A HOSPICE for terminally ill and disabled children is celebrating 20 years of care this year and is calling on people in Burton and South Derbyshire to help mark the milestone.
Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People first opened its doors in 1994 and over the years, staff and volunteers have supported thousands of children, young people and family members.
To commemorate its birthday, the charity wants to raise an extra £100,000 during the year to help fund more children’s nurses at the Loughborough-based hospice.
Rainbows was founded by Gail and Harry Moore, whose daughter, Laura, died of leukaemia in 1989. Laura’s favourite thing in the world was a rainbow.
The hospice was officially opened in April 1995 by the Prince of Wales and, in 2009, a £4 million extension was built to create a new therapy wing and separate facilities for young people.
Mr Moore said: “It was 22 years ago that Gail and I stood in a field outside Loughborough overlooking the Charnwood Forest.
“This would be an ideal place to build the children’s hospice we said to each other.
“Three years previously, we had lost our five-year-old daughter Laura to leukaemia after three years of treatment, including a bone marrow transplant from her twin brother Kit.
“The journey along the way has not always been easy. It has involved a lot of hard work from a lot of people to develop it into what it is today.
“After 20 years, Rainbows continues to realise its dream with wonderful facilities and palliative care programmes that have been instrumental in both extending the lives of our children, and improving their quality of life.
“Over and above everything however, its success is down to its people and the quality of care they provide to ensure that our children get the best support possible throughout their all too short journey of life.”
Rainbows currently cares for 288 children and young people with life-limiting and terminal illnesses as well as supporting 249 bereaved families and 521 siblings.
Through its outreach efforts into East Midlands paediatric oncology units, Rainbows is also caring for a growing number of the region’s children with cancer.
People in Burton and South Derbyshire can help to support Rainbows by joining in with 20th birthday celebrations which include the Rainbows Great Cake Bake; a ‘do 20 good deeds’ schools’ challenge and business challenge.
There will also be a birthday party for the children and their families, a ball and themed 20th events.
Geoff Ellis, chief executive of Rainbows, said: “Rainbows is continually developing and is now a hospice that is nationally and internationally recognised.
“But none of this would have been possible without the amazing help that Rainbows has received from our supporters in Burton and South Derbyshire during the last 20 years.
“We have a fantastic team at Rainbows but we couldn’t do it without your support and I urge you to help us during what is a very special time for us.”
More information is available by heading online to www.rainbows.co.uk/birthday