Volunteer Stories 

First hand accounts of why our volunteers do what they do for Lagan's Foundation. 

Julie_Rees.jpg

Julie Rees: Family Liaison Officer formally a Home Support Volunteer 

I have a daughter with dilated Cardiomyopathy – diagnosed at 6 weeks old and now 21 years old. She has a pacemaker and ICD fitted and is relatively well although is frequently tired and suffers low blood pressure and heart rate due to medication she has to take. My sister saw Carren’s Facebook plea for volunteers and sent it to me saying “this has your name written all over it”! I applied and went on a training day at Alder Hey hospital on 12 July 2013. My first visit with my family was on 30 July 2013 – Mum April and baby Wyatt Andrews who was born with ToF. My first few visits were to their home and I was able to spend time chatting and getting to know the family and having lovely cuddles with Wyatt. I helped out by playing with Wyatt’s two older siblings whilst mum got some housework done and April quickly became a good friend – she is always interested in hearing about my own family and particularly my heart daughter. Unfortunately, Wyatt became quite poorly and by the end of August he had been admitted to their local hospital and then transferred to Alder Hey. All of my visits since then have been hospital based. April and Wyatt have been living at Alder Hey ever since. April, and the rest of the family when they can be together, have a room in McDonald House so that she can be on hand for Wyatt. If the other children were with her on my visits I would take them to the play room on the ward to give Mum a break and some time with Wyatt, sometimes Mum was able to go and get a coffee knowing that I was at Wyatt’s bedside and the nurses on hand if needed. Other visits I have just sat in the cafe and had a coffee with Mum if she just needed to talk and we’d go for a walk outside. I have learned so much about myself and about different heart conditions and treatments. Wyatt also has a feeding ‘peg’ which is something we were shown at the training day but my daughter had never needed. When Wyatt gets back home I will have some extra training, if needed, so that I can understand his complex needs. I was quite nervous about my inexperience with these more complex heart and feeding issues but I have always felt supported by Lagan’s Foundation team and his Mum – I am never left alone without either Wyatt’s Mum being in the house or his nurses being on hand in the hospital . I have grown in confidence and can see how my time with them makes a difference. As a Mum of a child with a heart condition I can empathise with worries, anxiety and fears and appreciate the value of just having someone to talk to and a helping hand for a few hours each week. I have also made some wonderful new friends and have been inspired by the Lagan’s Team members particularly. Lagan’s Foundation makes a difference – I am proud to be a part of that!

Update : From January 2015 Julie has been promoted to Family Liaison Officer, ensuring all families have an avenue of communication with a caring and compassionate member of the team. 

Sharon Davis1.jpgSharon Davis, Volunteer and now Trustee

When I had my daughter in 1999, we had no idea she had a CHD. When someone finally listened to me,  we started our rollercoaster journey! We didnt know anybody else who had done this, No one knew what we were feeling! We were alone, scared and totally isolated! We learnt to live with all of Ciarras difficulties! CHD, Microcephaly, Epilepsy, GDD, Non verbal, totally incontinent. At 7yrs old Ciarra decided she wasnt eating anymore, that was a whole new journey! Suddenly a page popped up on my Facebook, Lagans Foundation. I joined the page, Although Ciarra was now 11, Maybe I could help others? My younger children were in full time school so I decided to volunteer! I filled in forms, did a training course, did everything I could so I could go help others. Within 6 months of completeing my course I was helping 4 families within my area. All had different issues! 2 families moved on quite quickly and decided they didnt need my support. But 2 others I have now been with for 2 yrs!! On top of that Carren asked for help with some admin, I jumped at the chance to do more! She also asked me if I would consider being a Trustee!! What an honour to be considered for this!
I love my families and have seen a considerable difference in the children AND the parents I have been with! To be accepted by these people and to have the honour of helping them through surgeries, appointments, or just to play with the kids is great. I am part of their family and they are part of mine!
When Ciarra died unexpectedly I received a lot of support back from my families! Although her date of death is 12/01 I am convinced it was 11/01 which is also Lagans Birthday.
 I am tied to this Charity inexplicably! 

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Head Office: 01204 468300

Home Support & Volunteer Enquiries: 07726 298214

Fundraising Enquiries: 07486 313296