Reuben’s Retreat is and will always be our ‘Forever Client.’ We don’t like to use the word client as we work with the North West charity on a voluntary basis. Here Lianne explains the connection to Reuben’s Retreat and the reasons for our support. Please take a little time to visit their website, we are sure you will be as inspired as we are:
‘I met Nicola Graham in September 2010 when my daughter Ava and her son Isaac were at pre-school together. Nicola had just given birth to a beautiful baby boy, Reuben and I was due to give birth to my second child in the November. With a shared sense of humour and our growing families, we bonded immediately and by the time Charlotte arrived on 9th November we were firm friends. We spent a lot of time together while our elder children were at pre-school, Reuben always laid back and smiley, was endlessly fascinated by Charlotte’s wailing and frowny face, happily letting her sit in his rocker or sharing his toys – and food, he loved food!
In August 2012, when we were looking forward to our youngest starting pre-school themselves, Reuben fell ill while on a family holiday to Devon. Rushing him to hospital, Nicola and her lovely husband Mike were devastated to be told that x-rays had shown Reuben had a brain tumour. He was immediately airlifted to a children’s hospital in Bristol where he was cared for until he tragically passed away in his mummy’s arms on 21st August. Reuben was just 23 months old. During his two weeks in hospital, Nicola constantly texted with updates and as was typical of her she always erred on the positive – lots of times I think to protect others rather than herself. Because Reuben’s cancer was so aggressive, his parents were unable to donate his organs, something that had comforted the family when they knew there was no hope for their little boy. Nicola was determined that Reuben’s death would not be in vain and inspired by the care she received at the hospital and by CLIC Sargent, Reuben’s Retreat was born.
Nicola promised to raise £1million in 23 months to fund the beginning of Reuben’s Retreat. Reuben’s Retreat will be a place where families with children with terminal or life-limiting illnesses can go to relax, recharge and build memories. It will also act as a bereavement centre for families. Despite tremendous grief, Nicola, with the help of family and friends, smashed her initial target and the Retreat was purchased in April 2014. While dealing with her MISS, Nicola co-ordinated all manner of fundraising activities including the ReuBUNathon – cake making galore (Reuben loved cake!), head shaves, mountain climbs, specially commissioned artwork and hundreds taking part in the Manchester 10K in support of a charity that’s captured everyone’s heart.
The first phase of Reuben’s Retreat – the bereavement centre will open in Summer 2015. Since its launch, the charity has evolved in many ways and now offers respite breaks for families as well as support for bereaved mummies. Please visit www.reubensretreat.org or visit the Facebook page for regular updates www.facebook.com/ReubensRetreat The charity still needs to raise a lot more funds to open every phase of the Retreat and help more families.
Nicola is one of my best friends and the most inspirational mum I have ever met. I will always lend my support in whatever capacity I can. Together with Shona Nutter, a fantastic freelance PR who also volunteers, we run the Reuben’s Retreat Press Office and can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org.