Businesses who have supported our toy appeal
Kent residents who have displayed their generosity include the customers of Practical Car and Van Rental in The Brent, Dartford.
Donated toys included cars, a craft set and a pull-along crocodile.
The Clarendon Royal Hotel, of Royal Pier Road, Gravesend, has also seen a number of items handed in.
These included a variety of cuddly teddy bears.
Other businesses who have participated in our appeal include Gravesend business Bennett and Brown, Dartford Greek Taverna, Maple Leaf Kitchens and Bedrooms, of Dartford, and Towncentric, of Gravesend.
Grant said: “I think it is just the actual giving someone a break [that is helpful], I imagine a family who relies on chYps more than us really appreciate the respite.
“Sometimes they take Ciara’s brother out with her, or look after him on his own.”
For Grant, and other parents aided by chYps, readers’ generosity to the toy appeal has been greatly appreciated.
“Just for the children to get something extra is lovely for them. When people are tight for money and can come up with [donations and toys] like that, I think it is astounding.
“They will never see the children or know where it is going.
“ChYps are doing a great job and the more funding they can get the better.”
It is hoped that some of the remaining toys will go into chYps’ shops - where they will be sold to generate funds so the charity can continue its important work.
Tessa added: “It is very uplifting, these poor children have had a really tough year. Some of them were diagnosed this year so the toys will probably make a huge difference [to them].
“To see their child happy is a good distraction for the parents.
“We are so grateful to everyone who’s thought about us and our children and hope people will support us into 2014.”