30 November 2018

Aleisha's Story - You can be a Helping Hand


Aleisha turned to Cholmondeley Children’s Centre in her time of need and despite her on-going stresses, she has graciously agreed to share her story to show you just how vital your support is to children like Asten.

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A family crisis won’t stop because its Christmas, and neither will our demand from families whose children desperately need regular short-term respite care. This year, Cholmondeley Children’s Centre supported 500 children and the demand for our service continues to grow.

Hi Arron Perriam here, CEO of Cholmondeley Children's Centre. 

This year Cholmondeley Children’s Centre supported 500 children who needed short-term and emergency respite care, when their families were experiencing genuine stress and crisis. The reality is that any family can be faced with difficult times and tough realities to cope with, where they may need extra help and support. With your help, we can continue to provide children like Asten with a place to just be a child. All children should be able to play, experience new things, and build friendships in a safe and nurturing environment.

Aleisha turned to Cholmondeley Children’s Centre in her time of need and despite her on-going stresses, she has graciously agreed to share her story to show you just how vital your support is to children like Asten.

Aleisha is a committed young mum. Despite challenges in her own life, she wants the best for her children. As a child Aleisha remembers climbing trees at school, running around, and playing games with her friends. But she started to get clumsy.

“I’d fall over, and one day I wet myself at school and was sent to the sick bay. I came home, my Nan put a blanket around me and went to make dinner. After that, everything went blank. I woke up in a hospital bed. I was scared and unable to move the right side of my body. After three months of tests and on-going treatment, the doctors put it down to a stroke.”

I can’t imagine how terrifying this all must have been for Aleisha. She spent her childhood trying to regain the use of her right side and trying to learn how to walk again. She faced huge emotional and social challenges.

“I lost my school friends because I looked different, I lacked confidence and I learnt to live with my head held down. I had to deal with all of this while being moved around family members because my mum was unable to care for me.”

When family members couldn’t care for Aleisha, she came to Cholmondeley Children’s Centre with her two brothers for regular short-term respite care. Twenty-five-years ago years ago Cholmondeley was as important to Aleisha and her brothers as it is to her son Asten today. Aleisha is now 31-years-old and uses a wheelchair full-time, but she hasn’t let it define her. She now has her own beautiful family.

 “I’m a solo Mum with four children, trying to do my best, with what I’ve got. Raising children when you have a disability is a challenge. I sometimes deal with insensitive questions, whispering or staring from strangers, it just adds to the stress. Any Mother will tell you that being a Mum is hard work, but it’s incredible, it gives me hope.”

Asten has regular respite care at Cholmondeley and its making a positive difference in his life. Aleisha told me he recently came home from his stay telling her about playing outside with his friends, which she loves to hear because at home he always wants to be on the Xbox. Asten also gets to join in with activities that Aleisha can’t do and he’s even trying new foods!

“He’s coming home a happy boy who loves to talk about all of the new friends he’s made. Cholmondeley was there for me as a child and is now helping Asten. I love that Asten gets to be a typical 8-year-old, running around and burning off all that energy, and what a wonderful place to do it in!”

I hope you see what a difference it makes for children like Asten to come to Cholmondeley Children’s Centre.  Your support can give children the care they need away from home. A break, a chance to relax and just be a kid. Our service offers short-term respite care during difficult times in their life - providing nutritious meals, fun activities, on-going education, and a warm bed during their stay. There are opportunities for making friends, trying new activities and creating memories, while challenging themselves and building their confidence.

Asten came to Cholmondeley and was very quiet boy. He would often play by himself or curl up on a beanbag to watch a movie. After a couple of visits, Asten has settled in and we have seen a positive difference in his character. He walks around the centre with a cheeky wee grin on his face. He is an independent boy who has made friends easily and shows real enthusiasm when it comes to activities, like basketball and getting involved with meal times in the kitchen.  These positive changes in Asten have been made possible thanks to you and your continued support. Without your help, we simply would not be able to support children in Canterbury during times of family stress or crisis.

On behalf of Aleisha and all of the families and children we support at Cholmondeley. Please give a child the opportunities that every child deserves, and together we can make a difference. We know that not all children need the same things, but every child deserves an opportunity to reach their full potential.

Thank you for your compassion and support.

Kind regards,

Arron Perriam 

Chief Executive

PS: To find out how you can help children in your community like Asten, please get in touch with our fundraising team today. Email Tanya@cholmondeley.org.nz or call 03 329 9832.