A request by hospice Paediatric doctor Caroline Sprinz at Helen & Douglas House for clothes from sustainable children’s clothing company Frugi led to a £10,000 donation to the charity. Helen & Douglas House is a charity that provides hospice care for babies and children in Oxfordshire and surrounding areas.
Frugi, which means fruits of the earth in Latin, is a Cornish-based ethical children’s clothing and accessories company that is recognisable by its bright prints and clever details. Frugi’s ethos has always revolved around giving back, especially to environmental charities and those that are focused on children. Each year, Frugi commits 1% of its yearly turnover – whether it makes a profit or not – to charity through its Little Clothes BIG Change initiative. It is a crucial part of Frugi’s wider mission to help protect the planet we all play on.
In November 2020 Eunice Keightley, now aged three, and her mum Tracy from Broughton, Milton Keynes, were going through a particularly stressful time with Eunice suffering from many difficult symptoms and multiple hospital appointments. As a result, Dr Sprinz contacted Frugi to see if they might send a few dresses, pyjamas, and socks to Eunice to help cheer her up.
Eunice first started coming to Helen & Douglas House in early 2020 when she was two years old and showed early signs of scoliosis in her spine. A subsequent MRI and biopsy confirmed she had a tumour on her spinal cord. Eunice started 18 months of chemotherapy and at the same time started visiting Helen & Douglas House initially for pain management and now for supportive stays at the hospice in Oxford. Eunice has complex pain because of her scoliosis and the complication of the tumour that sits on her spine. She requires care day and night and the only time her mum Tracy can get any respite from her round-the-clock care is during their visits to Helen & Douglas House.
Dr Sprinz got in touch with Frugi because their clothes are distinctive, and she immediately spotted that Eunice was wearing a Frugi outfit during one of their visits. Learning about ‘Frugi Fairies’ from the brand’s website, a generous gesture where Frugi gifts UK families experiencing difficulties, she emailed a request for Eunice to receive some clothes, which were gladly received.
Dr Sprinz was also made aware of Frugi’s charity initiatives through the Little Clothes BIG Change programme. She said:
“We applied, and they have now awarded us with £10,000, which is truly amazing! This money will be used to fund supportive stays for more children like Eunice in the future and will make a huge difference to so many families facing similar challenges.”
Eunice’s mum Tracy Keightley is so appreciative of the incredible work by Helen & Douglas House. She said:
“It is like a giant playroom! There’s enough space for Eunice to not feel ‘contained’ and enjoy arts and crafts, painting and the therapeutic pool. Despite her complications, Eunice is a very determined and smiley child. She is non-verbal and autistic, but copes incredibly well with the pain she suffers because of her conditions.”
As Eunice’s full-time carer, Tracy barely sleeps at home because she needs to be on call day and night. The visits to the Family Flats at Helen & Douglas House provide a much-needed break for Tracy and a chance to have time to herself, including a restful night’s sleep.
“We are not sure about Eunice’s life expectancy, but without Helen & Douglas House our family would struggle to cope with her pain management and care. The supportive visits to the hospice give us a chance to get the care and support we need; I don’t think we would have coped without them.”
This year Frugi is proud to have hit its £1 million to charitable causes milestone, which means that the brand has sold over £100 million worth of organic clothing since its inception in 2004, ensuring it is giving back through its supply chain as well. 85% of Frugi’s products are made using GOTS certified organic cotton. This means the fabric is entirely traceable and ensures that the workers are treated fairly; it is also better for the environment by using less water.
Frugi also supports Eco-Schools and LEAF to help create change and inspire the next generation of eco-heroes by encouraging kids to improve their environment both at school and in the local community.
CEO Sarah Clark said:
“Being able to give back to children in need like Eunice is what our charity programme was set up to do and I’m personally moved to learn about this donation’s direct impact. Frugi’s mission is to reach out and help more vulnerable children all over the UK as our charity initiatives continue to expand.”