SALLY Johnson, a recent speaker at the Rotary Club of Oswestry, touched her audience as she described how she and her husband Stephen had attempted to deal with the death of their 7 year old son Harry in 2014 following a nine month fight with double-hit non-Hodgkin lymphoma by turning this tragic event around to try to help others.
The couple set up a charity, the Harry Johnson Trust, in their little boy’s memory to offer help and support to the children and teenagers and their families, who receive care from the Oncology Teams of the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust which runs Shropshire’s two acute hospitals.
Since it was formed over 3 years ago, the Trust has raised over £200,000 to achieve that goal. Money raised is spent on projects such as Harry’s Hampers which provide the few bits and pieces that a family might need during the first few days in hospital; Harry’s Hugs which enables a patchwork quilt or memory bear to be made from the favourite clothes of a child if they sadly pass away from cancer; Family Fun which provides vouchers so that children can spend time in local restaurants and places to visit with those they love which can be difficult with the financial pressures caused by a parent stopping work to care for the poorly child. The charity even provides treats for youngsters such as trips to the cinema or short-break holidays and even down to providing a family with a gift card for the hospital cafe so they can buy snacks and refreshments.
Sally summed it up: “We support children whenever and however possible, and so we grant ‘wishes’ as requested by hospital staff for individual children whenever we can.”
Oswestry Rotary Club’s Community Chairman Mike Griffiths said: “I could see that all our members were listening closely and asking themselves what they would do in Sally’s shoes. Fortunately, most of us will not have to go through that ordeal but I knew that we all wanted to help so we are grateful to The New Saints FC to allow our Club to carry out a bucket collection at the Irn-Bru Cup semi-final v Dumbarton on the Saturday 17th February to support Harry’s Charity. It is an evening kick off at 7.35pm so we are hoping that the crowds will be generous, as always, in supporting this wonderful cause.”
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