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Helping families to enjoy quality time together

Helping families to enjoy quality time together

As well as being tons of fun for everyone, Elmer’s Great North Parade has a very important job to do – it’s raising vital funds for St Oswald’s Children’s Hospice. The Hospice provides a wide range of services to local children and their families to not only provide quality care, but also to help make special memories they won’t forget! Like the story of Elmer the Elephant, St Oswald’s promotes inclusivity and celebrates diversity, as the children who come to St Oswald’s Children and Young Adults Service are unique and individual, and many have conditions that are complex and rare.

Aaron Armstrong, aged 7 from Gateshead is someone who benefits from St Oswald’s services. He was born with a double hole in the heart and due to this has a range of complexities which has affected his health. Aaron, a bubbly, happy and sociable boy, has a pace maker and a micro valve which help him to have a good quality of life.

Aaron has such complex health needs but as the care is led by nurses at St Oswald’s I feel safe leaving him for the four nights a month he is in the Hospice. He has been going to the Hospice for five years and there is nowhere other than St Oswald’s that he could go.

Aaron's mum, Elaine

His mum, Elaine, tells us more about his condition and how St Oswald’s has been able to support their family:

“Aaron has such complex health needs but as the care is led by nurses at St Oswald’s I feel safe leaving him for the four nights a month he is in the Hospice. He has been going to the Hospice for five years and there is nowhere other than St Oswald’s that he could go.

At St Oswald’s he loves playing with musical instruments, their sensory room, and he really enjoys trips out to swimming. He loves anything active and a bit of rough and tumble!

Although he gets a lot out of his visits and enjoys being with other children when he comes to St Oswald’s, my husband Alan and I get a lot out of it too – we get the chance to sleep! Aaron’s complex needs means that he struggles to sleep so we can be up 12 to 15 times with him on a bad night. When he’s in the Hospice it gives us a bit of time out.

We are really looking forward to going out and about to see all the Elmer’s. We loved the Great North Snowdogs art trail, and we would get Aaron out of his chair for every sculpture so that he could have a closer look!”

Find out more about St Oswald’s Children’s Service

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