ANOTHER £4,480.10 has been given to East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) in memory of Samantha Desborough.
Samantha, known more affectionately as Sammy, was diagnosed with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy when she was six months old. She died in April 2014, but her memory has been kept well and truly alive by family and their close friends who have since raised thousands of pounds for EACH. At the end of Sammy’s life, her family used EACH’s hospice in Milton.
Among the most recent fundraising efforts has been Sammy’s nine-year-old sister, Tyra, asking her school, Hemingford Grey Primary, to hold a non-uniform day. Voluntary contributions raised £346.57.
An annual disco at the Ivy Leaf Club in St Ives, including a photo wall, raffle and plenty dancing, to celebrate what would have been Sammy’s 21st birthday raised £1,765.75.
Becky Thornhill, Sammy’s godmother, managed to raise £1,651.78 by running the Cambridge Half Marathon.
Sammy’s grandfather, Roy, sadly died recently. Collections at his funeral totalled £716.
The new amounts of fundraising mean EACH has now received £18,579.64 from Sammy’s family and friends.
Alison Frear, Sammy’s mum, said:
“My family and I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone that has continued supporting this amazing cause in memory of beautiful Sammy.
“Thanks to Hemingford Grey Primary School, all the children and parents. Thanks to everyone who helped set up the hall for the disco, bought decorations and cakes, collected or donated prizes for the raffle, and ran it on the evening. Particular thanks to the absolutely fantastic Lizzie Bloxham, Graham Buxton and Connor Ruddell for singing. Also to Harry James for all his work, Zoe Ruddell and family for doing an amazing job with food, the staff of the Ivy Leaf Club for allowing us to have the hall and photographer Colin Green – it was so lovely having such amazing pictures taken and I’ve been able to make a great memory photo book that I’ll treasure. Becky, who ran the half marathon, you were so determined to do this and obviously all your training paid off. You smashed it and I’m so proud of you. You’ve always been an amazing godmother to Sammy and a true friend to me.
“The care Sammy received from EACH and the support for family and friends was absolutely amazing. Thanks to EACH’s hospice in Milton our family and friends can reflect on happy memories knowing that my darling daughter was loved and cared for in such a lovely, calm environment. Sammy first went to the hospice when she was five and this was where she passed away, surrounded by all her family and friends. They supported us emotionally and offered ideas to make memory pictures, etc. My daughter Tyra was three at the time her sister passed away and she really didn’t understand what was happening. I was given lots of advice and resources to support her in such a difficult time.”
All the fundraising happened ahead of the COVID-19 outbreak. EACH has restricted visitors to its hospices, closed its shops, stood down volunteers and postponed fundraising events to help the national effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
It is reliant on voluntary donations for the majority of its income, though, so the charity is coming under big financial pressure, forecasting to lose £1.2 million in shop income alone over 12 weeks. It is urging anyone who can support its vital service, providing care for 135 children and young people with life-threatening conditions across Cambridgeshire, as well as therapeutic wellbeing support for almost 100 family members, in addition to hundreds more families across the rest of the region, to donate online at www.justgiving.com/campaign/each-covid19.