BBC Children in Need has featured the incredible story of Kristian and his family in Leytonstone who use Haven House Children’s Hospice in this year’s TV appeal programme.

Introduced by Strictly Coming Dancing judge Len Goodman, the film, broadcast on Friday 18 November on BBC One, shows all the ways Haven House supports Kristian and his family.

Kristian, who is seven, has Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy where seizures can be non-stop. He requires round-the-clock care and has no concept of safety. His only way of communicating is to cry, laugh or smile. 

Kristian has been attending Haven House for five years. When he is at our hospice for respite care he has time to enjoy a whole host of activities with healthcare support worker Stacey Bishop who is funded by Children in Need.

The film shows Kristian leading Stacey on a trail of Haven House’s beautiful grounds and smiling on a trampoline with his sister, Abigail.

His parents, Mel Rinaldi and Sean Marshall, were referred to Haven House by staff at Great Ormond Street Hospital in 2011, after they realised that they desperately needed some respite from the 24/7 demands of looking after her son.

When Kristian is at Haven House, it gives Mel and Sean an enormous sense of relief as they know he has the freedom to play and to be himself in a safe and caring environment.

Mel said: “Haven House is a lifeline. They have got everything you could possibly think a child would want. But the biggest thing is that Kristian can be somewhere where he is completely free. For him it must be paradise.”

Mike Palfreman, Chief Executive of Haven House, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have been a part of this year’s BBC Children in Need appeal.

“To be able to raise awareness of the care we give to Kristian and other life-limited children in our area in front of millions of viewers is a rare opportunity.

“We are so grateful to Children in Need for their continued support of our hospice and of course to Mel and Sean for bravely speaking about the difference we make to their lives.”

“We hope their words will encourage even more people in our local community to support our work.”

Watch Kristian's film by clicking this link.    

To read more of Kristian’s story and support our work please visit our Time to Make a Difference page.