Mum of two-year-old with leukaemia launches Christmas pyjama appeal for kids with cancer
PUBLISHED: 10:55 12 October 2019 | UPDATED: 10:33 14 October 2019
The family of brave two-year-old Carter Nightingale, who suffers from a rare form of cancer, will be dressing up as elves and delivering pyjamas to Ipswich and Colchester hospitals to make Christmas that little bit more special.
Carter Nightingale was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia at just 19-months-old last summer, and ever since it has turned his family's life around after spending days on end cooped up in a hospital room.
His mother Hannah Carter, 25, from St Osyth, says her dream is that "every single child in these hospitals will wake up on Christmas morning with brand new sparkly pyjamas and a bed filled with toys as Santa spotted them from the sky".
Hannah knows just how heartbreaking it is finding out your child has cancer, and understands that the hospital is the last place any child would want to be on Christmas morning.
She said: "I was absolutely devastated when we were told Carter had cancer.
"I didn't think it was real at first, and I couldn't believe that Carter had been suffering for three months before we found out."
"We spent last Christmas in hospital and it was horrendous, it's really not the same as being at home," explained the mum-of-three.
After seeing pyjama appeals being successfully run across the country, Hannah decided it would be a perfect way to brighten up the Christmas experience of children in hospital - so she has set out on a mission to do just that.
Working closely with the Hospital Pyjama Collection she is taking on the challenge of getting 600 pairs of pyjamas, ranging from newborn sizes to 18 years.
Carter's dad, Hannah, their two daughters and Carter himself will be delivering the pyjama's to Ipswich, Colchester and Addenbrookes' hospitals dressed up as elves in the run up to the big day and to spread some festive cheer.
Hannah, who has already collected 50 pairs of pyjamas, said: "Carter has been at home for the last three weeks, and that's the longest time he's been out of hospital since he was first diagnosed.
"Our lives have changed completely, and Carter's dad has even had to give up his job of 14 years to be able to give Carter and the girls the care they need."
Hannah, who has always been passionate about fundraising, set up a Facebook page called 'Carter's Fight' shortly after their son was diagnosed with leukaemia.
Last Christmas they decided not to get any presents but instead chose to put their money into a pot for Addenbrooke's and Colchester Hospital to buy things they needed - such as books, portable DVD players, TV, and a Playstation 4.
They also raised hundreds of pounds to provide the Sick Children's Trust with the cleaning products they needed, after the charity housed them for eight weeks during Carter's treatment.
Speaking of the appeal, Hannah said: "It has kept my mind off of Carter's treatment which is good to stop me from thinking about it all the time. It can make you ill if that's all that's on your mind so it's good to be distracted."
Hannah is asking for people to either purchase pyjamas and send them to her or donate money online.
The final donation date is November 30 so that Hannah can get all the pyjamas wrapped up and ready to be delivered.
You can read more about Carter's Fight and how to get involved here.