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Sunday, 25 October 2020


Charity urges supporters; Don’t forget to Remember Rockinghorse

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Rockinghorse Children’s Charity is urging their supporters, old and new, to ‘Remember Rockinghorse’ in their new campaign.

Since March Rockinghorse, the official fundraising arm of the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton, have seen fundraisers supporting the charity whilst in lock-down across Sussex.

However, just when it felt like there was some light at the end of the tunnel in terms of being able to organize a program of fundraising events throughout the county, the new ‘Rule of 6’ has seen the cancellation or re-postponement of the vast majority of events planned for the last few months of 2020.

Due to these postponements, Rockinghorse is now finding it increasingly challenging to organize any of their usual money-raising activities which would normally account for a large proportion of their annual budget.

The ‘Remember Rockinghorse’ campaign aims to remind people to continue to support the charity, so they are able to carry on the invaluable work they do for thousands of babies and children across the county. Without ongoing support, the charity will find it increasingly difficult to provide the life-saving equipment and services they are best known for.

Equipment such as paediatric ventilators that helped Theo Gartside survive. Three-year-old Theo, from Worthing, was born in 2016 but at only 18 months old developed cold-like symptoms and a high temperature that wouldn’t drop.

Theo with Mike and May

His mum May explains more:

“Like many young children, Theo developed coughs and sneezes, but this was different. He became so hot that he wasn’t breathing properly, and we had to call an ambulance. They rushed him into the HDU and put him onto one of the ventilators as he was so congested that he couldn’t breathe on his own.

“That machine was the only thing that could keep his lungs open and breathing properly as he just didn’t have the strength in his muscles to breathe for himself. Without it, he would have had to be airlifted to London or Southampton and might not have pulled through.”

It turned out that Theo was battling three separate infections, all quite common on their own but difficult to fight off all together, especially when you’re so young. After three days on the ventilator and a course of anti-biotics, Theo gradually came round, to the great relief of May and Mike.

May continued:

“There is absolutely no doubt in our minds that Rockinghorse saves lives. If they hadn’t donated that ventilator, Theo might not still be here with us. You never know when you might be in a position to need this kind of help and the support that Rockinghorse provides certainly doesn’t go unnoticed.”

So, the charity is urgently asking their supporters to ‘Remember Rockinghorse’ and help in any way they can. This could be anything from holding a garage sale, setting up a Facebook fundraiser in place of a birthday party, or taking on a challenge like stopping drinking or smoking for a month.

If you want to fundraise at your school, why not give your teacher a rest by having a sponsored silence? Or you could arrange a ‘Wear Red for Rockinghorse’ day or a sponsored ‘Read for Rockinghorse’ to see how many books your class can read over a set time. 

For business owners, there are lots of ways to offer support. If you’re a fitness instructor you could hold an online class with the profits coming to Rockinghorse, your company could set up their own Just Giving page or Rockinghorse could provide you with a branded collection tin to leave in your shop or office.

Rockinghorse CEO, Ryan Heal, is keen to encourage people to think about what they can do to help, he said:  

“We are always amazed at the ways people find to raise money for us; their creativity is boundless! But we also recognize that we are all currently in a situation that most of us have never and will never experience again. Life certainly is challenging but it’s exactly at times like this that we need people to remember us.

“We aren’t a big charity; we don’t get any government support and we weren’t one of the charities to benefit from the recent £750m Government funding package. Our calendar of events has vanished and at the moment we have no idea when this will resume so we are asking the local community throughout Sussex to think of us at this challenging time.

“Whatever you can do, however small, every single penny makes a difference. We want to continue to help more families like Theo’s who may suddenly find themselves in need of life-saving support. That’s what we do best. And that’s what we will continue to do with your help.”

So, if you have a brilliant idea to raise some funds, just ‘Remember Rockinghorse’! You can find out more about the campaign and other ways to raise money on the Rockinghorse website at: www.rockinghorse.org.uk or to speak to the charity about how they can support your ideas, call: 01273 330044 or email them at: enquiries@rockinghorse.org.uk

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