THE founder of a highly valued charity who has helped thousands of East Midlands families through tough times has been thanked by senior hospital leaders at University Hospitals of Derby and Burton (UHDB) for 15 years of support.
The me&dee charity was founded by Maria Hanson MBE to give comfort to families where a potentially life-limiting illness has been diagnosed, as well as to create memories for patients receiving end of life care.
It was founded after conversations between Maria and her cousin Delia – the ‘Dee’ in the name – with both women wanting to start a charity which would be easy for people to access the support they need.
Delia sadly died in 2005 and Maria started up me&dee the following year.
Over the past 15 years me&dee has helped thousands of people who have been through UHDB’s hospitals in Derby and Burton through days out, hospital comfort packs including distraction activities for young people and even bespoke gifts such as noise-cancelling headphones for a teenager trying to do her homework while having treatment.
Now the charity will be working with the Bereavement teams at Royal Derby Hospital and Queen’s Hospital Burton to help support families who have experienced the loss of a child, by funding precious memory-makers such as hand and feet casts; cots and prams for families, even for a short time – and soft blankets to provide comfort.
Jill Matthews, Chief Officer of Derby & Burton Hospitals Charity said:
“Over many years the young people and their families treated in our Children’s Hospital have benefitted from a range of support including days out, cuddly toys and comfort packs to make their stay in hospital as comfortable as possible.
“We are delighted with the support me&dee provides and are grateful of their ongoing support to continue to support our children’s teams and bereavement teams across the Trust.”
Kirsty Bowles, a play specialist at Queen’s Hospital Burton who has worked with me&dee for many years, said:
“It is a joy to work with me&dee and we truly appreciate the support they offer. It’s a unique charity. Their support is tailor-made to the family. If there are children and they need a day out, me&dee will make that happen for the family so they can enjoy that day. There is so much that me&dee does for us, it’s hard to put into words. me&dee are always there for us and sometimes we can be looking for something quite unique for a patient on the ward. They always try their best to help, often coming up with an idea that works better than what we originally asked for. Knowing they are a phone call away is wonderful.”
Maria Hanson MBE said:
“It means such a lot to me to be able to mark 15 years of support at UHDB. We have helped thousands of families during that time, sometimes through some very sad times indeed. It’s not uncommon for us to be helping a family and then supporting those who are left through a funeral a short time afterwards.
“Nurses and doctors and managers in hospitals do an incredible job looking after people in need. I want me&dee to be there to help support people in situations where they may not have much comfort. Our comfort packs are there to help families who may have had to rush to hospital without anything, or provide a bit of much-needed support to their children when they are frightened and missing home. I’m delighted to have been able to offer support and look forward to what we will be continuing to do in the future.”
To find out more about how you can sponsor me&dee, please visit: www.meanddee.co.uk.