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Abby’s Heroes Set To Benefit From Local Lawyers’ Fundraising Initiative

Irwin Mitchell’s Southampton Office Nominates Charity of the Year


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

A local charity which supports children being treated for cancer is set to benefit after staff at the Southampton office of Irwin Mitchell nominated it to be their Charity of the Year for 2018.

The national law firm’s initiative sees staff across each of its offices hold a range of events throughout the year to raise funds for local causes which have been selected through a vote.

The programme is part of the work of the Irwin Mitchell Charities Foundation, an independent charity which last year celebrated its 20th anniversary and has raised more than £1.6 million for charities in the UK and abroad.

In previous years the staff at the Southampton office have supported Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance and SERV Wessex, but this year it is the turn of Abby’s Heroes.

The aim of the charity is to help and support children and their families, including bereaved families, who come under the care of the paediatric oncology and haematology wards at Southampton General Hospital (Piam Brown Ward and the Teenage and Young Adults Ward). They offer financial and practical help as well as the opportunity to make lasting memories for the children and their families.

Guy Darlaston, is the Regional Managing Partner at Irwin Mitchell’s Southampton office.

Expert Opinion
The Charity of the Year initiative has been a fundamental part of our efforts to actively support the local communities where we are based for many years and we are proud to have helped a number of incredible causes along the way.

“Abby’s Heroes is a fantastic cause and we are already hard at work planning out the range of events which will be held across the year to raise vital funds to support the incredible work it does.”
Guy Darlaston, Partner

The charity was set up in memoriam of Abby Randall who was treated by the hospital during her three year battle with Ewing Sarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer.

During her fight Abby had 23 rounds of chemotherapy, 50 days of radiotherapy, as well as stem cell harvesting and pioneering surgery. Despite going into remission in 2014, the family were given the devastating news the cancer had returned, on Boxing Day the same year.

Despite a truly awe-inspiring attempt to beat the disease, brave Abby died in May 2016, aged 11.

Her parents Sally and David set up the charity the same year to help children, young people and their families on the wards, make memories with their families while offering practical and financial help.

Charity founder and Abby’s mother Sally said: “As a family who’ve gone through it, we are acutely aware of what a traumatic and frightening journey it can be for both the child and their families. They face months or years of treatment, are often separated for long periods, as parents need to stay with the child, but also may have siblings that need looking after as well. Jobs are put on hold and inevitably financial implications start to hit home, this puts a massive strain on families as normal life ceases to exist.

“Abby’s Heroes has been set up entirely with this in mind. We’re delighted to be chosen as one of Irwin Mitchell’s charities of the year and the support they provide will enable us to continue offering practical and financial help to families going through these difficult times.”

The area covered by Southampton General Hospital stretches from the Poole to Chichester, up as far as North Hampshire and Abby’s Heroes are now able to give every patient who completes treatment on the Piam Ward a £200 voucher to spend enjoying themselves.

One family from Chichester who’ve been helped by the charity, which now cover both the children’s and teenagers wards catering for patients aged from 0-24, said: “We have been considering selling our home as I have had to give up work completely, and my husband is at home, spinning plates, trying to look after our other children, trying to keep things as normal as possible for them.

“On top of that, he is trying to work as best he can and spend time with our sick son, attending important treatment appointments. Thanks to Abby’s Heroes, they have paid our mortgage for the next three months, giving us breathing space and allowing us time to get our heads around the diagnosis.”