Proud to be part of our Family Days

30th May 2018

Meningitis Now's Community Fundraising Manager, Tracey Lee, recently attended one of our Family Days for the first time

Family Day

Here, she tells us about her experience and why she felt proud to be part of the day.

"I joined Meningitis Now in April 2017 following a career managing fundraising teams in other charities."

"My current role is managing the Community and Events Fundraising teams, and we do just that - fundraise through local communities and organised events."

"My experience and my heart is in fundraising, and I am so proud of my team and all that we achieve with our wonderful supporters; but the best thing about working at Meningitis Now is that we are all one big team across the charity, and I get to work directly with our families."

"So, I was delighted to be able to be part of the team for our North Family Day, based in Blackpool at Farmer Parrs Animal World, and organised by Meningitis Now's Support Officer for the North, Chris Hughes. I have three young boys myself so am very familiar with these family-orientated places, and was really looking forward to seeing our families enjoy themselves."

"The sun shone and the families arrived - 13 in total, all with a mixture of meningitis experiences from bereavement to hearing loss, amputations and many others. But despite the differences, it was the similarities that stood out from the first introductions."

"The sharing of stories, the sympathetic listening, the advice built on experience and the friendship and trust that forms only with others who really understand your situation; I truly believe this peer-to-peer support is completely unique to our Family Days, and something we can never put a value on."

"But the day wasn't all about meningitis - it was about fun, it was about new experiences, new relationships and helping each other look to a future where meningitis will always be a part of their lives, but it won’t define them."

"I saw the faces of happy children and their proud parents - I was privileged to be able to play with these children so the parents could have a cuppa and a chat."

"I admired the way our experienced Support team treated each family on an individual basis, and gave them as much time as they needed, to cry, laugh, talk and share."

"A memorable moment for me was when one little boy had a 'meltdown', and his parents took him away from the animals and back to our quiet, private space to calm him and feed him with a feeding pump."

"I spoke to his mum who told me it was so nice to be somewhere amongst friends where she can deal with these situations without being judged, and not having to worry about people staring and wondering why her son is behaving in that way, or why he isn’t eating in a 'normal' way."

"Once he was fed and reassured they were able to re-join the group and enjoy the day. I felt so pleased they were given that safe and comfortable atmosphere to be themselves, and not feel like they had to hide away."

"The Support Officers at Meningitis Now will always use this feedback to shape future events."

"Venues need to be accessible, family friendly, safe, comfortable and most of all fun for the families."

"We can’t change what has happened in the past, but by delivering these fantastic days we can help families in a uniquely wonderful way."

"I really hope to attend other family days in the future and spend more time with the families we support."

The family day was a huge success, with plenty of positive feedback from those attending. Emma Moore from Preston, Lancashire, lost her son George to meningitis when he was just 10 months old. She said, “We had such an amazing day – it was so lovely to see and meet families like us and for the children to all play together.”

“Both the farm and charity staff couldn’t do enough for us and made us feel welcome and looked after all day.”

“The organisation was brilliant and the day was so full of activities that everyone had such a brilliant time.”

“We would definitely recommend family days to other families who just want to spend a lovely day together, but with other people who understand them and can relate.”

For further information on our calendar of Support events please visit our Support Events pages.

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