Rachael & Elizabeth’s story…
Rachael, 13, has Sickle Cell Anaemia. At risk of ‘sickle cell crisis’, Rachael can experience severe pain and fatigue which makes it difficult for her to go to school, or keep up with her schoolwork at home.
Rachael’s mother, Elizabeth, had once worked at Marks & Spencer and approached the Fashion & Textile Children’s Trust (FTCT) seeking help to purchase much-needed items for the family.
Elizabeth told us: ‘Due to Rachael’s condition, she can spend up to 2 weeks in hospital at any one time and takes a lot of medication. Because of the fatigue she doesn’t make it to school much, so needed a laptop in order to keep up with her schoolwork. Also, Rachael didn’t have a stable bed. She had to sleep on a mattress on the floor which severely affected her sleep. To add to this, our washing machine had broken down and we had to hand-wash our clothes!
‘When she took ill it became hard for me to continue working for M&S. It was a struggle staying at Rachael’s bedside at hospital, taking her siblings to school and picking them up. It was all becoming too much to bear, so I decided it would be best to stop work to concentrate on her and her siblings.
‘Thankfully I heard about the Fashion & Textile Children’s Trust through Rachael’s consultant at Evelina London Children’s Hospital. When I contacted FTCT I was feeling hopeful as I knew that even if we couldn’t get everything we needed, they would try and help us with something. It was great to know that there are people out there willing to help and make our lives a little easier.
‘The grant has made a lot of difference. Rachael now sleeps on a bunk bed that she shares with her younger sister and gets much better sleep. The laptop has been terrific as she is now able to access her work online and keep up with her peers. Also, the grant covered the cost of a washing machine so I don’t have to wash clothes by hand anymore!
‘If the grant hadn’t been awarded I wouldn’t have been able to afford to buy Rachael a bed and laptop. She would be continuing to find it difficult to sleep and complete her schoolwork. All I can say to other parents in a similar situation is – go for it! FTCT is a great charity that goes the extra mile to meet your needs.
We are very grateful for the helping hand that FTCT has given us. God bless you all for helping my daughter. Life is, and will continue to be, a little easier.
*Names and photographs may have been changed to protect identities