AN INSPIRATIONAL dad who lost his son just two weeks before his second birthday has shared his heart-wrenching story to help a charity Christmas appeal.
Duncan Fewins from Loxley, near Wellesbourne, has shared how at an unimaginable time in his life, without Birmingham-based Acorns Children’s Hospice and the charity’s specialist support, it would have been a “completely different story”.
The appeal, which features a film of Duncan speaking directly into the camera, aims to raise £63,000 for the charity – equivalent to the amount it costs Acorns to provide care to families during Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Duncan described the moment his world was turned upside down, and his son Sam was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition.
“I remember the consultant looking me in the eye and saying to me, ‘I’m afraid I’ve got some really bad news to tell you. There’s something profoundly wrong with Sam.’
“Your knees buckle. Your heart is pounding. Just the way he looked at me, told me that things had changed.”
Duncan was referred to Acorns hospice based in Selly Oak where he and his family received invaluable respite care and emotional support.
Describing the day he walked into Acorns after Sam’s diagnosis, Duncan said: “As I stepped through the hospice doors that first time with Sam, I immediately knew we were going to be looked after.
“It was a really warm, open place where I felt comfortable straight away. They wrapped around us and looked after not just Sam but me as well.
The support Duncan and his family received from Acorns continued following Sam’s death.
Duncan added: “I didn’t have to worry about breaking down or looking strong. At the point in my life where I was most vulnerable, being at Acorns kept me together. There was always somebody putting a hand on my shoulder, kneeling down beside me and telling me it was ok to be feeling this way.
“It would have been a different story had I not had Acorns in my life at that point.”
Acorns, which this year is marking its 30th anniversary, is currently caring for more than 870 children and over 1,140 families across the West Midlands, including those who are bereaved.
Duncan added: “There are parents out there who I know, are going through similar things. Without Acorns, they would be in a situation where they would be facing that process and that grief entirely on their own.
“That’s why this appeal is so important. And if you can donate to Acorns this Christmas, please donate.”
Lynne Carter, head of fund-raising at Acorns, urged people to donate whatever they could afford.
She added: “We’re so grateful to Duncan for sharing his story for this year’s Acorns Christmas Appeal and for so vividly communicating how vital Acorns care is for families – as we stand beside them from diagnosis to wherever their journey may take them.
“As a charity we rely on money raised through fund-raising activities like the Christmas Appeal, so that we can be there for other families in similar situations. This Christmas I hope people will listen to what Duncan has to say and donate, so we can continue to be there for families when they need us most.”
Visit www.acorns.org.uk/christmas to donate to this year’s Acorns Christmas Appeal.