A new charity to support the families of sick children has been launched, inspired by the short life of a manufacturing company boss’ own daughter.
The Olivia Mae Foundation has been set up by Pamela Petty, Managing Director of Newton Aycliffe firm Ebac, with the first fundraising ball scheduled to take place in June. The aim of the charity is to support families during difficult periods when a child is ill in hospital.
Olivia Mae, the daughter of Pamela and her husband, Richard, who live in Bishop Auckland, died in the Summer of 2007, aged nine and a half weeks, as a result of Primary Pulmonary Hypertension. Seven and a half weeks of Olivia’s life were spent in the Freeman Hospital, in Newcastle.
The charity ball will take place at Crook Golf Club, Crook, County Durham, on June 15th.
While tables are already fully booked, thanks to strong support from family and friends, donations of raffle prizes and items for a “money can’t buy” auction are being sought.
Pamela said: “The Olivia Mae Foundation has been set up to help families who are struggling to cope with the difficulties which can arise when a child is in hospital with an illness. These can be simple ways that help them to keep their family together throughout such difficult times, including practical support, such as helping with travelling costs.
“We felt it was important to use our loss as a spur to do something which would support other families. Illness doesn’t discriminate. It can affect any family, regardless of any social or economic factors, so dealing with periods when people have to do a lot of travelling to and from hospitals or spending time apart can be very trying.
“The Olivia Mae Foundation will initially focus its support on the Freeman Hospital, because we have a strong emotional tie to its PICU (paediatric intensive care unit) as a result of the way they looked after us. However, the future may well see us able to expand the ways we can help people in these situations.
“We have received a lot of support to this point and my sister, Amanda, and our colleague, Graham Currie, are trustees of the charity alongside myself, while a lot of friends and family have been very keen to attend our ball. However, support is always needed for any charity, so donations for the raffle and auction would be very gratefully received.”
Anybody wishing to donate a raffle or auction prize can e-mail [email protected]