There's no more urgent need than a child facing life-threatening illness
WHAT is your darkest fear? Close your eyes now and picture it. Can you see it? The worst agony you can imagine? Now imagine something far worse….."
These words from Harlan Coben's novel Darkest Fear remind me of the time when our daughter Yvette was diagnosed with aplastic anaemia, a serious, life-threatening illness. One day she was a bright bubbly ten-year-old who did not seem to have a care in the world, the next day we were told that she was so ill that she may even die. Our darkest fear? No, far worse.
What followed were six years of struggle, pain and bravery. Yvette's illness could have been cured by a bone marrow transplant but sadly in that six-year period no suitable donor was found. Yvette died two years ago on Saturday, May 29, 2010, aged 16.
On this sad anniversary I wish to add my support to the Wallace and Gromit's Grand Appeal Children's Cancer Appeal.
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We are very fortunate here in Bristol to have such a first-class specialist children's hospital.
The doctors, nurses and support staff work so hard to try to treat our children and make them better again.
At times their work is truly very difficult and decisions have to be made that most of us cannot even contemplate.
My memories of the staff are of compassion, kindness, professionalism and caring.
We should be proud of our children's hospital and grateful for the wonderful work that they do.
But more and better facilities are needed to support children and their families as they confront their darkest fears as their children face serious illness, cancer and even the prospect of a bone marrow transplant.
At such desperate times it is not just the patients but the families too that need support. And this wonderful appeal addresses both needs.
I urge the people of Bristol and beyond to continue the fantastic tradition of giving and to support this appeal as you have supported previous appeals.
We are going through hard times I know. I have not been in paid employment myself for several months. But can there really be a more pressing need than the children and their families who face such dreadful and traumatic situations? We can always find a way to help – if we want to
Most of us will never have to face our darkest fear, and certainly not something far worse. I have done so, and I am proud to support the Children's Cancer Appeal and I ask you to do so too.