How families like the Robinsons depend on help from Acorns
The Robinson family cannot imagine surviving without Acorns. For almost a decade, the charity has been a guiding hand, and shoulder of support to not just severely ill Sophie, but also her younger sister Louise and parents Catherine and Ted.
The thought that the future of Acorns could be threatened is completely devastating to families like the Robinsons.
Sophie, 11, suffers profound and multiple disabilities. She started having seizures when she was eight weeks old and was later diagnosed with a debilitating epilepsy syndrome that is slowly damaging her body.
“There has never been an hour of any day that Sophie has been free of seizures,” said 46-year-old mother and full-time carer Catherine, from Harborne.
“I look after Sophie at home but there is a physical and mental stress involved with that and it is vital for families to have a break and some normality.
“Acorns hospice in Selly Oak is somewhere I feel I can leave Sophie for a day and they will fully understand her condition and she will be properly cared for. It gives me and the rest of the family chance to relax.”
It is on these valuable respite days that Catherine and Ted, a 46-year-old business consultant, and their other daughter Louise, aged eight, have time to do “normal” family things like going to the cinema, a real treat for them.
Acorns has also been invaluable in providing for Louise help from the sibling service - something that will be cut in the savings plan.
It enabled Louise to have someone to talk to about Sophie’s worsening condition and the prospect that she may not survive.
“It is like having a baby as I am always listening out for Sophie and if anything is wrong,” added Catherine. “Even Louise listens out for her in the night. It can be a strain and exhausting on all of us and the help Acorns gives us is critical in refreshing us to get back to it again. Having someone for Louise to talk to has been important as she sometimes feels she does not want to burden us.”
Mr Robinson said: “I don’t think we would have survived without Acorns and those few days they provide help every month.
“Without this charity, there would have been an even bigger burden and there is only so much we can do.
“Social services are supposed to provide some help, but they are so under-fundd that we have never had much involvement with them.
“We feel fortunate to have been able to get respite help from a charity like Acorns and we just hope it can continue to do the good work that it does for thousands of families like us.”