Housebuilder donates £1,000 to help families living with Down’s Syndrome

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Albie Johnson and family
Albie with his family and Karen Horsfield of David Wilson Homes

Cambridgeshire’s Albie’s 11 Days of Christmas has benefitted from a £1,000 donation after leading developer David Wilson Homes chose the fundraiser for its Community Fund scheme.

Emilee Johnson’s son, Albie was born with Down’s Syndrome and double outlet right ventricle (DORV) and Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF), as a result, he had to have open-heart surgery in 2018 at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Since then, Albie has come on in leaps and bounds and his family wants to acknowledge just how fortunate they are by giving back for 11 days of December.

Emilee, said: “We set up Albie’s 11 Days because the start of December last year was such a painful time as we tried to keep it together for our other children while watching our baby struggle so much.

“The aim is to raise more money and more awareness over the 11 days of the year. Each year we make donations to hospitals, children’s wards, the accommodation at Addenbrookes Hospital that housed us when Albie was born and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

“We wanted to be able to take our donations and this year increase it. We managed to raise the total massively to around £1,100, excluding the donation from David Wilson Homes.

“This donation went towards food and snacks in the parent’s room at Hinchingbrooke Hospital.

“The £1,000 from David Wilson Homes will go towards activities for the families and a charity called Small Steps which will help with training for parents, support groups and specialists such as speech therapists help, which are difficult to access.”

Big Journeys Begin with Small Steps is a registered charity that hosts weekly support groups for children with Down’s Syndrome and their families in Huntingdon and Littleport.

The group supports families and children with Down’s Syndrome. They play, sing, fundraise, laugh, support and celebrate with each other to enable their children to grow up in a positive, loving and secure community where they are respected and valued for the strong people that they are.

Soon, Emilee will be launching a new group to help and support parents in the local area called Cambridgeshire’s Hear Warriors. This will serve as an online support group for families to seek advice about general tips for going through situations such as long hospital stays.

Emilee added: “It’s hard to give advice to other parents as we all cope in different ways but I think the most classic advice is to take it day by day.

“I would advise parents to write down information and questions to ask when it’s overwhelming and also connect with other people in a similar situation, you don’t have to be alone at what can often be at such an isolating time.”

John Dillion, Managing Director at David Wilson Homes South Midlands, said: “We are thrilled to be supporting such an amazing family who have been through so much in the past year but still manage to help others.

“As a company, supporting local causes is a priority for us and it’s brilliant to see our Community Fund scheme helping those in the areas in which we build.”