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Couple heartbroken at baby son’s death back hospice’s Christmas campaign

PUBLISHED: 09:06 22 November 2018 | UPDATED: 10:20 22 November 2018

One of the family releasing balloons in James’ memory at the hospice on their pay for a day. From left to right, Joanne’s parents Lorraine and John Parker, Jonathan, Joanne and baby Joshua (James’ brother) and Jonathan’s sister Melanie Sharman Picture: EACH

One of the family releasing balloons in James’ memory at the hospice on their pay for a day. From left to right, Joanne’s parents Lorraine and John Parker, Jonathan, Joanne and baby Joshua (James’ brother) and Jonathan’s sister Melanie Sharman Picture: EACH

EACH

A couple who lost their baby son at just 18 days old are throwing themselves behind a campaign aiming to brighten children’s lives at Christmas time.

Joanne and Jonathan Rawlings with James at the EACH Treehouse. Picture: JOANNE RAWLINGSJoanne and Jonathan Rawlings with James at the EACH Treehouse. Picture: JOANNE RAWLINGS

James Rawlings, son of Jonathan and Joanne from Ipswich, suffered severe complications when he was born and died just over two weeks later.

Now his family, who were supported by East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) during James’ short life, are giving back to the charity.

They are doing their bit to illuminate a poignant sensory wall featuring lights and personal messages from supporters of EACH and families who use the hospices.

“If we hadn’t received the help and kindness EACH provided by wrapping their arms around us and helping us to heal after this heart-wrenching chapter of our lives, our newborn son and James’ little brother Joshua James wouldn’t be here today,” said Mrs Rawlings.

Six-month-old Joshua James who joined his parents for the EACH Glow Walk in Felixstowe in memory of his baby brother, James, who died aged just 18 days old Picture: EACHSix-month-old Joshua James who joined his parents for the EACH Glow Walk in Felixstowe in memory of his baby brother, James, who died aged just 18 days old Picture: EACH

“EACH have embraced us into their family and we’re supported as little or as much as we want. They’re like a loving parent – there when you need them to guide you through the things in life you never think you’ll be able to handle.

She added: “There are no words to describe the difference EACH has made to us, so please buy the extra gift of a light this Christmas to help a family through the toughest time they will ever face.”

The cost of buying a light for the sensory wall, part of the Light UP EACH Life campaign, starts at £5.

The initiative will run from December 1 to December 9 and aims to celebrate the life of every child and family the charity currently cares for, and has cared for in the past.

Joanne and Jonathan Rawlings with Joshua in front of a remembrance tree in Ipswich, which includes a leaf in James’s memory, as well as leaves for other bereaved families. Picture: JOANNE RAWLINGSJoanne and Jonathan Rawlings with Joshua in front of a remembrance tree in Ipswich, which includes a leaf in James’s memory, as well as leaves for other bereaved families. Picture: JOANNE RAWLINGS

Buying a light on our sensory wall will make so much difference to the children and families we care for – allowing us to continue the vital services we provide at a time when families need it most,” said Elaine John, EACH’s head of major supporters.

“We are also asking people to light up their homes, offices, Christmas trees and candles during that week to help us spread awareness about the work we do. We’d love to hear from you if you are supporting our campaign – use #LightUpEACHLife when you’re sharing on social media and let us know how you are lighting up EACH life.”

To find out more, visit the organisation’s website.

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