Fanatic Evertonian families from across the North West, who attend the Bebington-based hospice for respite and support throughout the year, turned up in their droves to meet the former England captain along with Club Ambassador Graeme Sharp, one-on-one to pose for photos, get plenty of autographs and receive an early Everton Christmas present during the visit.
Whilst there, the 32-year-old footballer also visited one of the interactive play rooms at the children’s hospice where he got to the chance to have a kickabout with a bit of a difference with some of the children and their siblings whilst also learning a bit more about the work the staff do around the clock for the children and the families they work with.
“It’s been really nice to come and try and put a few smiles on the kids and their families faces, especially around Christmas,” said Rooney. “It’s always great if we can do that, meet them and hopefully make them smile.”
He added: “I’ve seen the work they do here, it’s incredible, not just for the kids but the parents and the brothers and sisters too. They really do make a massive difference so it’s important that I give my support and that we also keep trying to raise money because the work they do needs funding.”
The hospice cares for children everyday who are seriously and terminally ill and the staff work hard to make sure they can live life to the full by creating wonderful experiences and memories, with days just like today. The staff, which includes nurses, physiotherapists, play specialists, counsellors and dedicated doctors, especially try to bring back a sense of normality to the families’ lives, helping them to smile through the toughest of times by providing not only specialist nursing care but emotional support as well.
Rebecca Flood is mum to Sophia, one of the young patients who uses the children’s hospice, she suffers from Cockayne Syndrome which is a premature ageing disorder meaning she will age very rapidly with a shortened life expectancy, Rebecca spoke to evertontv about what the children’s hospice means to their family, she said: “Claire House do everything for us as a family, they give us a break and we just have so much fun when we’re here.
“They do so much for our boys as well, I think the main thing is they just make everything a lot easier for us and we’re able to make special memories together with days like this.”
Lauren Luxton, Marketing and Communications Officer for the hospice, thanked Everton for their continued support, helping to make memories for the families they work with and said: “Year on year Everton continue to give their support to the local community and nowhere more so than Claire House Children’s Hospice. This is always a visit we look forward to here at Claire House and our Evertonian families couldn’t believe it was Wayne that they were going to meet, I can’t express how much it would have meant to the children to get to spend one-on-one time with someone like Wayne.
“We are always so grateful to Everton for helping us to raise awareness of the work we do, so we have a better chance of being able to care for every family on Merseyside that needs us.
Everton has been supporting Claire House for a number of years now with regular visits from first-team players and our Club Ambassadors, giving them chance learn about the work that goes on at Claire House as well as being able to meet the special children and their siblings who use its services throughout the year.
To learn more about Claire House Children’s Hospice and to see how you could make a donation to support their work, please click here.
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