Sunday, 24 June 2012

The Great North Swim

Today is the Great North Swim and one of our friends, Mike, is taking part in memory of Erin to raise money for a cause very close to our hearts - Aching Arms. I have written about the work that Aching Arms do to bring comfort to bereaved parents in previous posts. They give teddy bears to bereaved mothers to let them know that they are not alone or forgotten.

 I received my bear on the 20th February - over 4 months ago. She is called Maisie and was donated by Maisie's parents in memory of their precious daughter in order to give comfort to another grieving parent. Well, in this case, that grieving parent was me and Maisie bear truly does bring me comfort. Every night since receiving her I have gone to bed holding her tightly in my arms and it always amazes me each morning when I wake up and she is still tighly grasped there. I think this shows how much I need her and how much she means to me. I never let go - even in my sleep. Maisie bear has been to the Lake District twice with my husband and I and a few weeks ago even  came on a hen weekend with me. This was the first time I had been away from my husband since Erin's death and I was very anxious about it - but Maisie bear helped ease some of those nerves. She was a reminder of the support I have and the fact that even when it may feel like it, I am never alone.

I have received so much lovely support from friends, family and people that I have never met before since Erin's death, yet I never cease to be overwhelmed and truly grateful for it. Mike's swim this afternoon is going to be tough, wet and cold and yet he is doing it for little Erin. On twitter hundreds of people have retweeted the fundraising page and so far enough money has been raised to send 28 bears to grieving parents in memory of Erin. This is amazing and means so much to us. The thought that our gorgeous little girl can help bring comfort to others who are experiencing the horrendous grief and pain of losing their most precious baby is amazing. In fact, it is what Erin's Gift is all about - our gift to Erin is our fundraising in her name and Erin's gift to those who need it is the money and awareness that we raise. Through Mike's swim, the generous donations of others and the wonderful work of Aching Arms little Erin will be helping other people at a time when they really need it and that means more to me than I can express in words.

Here is Mike's fundraising page - please take a look and donate if you can and you can find out more about the work of Aching Arms here

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

T-shirts, mugs and more

I am so excited about the new Erin's Gift products that are now available. You can buy mugs, keyrings, bibs and t-shirts in various designs. The aim of these products is to raise awareness of the work we are doing in Erin's name and to raise money for the wonderful Ronald McDonald House at Alder Hey Children's Hospital. You can buy the products here but here is a sneak peak of a few of the products. I love them all!

I really find it quite overwhelming that you can now buys these products - my little girl is really making a difference. Thank you so much for your continued support xxx

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Do Something Amazing......

Logging onto twitter this morning I saw that it is International Blood Donor day. Straight away I knew that this was something I had to get involved in. I have been a blood donor since I was 18, but it was not until little Erin was in intensive care and dependent on the generosity of blood donors to make it through each day that I truly understood just what an amazing thing it is to do.

So today I have made it my mission to try and encourage more people to give blood - every pint donated is so precious, that even if only one person reads this blog entry or sees one of my tweets and books themselves into a blood donor session I will view it as a job well done.

I have seen two sides of blood donation - I have been the donor and I have been the fearful mother of a recipient who required blood tranfusions on a daily basis in order to survive. I am going to tell you a little about each of these experiences.

For me, donating blood is easy. For those of you who have never donated blood, I will tell you what happens. I go online to and enter my postcode. This tells me when and where the next local blood donation session will be taking place. I then book onto that session online - it really is that simple. On the day of the session I turn up and sign in at the desk then sit in the waiting area and drink a big glass of water. If it is your first session you will need to answer some questions to ensure your eligibility to give blood. Details of these can be found on the website.

When my name is called a friendly nurse takes me to a private area and asks me some questions about my recent health. They also take a pinprick of blood from my finger in order to test my haemoglobin levels. If all is okay I am ready to go. I am taken to lie down on a bed, the area on my chosen arm is numbed and the blood is taken - approximately 470ml. Afterwards I am given a drink and a biscuit in the waiting area and am able to book my next appointment for 3 months time. The whole process takes about 45 minutes.....that is all. Just 45 minutes of your time once every 3 months to help save lives. It really is an amazing thing to do.

The other side of blood donation is much more terrifying. I understand that some people are scared of needles and that the idea of donating blood is anxiety provoking, but I can promise you that this is the better side of blood donation to be on. Being on the other side, the side where your life or the life of someone you love with all your heart depends on the generosity of people you have never met giving up 45 minutes of their time every 3 months is desperate and terrifying. Little Erin was on an ECMO machine for the last 2 weeks of her life as her heart and lungs were unable to work on their own. The blood flow through this machine was closely monitored 24 hours a day and Erin required regular blood tranfusions. She also received platelets on a regular basis. We were told that when Erin was better her blood group would be tested again as she had received so many tranfusions that it was possible it may have changed from that which she was born with. As you are aware, tragically Erin never did get better...but many, many patients who receive blood transfusions do and one of the reason they get better is because of the blood they received. Quite simply, it is because of blood donors.

You can find out more about blood donation, where to do it, the eligibility critieria and how it is used here I hope you will consider doing something amazing today.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Making progress....

Once again I have to apologise for not updating my blog recently. Although I have been quiet on here things have been moving along with regards to our fundraising and I am very glad to be able to update you with two exciting pieces of news today!

The venue for our Imagine Appeal charity auction has been booked. It will take place on Friday 19th October at Fylde Rugby Club, Lytham St Annes. It is a truly lovely venue and has a capacity of 150 so we need to start selling tickets soon. All proceeds will go directly to the Alder Hey Imagine Appeal and I hope we can raise lots of money for them. The evening will consist of the auction, a raffle, food, live music, dancing and ultimately raising as much money as we can in memory of our precious little girl. Tickets will cost £10 per person.We continue to receive really generous donations of prizes and will continue to make requests for more over the coming months.

My second piece of news is that the Erin's Gift t-shirts are ready and on sale through the company who made them. They cost £10 each and proceeds will go to Ronald McDonald House Charities. I really love them and hope that you will too. There are four designs in total - two for women and two for men. Please take a look and consider buying one, not only to raise money for a wonderful cause, but also to help spread the word of what we do as Erin's Gift

If you do buy a t-shirt I hope you will wear it and tell people about the work that we are doing in Erin's name. If possible please ask people to google Erin's Gift to take a look at my blog and also to follow me on twitter @ErinsGift. Thank you

It seems poignant to me these two important developments in our fundraising have occured over the last few days as two days ago marked 6 months since Erin passed away. This makes me feel so sad and I can't really believe that so much time has passed. I feel in many ways as though my life has stood still and been on pause since I lost my little girl. I am certainly not the same person I was before she died and my life is far from how I thought it would be now. I thought I would be spending my days watching little Erin grow, instead I spend them tweeting in her memory and trying to raise awareness of Turner Syndrome and the charities who helped us. These developments help me to realise that although it may feel like it at times, my life has not stopped. Erin was never given the chance to make the impact on the world that I know she could have done, but we are continuing to make things happen in her name. I am proud to say that Erin's Gift has now raised over £6500 for some amazing charities and it is still just the beginning.....

"There is no foot too small, that it cannot leave an imprint on this world"
- Unknown