As we head into our first full week on lockdown, it’s more important than ever to keep our minds and our bodies occupied. And now, thanks to LauraLynn, Ireland’s Children’s Hospice, there’s a way you can do just that while raising vital funds for sick children and their families.
This month, LauraLynn are encouraging people to join their “3,000 Press Ups in April” challenge. The challenge will see people across the nation get fit while completing the daily exercise in their home.
It’s up to you how you would like to tackle the task; you can start on a low number like 30/40 per day and then work your way up. Or, if you like to keep things simple, aim for 100 a day.
If you’d like to get involved, it couldn’t be easier. Simply head over to the LauraLynn Facebook page and wait for the pop-up prompt that will show you how to set up a Facebook fundraiser.
Once you’re set up, you’re ready to get started and you will even receive a beautiful sponsorship pack complete with a t-shirt, personal tracker and letter from LauraLynn Fundraising Executive Cathy.
If you need a little motivation, you can join the 3,000 Press Ups in April Facebook group where people will be sharing their progress and offering support.
You could challenge your family, your work colleagues or even your friends. During these uncertain times, it’s important that we pull together and connect with each other in meaningful ways. The money raised will support some of the vital work that LauraLynn does.
“LauraLynn is the only children’s hospice in Ireland,” explains Sarah O'Callaghan, the charity’s head of marketing and communications. “We provide hospice and palliative care to children with life-limiting conditions and to their whole family. In hospice care, there is recognition that it’s not just the child with the life-limiting condition who is affected by their condition; it ripples through the whole unit. Our supports and services are designed with the whole family in mind.”
Their services and supports range from music therapy to crisis cover to dedicated end of life care.
“We provide routine short breaks here in our hospice,” she explains. “We also provide nursing support in the home. We have family supports too. These are a range of psych-social supports that we provide to the child but also the rest of the family.
“Often parents spend their lives acting as physiotherapists and doctors,” Sarah states. “Siblings are also impacted in their own lives. We have play therapists and music therapists. We have a chaplain. We have physiological supports and counselling. They are extended to the whole family unit. ”
The greatest gift LauraLynn gives families is the opportunity to just be together, without the stresses and strains of dealing with an illness.
“We enable parents to be mum and dads,” she explains. “The moment we step in we take on that role of managing the medical needs, feeds and changing. When parents come here or we support them at home, that to-do list is almost absorbed by LauraLynn. Mum and dad become mum and dad again instead of acting as their child’s doctor or nurse. It enables them to have that family time.”
Like many charities, LauraLynn have had to adapt their services as a result of Covid-19.
“We’re very conscious that our families are experiencing social isolation,” explains Sarah. “We’ve been looking at how we can continue to provide care and support in innovative ways.”
“We have suspended our regular routine breaks but we are continuing to provide crisis care. Where the primary career of a child is unable to care for them due to Covid-19 or extreme exhaustion, we will be providing crisis care support here in the hospice. It’s really important that we can be there as much as possible for our families.
“For our family supports, we are moving into virtual supports. Some of our music therapy will happen remotely through Skype. We have put in place regular calls with our families. We’re checking in, having chats and just keeping our families feeling connected to the outside world.”
However, this vital work is only achievable thanks to funding.
Unfortunately, the hospice receives no dedicated government funding. As a result of Covid-19, the team have had to postpone many of their most important fundraisers which will have a knock-on effect on their 2020 target of €4.6 million.
“We get a lot of support from the community,” explains Sarah. “People usually hold events or take part in the mini marathon, for example. All of those things have been postponed. This Saturday would have been the LauraLynn Heroes Ball which is one of our main events, that’s been postponed. Fundraising basically supports 86pc of the operational costs of the hospice service.”
Thankfully, the team have found new and innovative ways to get the public involved such as the 3,000 Press Ups in April challenge.
“We have kicked off a challenge which is hopefully going to help a lot of people who are at home during this time. People are committing to doing 3,000 press-ups in aid of LauraLynn and they’re creating Facebook fundraisers. It’s really wonderful. ”
If you would like to take part, visit the LauraLynn Facebook page here or donate online today.