Christmas. A time of year where people come together with friends and family to celebrate life, to tell those we love how much we appreciate them and to remember those we’ve lost. It’s also a time where we reflect on our own lives and on the lives of others. For many Christmas brings a strain on family finances, but still, at this time of year we are at our most charitable.
In the Flower Shop we support as many local charities and schools as we can through donations and the offer of bouquets, wreaths and vouchers as prizes. Every year there seems to be more and more charities in need and it’s hard to turn any of them down, but this year there is one cause that is very close to my heart because I know those involved.
Jamie Fielding is a friend of my eldest son ‘Bod’ (that’s a nick name that has stuck since birth, due to his resemblance to a TV character of the time). Bod and Jamie met in their early twenties and Jamie being a keen amateur photographer he regularly invited Bod out to join him at local nature reserves, often at dusk or the crack of dawn. Not knowing at the time that Jamie was a photographer and what exactly Bod and Jamie’s relationship was, all sorts of things raced through my mind, wondering what they were both up to in remote car parks at odd times of day and night.
Bod and Jamie became firm friends and remained so as they both dated their prospective wives, bought their first homes, developed careers and cared for their own families.
Bod and his lovely wife Lorna are hoping to have their own family one day, but he’s always been there to support his friend and I hope that I can help too.
This is his story…
Our beautiful boy Charlie is 2, he is a smiley cheeky chappy, loveable and determined which is just as well because Charlie faces big challenges and changes for the rest of his life. Charlie, along with his twin sister Poppy were born at 30 weeks and spent much of the first year of his life in and out of hospital with various health issues. Finally at 18 months he appeared to be on the up, spending less time in hospital and was on the verge of learning to walk.
This all changed October 17th 2016. Charlie woke that morning in considerable distress, reluctant to crawl or put any weight on his legs. He was taken to hospital where an MRI confirmed the worst and changed our lives forever. Charlie had a swelling on his spine caused by a rare Arteriovenus Malformation (AVM) which had led to his spinal cord becoming damaged resulting in paralysis from the waist down. Charlie was immediately transferred to Great Ormond Street given the rarity of his condition and he remained there for 4 weeks.
Charlies’ needs are ongoing, so physiotherapy and equipment will be key in giving him the best possible chance at a normal life. NHS physio has already gone from 3 times a week to once a fortnight and this has now stopped altogether.
Charlie’s condition affects the whole family but Jamie won’t give up and will do anything to support his family and make their and Charlie’s life as normal as possible.
Much of the equipment needed to support Charlie cannot be provided by the NHS, so Jamie and his family need to raise funds for equipment like this, as well as further private physio sessions and hydrotherapy to try and give Charlie the same quality of life and opportunities as his twin and older sister.
Jamie has used his talent as a photographer to capture some truly stunning scenes of West Sussex and has selected some of the very best to produce a calendar.
All the proceeds from sales of the calendar will go towards the equipment and physio Charlie so desperately needs. I will be stocking some calendars in the shop, so please pop in and ask to see one.
Others will be printed on demand and can be bought direct from the printer.