Cancer death inspires parents to help 600 families

By Aleisha Scott
Reporter

Published
image copyrightClover family
image captionEvie had suffered severe headaches and had to be airlifted from a family holiday in Spain after she fell ill

A charity set up in memory of a 13-year-old who died from a rare brain cancer has helped more than 600 families.

Evie Clover passed away in January 2018 after being diagnosed with an aggressive glioma tumour.

Patsy and Bryan Clover set up Evie's Gift to help parents of critically-ill children in the first days after they are admitted to hospital.

Mr Clover said it continued a legacy of kindness Evie was known for in life.

The family, from Melksham in Wiltshire, received the diagnosis in October 2017 after Evie had been suffering severe headaches while on holiday in Spain.

She was airlifted to Bristol Children's Hospital where she was diagnosed with the glioblastoma but died just months later.

image copyrightClover family
image captionBryan (left) and Patsy Clover set up Evie's Gift to give financial support to families in the first days after their child is admitted to hospital

Starting out supporting parents at Bristol Children's Hospital, Evie's Gift now covers all children's hospitals in the UK - and has helped 662 families.

It helps parents pay for hotel accommodation, food and travel expenses in the first days after a child is rushed into hospital.

The charity has also donated £10,000 towards brain cancer research.

'Parents often far from home'

Mr Clover said he was determined to help stricken parents after his own experiences in the intensive care unit.

He said: "Many of the critical care units for children have wide regional areas so parents find themselves in a hospital that can be very far from home.

"You have to be rested to understand what the doctors are saying to you so that you can make decisions about your child's life.

image copyrightClover family
image captionEvie's father said the charity continued her own "legacy of kindness"

"We saw parents who were sleeping on sofas, in corridors or kitchens on the unit. When you are rushed to hospital it gets to 10pm at night and you cannot figure out how or where to go.

"Evie's Gift is about removing that pressure - the hospital's liaison team get in touch with us and we take care of the rest.

"We book the hotel for up to three nights, pay for breakfast, parking or travel expenses.

"It's about removing the stress and allowing people to function and do the most important thing - focus on their child."

image copyrightClover family

Mr Clover, who is chief executive of the Rainy Day Trust, said: "Evie spent a lot of time helping other people, Evie's Gift reflects her views on life.

"Any parent that loses a child wants to preserve their child's memory, Evie was an only child so there isn't a sibling to remember her when we are gone.

"It helps me to keep her name out there."

The charity has published a book called Written by the Stars - a story written by Evie when she was 12 about two girls in an enchanted land who overthrow a patriarchal society.

They are also planning a 13-mile virtual walking challenge in May to raise funds.

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