We helped the Holliday family spend one treasured Christmas with Joey

Craig and Brogan Holliday are calling on people to support us during the launch of our Make Every Christmas Count appeal.

When Joey Holliday was born, his parents were given the devastating news that he would only have a short life. They were immediately put in touch with our care team, who support more than 440 children and young people every year with life-limiting conditions.

Joey’s parents said: ‘Everyone at the hospice understands how important it is for families like ours to make every Christmas count. We knew we only had one chance to spend Christmas with Joey and our wider family at home’.

The Holliday family were supported by the specialist care of our community team, who visited the Hollidays at home over several months. Knowing they had so much support gave the family the confidence to enjoy normal family time like day trips to The Deep and Yorkshire Wildlife Park, but more importantly, the time to cuddle their little boy without wires and machines getting in the way.

Craig and Brogan, also have a three-year-old daughter Hali-Rose, who got to be a big sister thanks to our support. The parents added: ‘Hali-Rose still talks about Joey all the time, because she doesn’t want to forget her baby brother. She talks about the day they met Santa at Martin House. In the bath she puts bubbles on her chin and pretends she’s Father Christmas. She says to us, “Joey’s going to fly back down with the reindeer. He’s not poorly anymore, because he’s with Father Christmas”. It breaks our hearts.

‘Joey died at Martin House in March 2022 aged just five months. From the start, we knew we wanted to have end-of-life care at the hospice, and we were so glad we were there. Everyone was so calm. They managed to turn our worst nightmare into something memorable and special.

‘It’s hard to think about Christmas this year, but we’re going to go all out to make it special for Hali-Rose. We’ll decorate the tree together with our Martin House baubles, talk about how we made them and make it part of our tradition.

‘We’re proud that we did the best we could for Joey, and that our only Christmas together was so special. Martin House gave that to us.’

Clair Holdsworth, chief executive, said: ‘Whenever families need our care, we are here for them all year round — and that includes over Christmas and New Year. Whether it’s advice over the phone, or if a child needs to come to the hospice for urgent symptom control or end-of-life care, our care is free — 24/7, 365 days a year.

‘Every Christmas the families we care for have with their children is precious, because for some it may be their last. That’s why we need to make sure we make every Christmas count for them, and we need your help to ensure we’re here for families when they need us most.’

Read more and support our Christmas appeal.

For further information contact: media@martinhouse.org.uk.

Baby Joey in a Christmas stocking

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