A Barry-based family who have received over a decade of support from Tŷ Hafan are urging runners to fundraise for the charity at the upcoming ABP Barry Island 10K on Sunday 7 August.
It costs £14,500 a day for Tŷ Hafan to provide their care services, and Laura and Ashley Mellens say they would not be able to function without them.
Blisse Mellens suffers with refractory epilepsy, and experiences prolonged seizures on a daily basis. She was born early at 34 weeks and when she was around four months old her family discovered she had brain abnormalities after suffering her first seizure.
Laura Mellens commented:“We simply would not be able to function without the care that Tŷ Hafan offers us. The tiredness when caring 24 hours a day for a child with complex needs is tough, and the respite that Tŷ Hafan provides is a lifeline for us and others.
“The hospice also delivers a setting where we can improve Blisse’s quality of life and make memories as a family. I’ve lived in Barry my whole life and was always aware of Tŷ Hafan – but never in my wildest dreams did I think that my child would need to use a hospice. It really can happen to anyone.”
The charity prides itself on being there for children with life-limiting conditions and their families for as long as they need it. That includes a strong sibling support service, which helps support the brothers and sisters of children who use Tŷ Hafan emotionally and practically through what at times can be a difficult journey. Offerings such as sibling counselling sessions would not be possible without public fundraising support.
Paula Langston, Head of Community Fundraising for Tŷ Hafan, said: “When you hear about the experiences of families like the Mellens, it really brings it home to me just why Tŷ Hafan exists and why it is so important for so many families with children with life-shortening conditions and their families in Wales. I am thrilled to bits that the Barry 10K is back after a three year break and I hope that as many people as possible will feel inspired by Blisse, Ashley and Laura’s story, to sign up for this much-loved race and raise as much as they can for Tŷ Hafan children’s hospice, so we can continue to keep on providing vital care and support for families like their’s across Wales.”
Matt Newman, Chief Executive of race organisers Run 4 Wales, commented: “We were all really inspired by Blisse, an incredibly brave young girl with a brilliant supportive family. It’s easy to bury your head in the sand when it comes to issues that do not impact us personally, but I don’t think anyone listening to Laura and Ashley share their story could not feel urged to want to support the wonderful work of Tŷ Hafan.
“Having grown up in Barry myself, I’m so proud that Tŷ Hafan, one of Wales’ most beloved charities are once again the lead charity partner of the ABP Barry Island 10K. We are delighted that the event is returning this summer following a COVID enforced hiatus, and hope that lots of runners sign up to fundraise for Tŷ Hafan so lots of money can be raised to support the amazing work they do”.
Discounted spaces in the 10K are available for runners pledging to raise just £50 for Tŷ Hafan. Runners can sign up for just £9.99 and will in return receive a free Tŷ Hafan vest and fundraising pack, training and fundraising advice, a race day cheer squad and an invite to a post-race celebration.