How the Sunflowers Children’s Action Group has brought joy to poorly youngsters in lockdown – Grimsby Live

Posted: April 9, 2020 at 3:48 am

Children with life-limiting illnesses have been receiving parcels of joy to help put smiles on their faces during the coronavirus lockdown, thanks to the Sunflowers Children's Action Group.

Joanne Wright set up the charity in July last year after spotting a gap in the provision of support across the northern Lincolnshire area for children with life limiting illnesses or life threatening conditions.

The handful of unpaid volunteers who work with Joanne, simply wanted to make a difference in the community and the gift parcels have been the charity's way of putting a smile on a child's face during the ockdown.

Joanne said: "Even before the national lockdown, many parents were advised to keep their children at home because of their childrens vulnerability owing to medical problems.

"I was talking to one parent and so wanted to do a little something to show we cared and would help to give a poorly child a surprise.

"We realised that it would be some time before we could do a group event, so the closest thing we could get to that was to do this."

Items in the parcels include sweets and chocolate left over from a Santa's sweet stall - all individually wrapped, still in date and properly stored - along with bags of mini eggs Deebees had previously donated and previously received toys and books.

Each parcel is carefully tailored to the age of the recipient, which currently ranges from three to 16.

Sunflowers has sent out around 60 of these cheery parcels and Joanne said the feedback she has received had been wonderful.

She said: "The children have been thrilled, judging by the reactions that have been posted on our Facebook page.

"I think it really means something to the parents too, that people out there are thinking of them.

"What we have to remember is that although isolation and the current situation brings us all problems. These are families who are largely isolated, struggling and battling to try and keep their children healthy every day of their lives."

Among those to benefit from the initiative is nine-year-old Ethan Meadows, from Keadby, near Scunthorpe.

He has a range of conditions including septo optic dysplasia,diabetes insipidus, pan hypopituitarism and microphaly. He is gastrostomy-fed, registered blind, is non-mobile and non verbal.

His mum Tina said: "Ethan is blind so we opened the box for him, he was really happy with it. It was a lovely thing to send.

"It's nice to know you've got that support - everything is up in the air.

"It's trying to keep the kids entertained as we are out of routine."

Six year old Nathaniel Hodges from Market Rasen, who has Type I diabetes, gave a huge thumbs up to his parcel.

His mum Caroline Hodges said: "He was absolutely over the moon. We didn't tell him, it was a surprise when it came.

"It made his day because we are stuck inside. He liked the car, he wants to build it and said, 'I love it, I can't believe it!'

"They are like angels, they're so thoughtful. We're not in a normal routine so it's tough on him.

"It just brings a bit of sunshine into his day - they're an amazing group.

"We tell him how proud we are but for someone to send something through the post, it's really special. We are very grateful."

Ava Eastwood-Morgan, 4, from Grimsby has AVSD (Atrioventricular Septal Defect) and leaking heart valves, which she had successful open heart surgery for in January 2017.

The people of northern Lincolnshire have been warming hearts with their selfless gestures.

They say challenging times often bring out the best in people and thats what were seeing here inGrimsby,CleethorpesandScunthorpe.

We want to celebrate anybody and everybody who is helping others through the coronavirus outbreak and have set up a special area dedicated to them on our website.

This includes but is not limited to our heroes in the NHS, policing teams, supermarket workers, delivery drivers and cleaners.

Not to forget our wonderful community members who have been helping others out in any way they can! Its a huge thank you to you ALL.

So, click here to view our live blog and if you have something you want to share email paige.freshwater@reachplc.com

However her last heart check up revealed the valve leakage had worsened.

Mum Lottie Eastwood said: "Ava's reaction was absolutely priceless, she was so, so delighted!

"Her face lit up, she was all excitable, giggly and absolutely smitten with her gifts. She received books, teddys, sweeties, a doll and a magnetic drawing board.

" I think the gift parcel idea is brilliant. Families that are going through tough times, or children that have been through lengthy procedures or are awaiting to receive treatment deserve to feel special.

"To know that somebody is thinking about them, taking time out of their day to make sure children receive gift packages is so uplifting.

"One simple act of kindness goes a very long way and I think its important that we all look after each other through the hard times, so a big thank you to all the lovely volunteers at Sunflowers Childrens Action Group for your time and generosity."

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To help Joanne and her team continue their work throughout the year and beyond the pandemic, donations can be made via http://www.justgiving.com/sunflowers-cag

Joanne added: "I think with the current situation we cant set anything in stone, so we are just trying to support our families in our own little way in the meantime."

To get in touch with the registered charity, email hello@sunflowers.org.uk or phone 07597 988809. Alternatively, see http://www.sunflowers.charity or follow @sunflowerslocal on Twitter or Facebook.

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How the Sunflowers Children's Action Group has brought joy to poorly youngsters in lockdown - Grimsby Live

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