As the festive period draws near Haven House Children’s Hospice is appealing for support to help children spend Christmas at home with their loved ones.

The appeal, which features the story of parents Jaycee Wharfe and Rikilee Webster and their three-year-old son, Finnley, aims to raise around £20,000, which will go towards providing care and support to families over the festive period and into the new year.

Mum Jaycee first became aware that her son, Finnley, had a cleft lip at 31 weeks into her pregnancy. She was not prepared for what was to follow. Two days after he was born doctors carried out an MRI scan and diagnosed holoprosencephaly, a rare genetic condition resulting in incomplete brain development.

Finnley is visually impaired, has epilepsy and severe global delay. He struggles to remain upright without support. He needs a lot of different medication and Jaycee regularly uses a suction machine and oxygen for him at night. He is not strong enough to have his cleft lip corrected or keep his head up.

Jayce, a nursery nurse, said: “We were lucky enough to be offered support from Haven House and it’s quite simply been our lifeline. From the moment I met the hospice care team, I knew they really understood how incredibly special our Finnley was, and that they would care for him as much as we did. I felt safe and supported.”

It is not always easy for families with children who have many complex conditions and needs to travel to the hospice, so Haven House has developed a range of community services including Hospice at Home and Toy Home Loan. These enable families to spend quality time together in the comfort of their own home.

Jaycee added: “Fiona, the hospice’s Toy Home Loan co-ordinator, visits us and provides toys to help develop and engage Finnley’s senses; encouraging him to play and explore.

“I can’t imagine trying to ‘do life’ without Haven House and there are hundreds of families like mine – families with children who need intense, specialist, 24-hour care – who are having to cope alone. That’s why I’m urging you to please give a family like ours the best present of all this Christmas, precious time together. Haven House is such a special place to my little family. I really hope more people in the local area can support the charity.”

The Woodford-based charity, which this year marked its 15th anniversary, has provided palliative and holistic care for over 900 babies, children and young people who have life-limiting and life-threatening conditions across North and North East London, West Essex and East Hertfordshire.

Fiona Martin, Haven House Toy Home Loan Coordinator, said: “We’re so grateful to Jaycee and Rikilee for sharing their story for this year’s Haven House Christmas Appeal and for so vividly communicating how vital the hospice’s care is for families – as we stand beside them from diagnosis to wherever their journey may take them.

“As a charity we rely on money raised through fundraising activities like the Christmas Appeal, so that we can be there for other families in similar situations. We know the best gift we can give our children this Christmas is to be at home with their family enjoying precious moments together and we need the support of our local community to make this happen.”

To support Haven House’s Christmas Wishes appeal or to send a message to children and families this Christmas click here or call 020 8498 5841.