BROTHERS Bradley and Connor Baker have been fundraising in honour of their mother, as she battles cancer.
They have already raised more than £115 from a sponsored silence and reading challenges, and have a swimming challenge on the cards.
Jeanette Baker, 45, of Highdown Drive, Littlehampton was diagnosed with a brain tumour in March last year. She is being cared for by St Barnabas House hospice in Worthing.
With help from their dad Chris, Bradley, ten, and Connor, eight, have been fundraising to say thank you.
It all started last summer, when the spirited pair met hospice supporter Meriel Hall and she suggested they try doing a sponsored silence.
Jeanette, known as Nettie, said: “They can’t do enough fundraising, it makes me feel so humble for all the hard work and volunteering they do here. I am really proud of my boys for their efforts in raising money for this amazing charity.”
For the swimming challenge, the boys will swim as many lengths as they can at Inspire Littlehampton between now and Easter. Visit www.justgiving.com/ConnorandBradleysSwim to make a donation.
Neighbours in Highdown Drive have also shown Jeanette their support, raising more than £2,500 for St Barnabas House from their annual Christmas light competition.
The initiative started in December 2000, when two neighbours competed by decorating their houses for Christmas. It has now become annual event, with several households, including the Baker’s home, going head to head to create a spectacular lights display and a collection held every night throughout December.
Participants Roy and Rose Spencer said: “We have amazing neighbours and started to collect for a different charity each year, as people visiting the lights would often knock on our doors to give us something.
“This year we wanted to collect funds in honour of our friend and neighbour Jeanette Baker, who is fighting a brain tumour and is being cared for at St Barnabas House.”
Jeanette was not well enough to attend the annual switch-on in November but said: “I am so grateful for all the donations and contributions from our lovely friends and neighbours.”
Hospice staff ensured the family could spend Christmas together, though, with housekeeping manager John Hodges transporting Jeanette home and nursing assistants Ian Hassell, Susan Greco, Marion Nixon and Sandra Smith accompanying her for the two days.
Ian said: “During the six Christmases I have worked at St Barnabas House, there have been some memorable moments and helping brave Jeanette get home to her young family was a real privilege and is a special and happy memory among so many that I will remember from my 14 years working for such as inspiring organisation.”
Jeanette first attended the St Barnabas House In-Patient Unit for a month last July, for respite care, and returned in September when her condition deteriorated.
She was told on October 14 it was unlikely she would walk again but, with support from the physiotherapists, nurses and doctors, she managed to stand a week later.
Doreen Harbour, Jeanette’s mother, said: “The staff are so patient and supportive, and Jeanette was so determined, she is incredibly proud of herself for this amazing achievement. She has since progressed to moving around the ward with the help of the caring nurses and a Zimmer frame.
“St Barnabas House has been a very supportive and positive place for the boys to visit their mum. It doesn’t feel like an oppressive and sad nursing home. The staff have really gone the extra mile to make the quality of Jeanette’s life as fantastic as possible.”
Jeanette has enjoyed attending the Day Hospice since November, after her consultant suggested she ‘go and have fun’.
“I felt a bit shy at first, but just because I didn’t know what to expect,” she said.
“I have had so much fun at the Day Hospice. I enjoy the companionship and camaraderie, and I’ve made some lovely new friends. I have loved the arts and crafts activities.”
The hospice’s Friday afternoon services are important to Jeanette and when she is unable to get up, chaplain Stephen Gurr arranges for her bed to be wheeled across the ward to the chapel.
Chris said: “As a family, we are truly indebted to St Barnabas House and their dedicated staff.
“It has been a great relief for our family to have access to all the services we have needed under one roof, and answers to any questions we have had. We haven’t had to deal with any stressful to-ing and fro-ing at this difficult time.
“The facilities at the hospice are second-to-none. Everything has been considered to improve patients’ quality of life.”
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