by Emily Skiggs
A local Mum wanting to fundraise for Chestnut Tree House is taking on the trip of a lifetime – a trek through Cambodia! Help her raise funds in memory of her son.
Local resident Sarah Collier lives with her daughter Becky, 20, and son Matthew, 18. She has signed up to complete a 9 day trek in Cambodia in November 2017 for Chestnut Tree House, the children’s hospice for Sussex and South East Hampshire. Sarah is taking on this personal challenge in memory of her son James who passed away at Chestnut Tree House in July 2011, just 10 days before his 12th birthday. Sarah has already smashed her original fundraising target of £3,000 and is hoping to continue raising even more in the run up to the trek. James was sadly diagnosed with a brain tumour in April 2010. Mum Sarah said, “I really can’t fault the care James received from the day he fell ill. The Chestnut Tree House Community Nurses visited our home towards the end of James’ life, and two and a half weeks before he passed away we were able to move into the House as a family. During this time of great sadness, being at Chestnut Tree House allowed us to feel so safe and supported.”
Sarah’s other children Becky and Matthew also received a great deal of support and Sarah feels that Chestnut Tree House helped them to have closure after losing James. “The bereavement services at the House gave us a real sense of having the choice, freedom and time to really say goodbye to James in our individual way,” said Sarah. “We still visit the House today and still feel very much a part of the Chestnut family. This sense of belonging has been invaluable to me and my children. I often visit the Reflections room or the beautiful gardens. Staff still remember us, and I have such a sense of peace and warmth whenever I go there.
During their stay with James at the House, Sarah remembers that nothing was ever too much trouble for the staff, from a compassionate and listening ear at 3am, to a delicious snack prepared by the wonderful kitchen staff .
After James died the family did some fundraising through Worthing Rugby Club. “It was a lovely occasion,” Sarah said. “My daughter made and sold friendship bracelets and we did some fundraising activities. I have always wanted to do something big for Chestnut Tree House to say thank you. When I heard about the Cambodia Challenge it felt the right time for me.” As a Mum Sarah is often putting others first, but this challenge is going to be just for her and will be a very special way to remember her son in his 18th year.
“I can never repay the care and support that Chestnut Tree House provided to my family,” said Sarah, “but I hope that the funds I raise will help this amazing charity to continue to support children and families in need for years to come.” To donate visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/James-William-Collier or if you would like to join Sarah to take on Chestnut’s Cambodia Challenge, please visit www.chestnut-treehouse.org.uk/cambodia or call 01903 706354 to speak to a member of our Events Team.