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Black Country hospice's plea to help it fund an additional day of care this leap year

A Black Country hospice is calling on the public to help it fund an additional day of care this leap year.

Dudley mum Sam Barklam with son Alex

It costs around £30,000 a day to run Acorns three hospices, including one based in Walstead Road, Walsall, and people are being urged to help by making a donation, creating their own fundraiser or supporting its work.

Acorns chief executive Trevor Johnson said: “Our children’s hospice care never takes a day off. The reassurance that we are here for children and families whenever they need us provides genuine comfort. Leap years are no different.

“For Acorns, this means we must raise an additional day’s funding to deliver our specialist care and support.

"We only can be there for families with the help of our local communities. So, please, make your extra day count this leap year, you’ll be helping us make sure our lifeline care never stops.”

Acorns Children’s Hospice provides specialist palliative care for babies, children and young people with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions and support for their families.

In the past year, the charity has cared for more than 750 children across Birmingham and the wider West Midlands, and almost 1,000 families, including those who are bereaved.

Dudley mum Sam Barklam, who has been helped by Acorns in the past, is backing the appeal.

“I’ll never forget that first visit from Acorns, it was just like an angel was coming to help me," she said.

Dudley mum Sam Barklam with son Alex

For Sam, the visit came at a time when her world was crashing down.

Her own mum had passed away, her marriage was ending, and her baby boy Alex had been diagnosed with a life threatening condition.

“I was just so frightened,” she said.

“Those first 12 months were the worst in my entire life. I don’t know how I made it through.”

Today, Alex is a cheeky and affectionate four-year-old – he loves frogs and frog noises and enjoys watching the neighbourhood dogs going for a walk.

Alex has Smith Lemli Opitz Syndrome, a rare genetic condition, that affects the organs and can cause severe intellectual and behavioural difficulties.

Sam’s referral to Acorns came at the perfect time – she had been going weeks without proper sleep, juggling home life, caring for Alex and looking after young daughter Elisabeth.

Sam said: “I didn’t believe that there were actually people out there that could help me. I genuinely don’t know what I’d have done without Acorns.

"I didn’t know how much longer I would have been able to live like that. They literally lifted me up from rock bottom.”

Sam’s first visit to Acorns in the Black Country was an experience she describes as ‘simply amazing’.

“It just took away all the pressures of the life and gave me a break,” she said.

“It just doesn’t feel like a hospice, and it’s so comforting when you get there. All the staff who work there are amazing, and they’re always so friendly and kind.

“Acorns has helped me in all aspects; emotionally, physically and mentally.

"They got involved when I was at my absolute lowest and was physically and mentally exhausted.

"They just scooped me up and helped get me back on the straight and narrow. They are brilliant."

To help Acorns pay for the extra day this February 29 visit

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