Aidan's Christmas Dinner Project
We’re proud to support a very special project each Christmas, which makes a difference to families who are staying in hospital with their poorly child or baby.
Aidan’s Christmas Dinner Project was set up by parents Lucy and Simon Pond in memory of their little boy Aidan four years ago. They raise funds to gift families at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital (the Alex) in Brighton and the neighbouring Trevor Mann Baby Unit (TMBU) with festive hampers.
Supported by local businesses and a wonderful team of volunteers, the hampers contain everything needed for a festive dinner on Christmas day, which is prepared and cooked for families at both hospitals.
In her own words, project founder Lucy Pond explains why this project is so close to her heart…
“Our son Aidan was tragically diagnosed with a rare genetic disease called mitochondrial disease, at just one year old. There is no treatment and no cure for this disease, he was a terminally ill child. Aidan passed away at the Royal Alexandra Children's Hospital in Brighton on 1 March 2014.
We spent Aidan’s last Christmas in 2013 as a family at the Alex. We were hoping that Aidan would be able to come home for a few hours but as the big day drew nearer, it became clear he would not manage a few hours without his ventilator.
The dedicated children’s hospital nurses are amazing, and we’ll never forget their joy and warmth at Christmas. There was also a visit from Father Christmas on the ward. Alas, due to funding issues, a Christmas dinner was not provided for families unfortunate enough to have a sick child in hospital at Christmas time. Therefore, with the stress of the situation we found ourselves in, the last thing we wanted was to not be able to share a Christmas meal together as a family!
In Aidan’s memory and as parents, it was our overwhelming aim to provide the funding for a Christmas dinner in future, and extra treats for parents and carers. We felt this would leave a legacy for Aidan and the brilliant nurses who cared for our son.
As a result, we decided to talk to nursing staff at the Alex and the team from Rockinghorse about our experience and what we could do to make it better. We wanted to provide each family in hospital on Christmas Day with a hot meal cooked for them, plus presents for parents in a hamper, and so, the Aidan's Christmas Dinner Project was born.
To date, we have raised over £12,400 for the project and we have provided 150 Christmas Dinners for families over the last three years, plus a further 55 hampers which will be gifted this Christmas. We also ensure families with sick babies being cared for in the Trevor Mann Special Care Baby Unit also receive a Christmas dinner and a hamper of goodies.
Every year, around Christmas Eve, we visit the Alex and TMBU and hand out hampers of luxury food, including; handmade mince pies, brownies, tea and coffee, and a cafetiere. We also let them know that, should their child still be in hospital over Christmas, we have an amazing team of volunteers who will be busy cooking delicious festive meals in the Ronald McDonald House at the Alex on Christmas Day. All the food for this is funded by Aidan’s Christmas Dinner Project.
If you are inspired by this story, please like, follow and share our Facebook page here: www.facebook.com/Aidans-Christmas-Dinner-Project.
If you would like to donate to the project, please visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lucy-pond3. You can also donate by texting HAMP40 £5 or £10 to 70070. Donations are very gratefully received and will help to provide a meal for families next Christmas.”