A mum from Essex has created her own handmade clothing range to raise money in honour of her premature daughter.
Allison Waldock, from Southend-on-Sea, launched her bespoke clothing business ‘Little Delilah’ after her daughter was born 16 weeks early in October 2014.
Determined to turn a frightening experience into something positive, Allison is giving 10% of her profit to The Sick Children’s Trust, who help families to stay with a seriously ill child in hospital.
Defying the odds
“Delilah has defied all the odds that were set against her,” says Allison, 42, “and we are so proud of how far she has come.”
Delilah (now nearly 3 years old) was born at Southend University Hospital at 24 weeks. Weighing just 600g, she was transferred immediately to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital for emergency treatment.
When she was only 28 days old, she underwent major heart surgery at London’s Royal Brompton Hospital after which she was seriously ill.
For two long months, Allison and her husband Jonathan travelled every day to be with their little girl before she was finally allowed to return to the family’s local hospital.
‘Home from Home’ help from The Sick Children’s Trust
The joy of having Delilah closer to home was short-lived, as that night the tiny tot suffered multiple cardiac arrests which left her struggling to survive. She was rushed to The Rosie Hospital in Cambridge where she received further lifesaving treatment. During three further months of treatment, Allison and Jonathan were supported in Chestnut House, which provides free ‘Home from Home’ accommodation, just minutes from their daughter’s bedside.
Run by The Sick Children’s Trust, the house is one of 10 set up across the country to give families a clean, comfortable place to stay that is close to their sick child.
Once Delilah became stronger, she was moved to Addenbrooke’s Hospital’s paediatric intensive care unit (PICU), and Alison and Jonathan were again supported by The Sick Children’s Trust in its Acorn House.
Over the next two months, as the couple prepared to take their daughter home for the first time, Delilah also spent time in Acorn House to help the family adjust to caring for her needs.
Allison says: “Our daughter has had lots of ups and downs but throughout those times we were always supported by The Sick Children’s Trust in its two ‘Homes from Homes’ in Cambridge. Before Delilah was transferred to The Rosie Hospital, for two months I was travelling seven days a week to be with her as there wasn’t any accommodation readily available.
“The difference having a warm, cosy place to go when you’ve had a long hard day on the ward is incredible. Not only are you able to spend every moment with your seriously ill child, but you also become stronger emotionally and physically as you have a ‘home from home’ where you can rest your head, make homemade food – all while being just a few minutes away from your child’s bedside.”
Giving something back
Speaking about her decision to start her own charity-backed clothing range, Allison says that she would like to use the business to make more people aware of the work carried out by The Sick Children’s Trust.
“A few months ago I decided that I would turn my much loved activity of sewing into something in honour of Delilah, where we could give back to The Sick Children’s Trust. And while I hope to build the brand, I also hope to raise awareness of The Sick Children’s Trust as without the support of its ‘Homes from Home’, parents would struggle both financially and emotionally.
“Families with seriously ill children in hospital have enough to worry about. With a charity providing free accommodation it takes one big concern off their shoulders.”
Although the ‘Homes from Home’ accommodation is free of charge, it costs the charity £30 per night to support just one family.
Acorn and Chestnut House Manager, Abi Abdel-aal, commented: “We’re absolutely delighted to hear about Alison’s business venture and how she is generously donating 10% profits to The Sick Children’s Trust. Delilah is an absolute inspiration to everyone at the charity – she has gone above and beyond doctors’ expectations and is a gorgeous little girl. We wish Allison the very best with LittleDelilah.co.uk.”
For more information on Little Delilah clothing range, please visit: www.littledelilah.co.uk
For further information about The Sick Children’s Trust, please visit www.sickchildrenstrust.org