‘Charlie’s Gift’ is a Hertfordshire based charity, set up in memory of our young son Charlie who died suddenly, without warning in June 2010, aged just 8 years from Anaphylactic Shock.
Charlie was born on 27th November 2001, our first child. He was a sweet-natured little toddler and soon grew into a much-loved energetic little boy with a zest for life. Whatever Charlie was interested in, he threw himself into it whole-heartedly, there were no half-measures. He lived his short but happy life fully and passionately.
Anaphylaxis, the condition Charlie lived with every day was very much an aside to who he was and we never allowed it to impact on his life. We managed his condition well. Charlie just happened to be a little boy who was born with allergies and asthma and he lived his life as any other Doctor Who mad, football loving, Arsenal crazy eight year old would…full-throttle!
Above all though, Charlie was blessed with the kindest heart. He was generous with his time and love for everyone around him and was always compassionate towards those less able and less fortunate than himself. He just seemed to draw people to him and had friends in abundance. And as the eldest of our three children, Charlie was a wonderful brother to his younger sister Izzy and little brother Samuel, and absolutely adored them both. They in turn loved their big brother to bits.
Charlie’s death came as an enormous shock to us all. He passed suddenly without warning from Anaphylactic Shock on the evening of June 5th 2010. One minute our beautiful, vibrant 8 year old was running around, doing what he loved best, playing football with his friends and the next minute he was gone.
Charlie’s passing has left a huge void in our lives, and in the lives of those who knew him. He has touched the lives of friends and families who remember our precious boy and his ‘sunny’ ways.
In the devastating months following Charlie’s death the need to do something positive in Charlie’s memory began to become apparent to us both. Jason and I wanted to do something that would reflect the compassionate spirit to which Charlie approached others in his own life. So when after a year had passed since Charlie’s death, and friends suggested we fundraise for charity, we both agreed this would be a wonderful way to honour our beautiful boy.
The obvious choice for us was to support The Anaphylaxis Campaign, which provides support to families and individuals affected by this life-threatening condition. So in October 2011, Jason and a group of friends undertook a gruelling sponsored bike ride along the unforgiving towpaths of the Grand Union Canal, from Birmingham to Hemel Hempstead. The twenty strong cycling team ‘Charlie’s Heroes’, fully living up to their name, raised a staggering £13,800 for the Anaphylaxis Campaign.
Shortly after that, we decided to put on a ‘Zumbathon’ for a more local charity. Our choice on this occasion was The Pepper Foundation. The Pepper Foundation is a Hertfordshire based charity providing hospice-at-home care for sick children. The enormously successful kids and ladies Zumbathon event raised an amazing £3,700 for this fabulous charity.
Out of our grief, Charlie’s Gift was founded, helping to make a positive impact on the lives of children facing difficult challenges in life. Charlie’s legacy of love continues to live on through the work of our charity today.