Let’s be honest. When most of us think about a hospice or a person in need of palliative care, we probably envision an elderly person or someone with a severe medical condition who may be dying. We rarely envision children. But sadly, there are many children in Ireland who are in need of specialised care for life-limiting and life-threating conditions. It’s a truly heart-breaking thought to imagine children in a hospice battling cruel diseases and life changing conditions, but for dozens of families around the country it is a reality they have to deal with day after day. But thanks to the remarkable work of LauraLynn, Ireland’s Children’s Hospice, families get the support they need to help make their precious time with their child as fulfilling and normal as possible.

Image Via The Fruit People

LauraLynn’s approach to everything they do is very much holistic and family centred. They know that a child’s condition will impact on the entire family and as such the entire family needs to be involved in the care plan. Their key principles are the support of the child and family together and the focus is very much on providing a quality of life through managing a child’s symptoms, the provision of respite care and continuing care through death and bereavement. The charity also cares for children and young people with intellectual disabilities and while funding is provided by the HSE for those units, LauraLynn House, a dedicated 8 bed children’s palliative care unit and its everyday operations, are funded by the support of their donors.

Image via LauraLynn.ie

And that support is vital in so many ways. It cannot be overstated, that when a child is facing a life-limiting condition, every single moment is precious, so as well as providing care on site, LauraLynn last year launched their LauraLynn@Home programme.  Most parents take on the role of primary carers when their child has a serious life-limiting condition and of course would prefer to have their child at home, surrounded by their loved ones and in their own rooms with their own teddy’s and toys for example. This programme aims to offer support to parents and families by offering regular respite, transitional and end-of-life care and support to the child and family within the family home.

This care and support is essential for families, as is the provision of respite which also gives parents some time to be a ‘Mum and Dad’ rather than just full-time carers. All of LauraLynn services are free to families, so fundraising is crucial.

Image via The Fruit People

We’re delighted to support the work of LauraLynn with an annual donation and in this small way we feel we can help make a difference in the lives of children and families dealing with incredibly difficult circumstances. Of course there are so many ways you can help too and the VHI Women’s Mini Marathon in June is the perfect way to raise funds for LauraLynn and get a bit fitter in the process! If you do decide to run for LauraLynn this year, keep your eyes peeled for us, as we’re also their fruit sponsor for the event! Some of our delicious bananas or zesty oranges could help give you a boost just when you need it to make sure you get over the line! The race takes place on Bank Holiday Monday, 1st June this year in Dublin and you can sign up from 11th February until 17th April.