As Acorns Children’s Hospice launches its annual Make a Will Month this October, it’s more important than ever that people make sure their wishes are known. Mum Sarah Bentzen, whose son Ethan receives care from Acorns hospice in Birmingham, explains why she signed up to the scheme and how drawing up a Will has given her valuable peace of mind.
Being a first-time mum can be daunting for any parent, but when Sarah’s son Ethan suffered a catastrophic stroke during delivery her world changed forever.
It took another three months for doctors to discover its true impact, when a scan revealed half of Ethan’s brain had been affected. He has since been diagnosed with Lennox Gastaut Syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy which means he requires 24-hour care.
Sarah said: “They were quite amazed Ethan had survived. Nobody could tell us what would happen with him because in theory he shouldn’t have been with us.”
Sarah and her husband Kerry knew their lives would never be the same and with both having very small families, additional support would prove vital.
The couple found a lifeline in Acorns Children’s Hospice.
Despite their initial fears that it would be an ‘unhappy place and a sad place’, it proved anything but and the family began their journey with Acorns after Ethan turned four.
“I was really surprised with what a happy place it was,” Sarah said. “I thought it would be sombre and grey and it’s not – it’s colourful and bright. Everybody is so lovely and it’s a home from home and they make it feel like Ethan is really important.”
Ethan visits Acorns in Birmingham for short breaks, which helps to reenergise both Sarah and Kerry, enabling them to ‘recharge our batteries’. It also gives Ethan, now 14, chance to spend time away from mum and dad and with other young people.
“Acorns makes a huge amount of difference,” Sarah explained. “We don’t receive any support from anybody other than Acorns. It’s literally just me, Kerry and Kerry’s mum caring for Ethan.
“We rely on Acorns. Without Acorns we’d be exhausted – I don’t think we could do it without them.”
As the parents of a child with complex care needs, Sarah and Kerry are all too aware of how uncertain the future is and the emergence of a new threat in coronavirus has served only to reinforce its unpredictability.
Which is why Sarah and Kerry are grateful to have peace of mind in the form of a professionally drawn up Will.
Even before the pandemic, the couple knew it was important to have their wishes known, especially when it comes to Ethan and his care.
And with the help of Acorns and its annual Will writing scheme, they were able to spell out their wishes and support a charity that has given them so much by making a voluntary donation upon its completion.
Sarah said: “We needed to make sure Ethan would be okay if something were to happen to the both of us. If he does reach adulthood, he will need support throughout his life.
“Acorns Will writing scheme was win win because we knew it would benefit Acorns and we would have our Wills done. It gives us great comfort knowing that if the worst were to happen our wishes for Ethan are written down, especially during this coronavirus outbreak.”
Acorns has partnered with selected law firms from across the region help people save money and plan for the future through its annual Will writing scheme.
Running throughout October, Acorns Make a Will Month is offering supporters the chance to get their wishes in writing with a suggested donation of £90 for a basic single Will and £130 for a basic joint Will.
The charity has been at the forefront in the battle against coronavirus, providing children’s hospice care and support to the most vulnerable families and has been coordinating deliveries of food and essentials to isolated families during the height of the crisis.
It costs the Acorns,
which cares for families from across the West Midlands, almost £11 million
every year to continue – the bulk of which comes from donations and
To learn more about how Acorns can help you write your Will, visit acorns.org.uk/make-a-will-month
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.
- It costs £27,000 every day 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 www.acorns.org.uk
- To find out how Acorns has responded to the current coronavirus pandemic, please visit acorns.org.uk/coronavirus