An inspirational dad who lost his son just two weeks before his second birthday has shared his powerful story for a charity Christmas appeal.
Duncan Fewins, from Loxley, near Stratford upon Avon, has shared how at an unimaginable time in his life, without Birmingham based Acorns Children’s Hospice and the charity’s specialist support, it would have been a “completely different story”.
The appeal, which features a striking film of Duncan speaking directly into the camera, aims to raise £63,000 for the charity – equivalent to the amount it costs Acorns to provide care to families during Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Duncan describes the moment his world was turned upside down, and his son Sam was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition: “I remember the consultant looking me in the eye and saying to me, ‘I’m afraid I’ve got some really bad news to tell you. There’s something profoundly wrong with Sam.’
“Your knees buckle. Your heart is pounding. Just the way he looked at me, told me that things had changed.”
Duncan was referred to Acorns hospice based in Selly Oak, Birmingham where he and his family received invaluable respite care and emotional support.
Describing the day he walked into Acorns after Sam’s diagnosis, Duncan says: “As I stepped through the hospice doors that first time with Sam, I immediately knew we were going to be looked after.
“It was a really warm, open place where I felt comfortable straight away. They wrapped around us and looked after not just Sam but me as well.
The support Duncan and his family received from Acorns continued following Sam’s death.
Duncan added: “I didn’t have to worry about breaking down or looking strong. At the point in my life where I was most vulnerable, being at Acorns kept me together. There was always somebody putting a hand on my shoulder, kneeling down beside me and telling me it was ok to be feeling this way.
“It would have been a different story had I not had Acorns in my life at that point.”
Acorns, which this year is marking its 30th anniversary, is currently caring for more than 870 children and over 1,140 families across the West Midlands, including those who are bereaved.
Duncan added: “There are parents out there who I know, are going through similar things. Without Acorns, they would be in a situation where they would be facing that process and that grief entirely on their own.
“That’s why this appeal is so important. And if you can donate to Acorns this Christmas, please donate.”
Lynne Carter, Head of Fundraising at Acorns, said: “We’re so grateful to Duncan for sharing his story for this year’s Acorns Christmas Appeal and for so vividly communicating how vital Acorns care is for families – as we stand beside them from diagnosis to wherever their journey may take them.
“As a charity we rely on money raised through fundraising activities like the Christmas Appeal, so that we can be there for other families in similar situations. This Christmas I hope people will listen to what Duncan has to say and donate, so we can continue to be there for families when they need us most.”
To donate to this year’s Acorns Christmas Appeal, please visit www.acorns.org.uk/christmas
For more information or for interview, photograph or filming opportunities, contact the PR and Communications team:
Notes to editors:
Due to the sensitive nature of Acorns care services it refrains from using the words ‘terminal’ or ‘terminally ill’ in its press releases and public communications when describing the children who use Acorns and the conditions that they have. Instead, Acorns uses the words ‘life limited’, ‘life limiting’, or ‘life threatening’. Acorns kindly requests that you respect this in your communications when referring to Acorns Children’s Hospice. Acorns children have a lot of living to do. Thank you.
- This year Acorns is celebrating its 30th Acorns in Birmingham, Selly Oak was opened in 1988 by HRH Diana, Princess of Wales. Acorns in the Black Country, Walsall opened in 1999 and Acorns for the Three Counties, Worcester opened in 2005. To find out more visit www.acorns.org.uk/30years
- Acorns is currently the UK and the world’s largest children’s hospice charity, as measured by the number of children it is helping to care for.
- It costs nearly £10 million a year to run Acorns services providing care for children and support for their families. The charity relies heavily on donations to fund the majority of its activities.
- To find out more about Acorns, please visit acorns.org.uk