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Santa run returns to raise funds for ‘lifeline’ Acorns Hospice

By Jordan Reynolds | Walsall | Health | Published:

The countdown is on for Acorns' biggest festive fundraiser.

Esme with her mother, Emma Barton, who is promoting the latest Acorns Santa Runs

The Santa Run will take place next month and one mother, Emma Barton, has revealed why signing up to the seasonal event will make a real difference to families like hers.

When Emma found out she was pregnant with her first child, the new mum dreamed of meeting her daughter for the very first time.

But when Esme was born, doctors whisked away her away and Emma’s precious first skin-to-skin moment was "ruined".

It wasn’t until her newborn was handed back to her with a feeding tube, that Emma realised there was a problem.

Esme

Birmingham-based Emma had been told Esme wasn’t hitting the key markers during her pregnancy, but Emma never ever expected what was to come.

She said: “It wasn’t really explained to me. They could clearly see there were facial differences and she was born with hypothermia and hypoglycaemia. She was taken away straight away. It was all downplayed, but it was critical and there was me thinking our amazing skin-to-skin first moment was being spoilt.”

The rollercoaster continued when doctors told Emma that Esme may have a chromosome condition and after an anxious six-week wait the diagnosis was confirmed as partial Trisomy 14. The tests also revealed that Esme has Cri-du-chat syndrome as well as metabolic issues.

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Emma added: “The first year was especially tough as she was ill a lot. She had a lot of infections. Esme is my first child, so I had nothing to compare it to. Esme is profoundly disabled, and it affects all aspects of her life. She is dependent on care givers for absolutely everything.”

Emma hadn’t been aware of Acorns before Esme’s referral. It took some time before she was ready to explore what the charity and its Black Country hospice could offer families like hers.

Esme and Emma

Emma said: “Acorns was initially mentioned to us when Esme was a baby. But at that time it just felt really fatalistic. Partly because it was accepting that her life would be over before it'd really started. I certainly wasn't ready for that.

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“As soon as I walked into the hospice it was obvious that Acorns is about so much more than end of life care. It's about living, where all your preformed ideas are totally blown away. I didn't take any convincing. I just had to get to that stage of needing some support.

“I'm grateful Esme has Acorns and I'm really impressed with the way Acorns has let her grow. Acorns is a place where Esme can come and have happy times and we can have valuable respite. It’s vital for that. Acorns is a real lifeline for the families it supports.”

The event is coming to three locations across the West Midlands for the very first time – it’s Acorns biggest series of Santa Runs yet.

The events, which are taking place at Birmingham’s Millennium Point on December 7 and Walsall Arboretum and The Valley Evesham on December 8, are being held to help Acorns and fund its care and support for families.

Acorns Children’s Hospice provides specialist palliative care for children and young people with life limiting and life threatening conditions. In the past year Acorns has cared for over 780 children and more than 1,220 families, including those who are bereaved.

Tickets for Acorns Santa Run are priced £15 for adults, £10 for children and £5 for dogs. Under Twos are free.

Tickets cover the cost of the event, but every penny raised in sponsorship goes directly to supporting local children and families. Tickets include free entry to a host of visitor attractions, including National Sea Life Birmingham and Thinktank.

To sign up for Acorns Santa Run, visit acorns.org.uk/santa-fun-run

Jordan Reynolds

By Jordan Reynolds
Reporter - @jreynolds_star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star.

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