A local woman is training hard in preparation for a rainforest trek, from the Pacific coast to the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, to raise money for The Sick Children’s Trust in memory of her friends’ son who tragically passed away last year.

Alison Honour, 49, from Kirkheaton, is taking on the challenge of a lifetime in memory of Calvin Sutton to raise both money and awareness for The Sick Children’s Trust. The charity, which runs free ‘Home from Home’ accommodation at leading paediatric hospitals across the country, supported his parents, Whitley Campbell and Josh Sutton, at its Eckersley House whilst their son underwent treatment at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI).

Calvin was born with CHARGE syndrome – a rare condition affecting one in every 10,000 babies where a number of birth defects occur at once. Calvin was born blind and deaf, had two holes in his heart, a very weak immune system and atresia of the choanae, a condition in which the nasal passages are blocked by bone or tissue, causing difficulty breathing. For nine months, he fought for his life in hospital before sadly losing his fight. During this time his parents were supported at Eckersley House, just minutes from his hospital bedside. Alison, an Occupational Therapist at a children’s hospice, says:

“Throughout his painfully short life, Calvin touched so many people’s lives and was very much loved, especially by his Mum and Dad.

“Whitley and Josh stayed at Eckersley House for months when Calvin was being treated at LGI. Having a ‘Home from Home’ with a private room to come back to after a long day on the ward meant so much to them and offered a bit of respite from the unimaginable level of stress they were facing. The Sick Children’s Trust kept their family together through their darkest hours, even though they were miles away from home. And for that, I wanted to give a little something back to the charity. Because of my job, I think I understood a tiny bit about what was happening, but felt awful as there was nothing I could do to help.

“I hope that by raising awareness of The Sick Children’s Trust and the vital role the charity’s ‘Homes from Home’ play during such difficult times that, on behalf of my friends, I can help the charity to be there for others.

“To prepare for the trek I am doing lots of running to increase my fitness and I’m planning to run the Manchester Marathon in April. Training is helping my fitness and stamina, but I’m expecting the trek to be really tough, especially with the climate and steep trails. But when things get tough, I will just think of Calvin, his courageous fight and the fact that the money I raise will help more families like his.”

The Sick Children’s Trust runs ten ‘Homes from Home’ across the country, giving families with seriously ill children free accommodation just minutes from their child’s hospital bedside. The charity relies entirely on voluntary donations and it costs £30 to support a family for one night. Jane McHale, Eckersley House Manager, says:

“We are so grateful to Alison for taking on this unusual challenge to raise money in brave little Calvin’s memory for The Sick Children’s Trust. We support around 4,000 families in our ten ‘Homes from Home’ every year, so Alison’s fundraising will help us to keep even more families close to their seriously ill child’s bedside.

“We wish Alison all the best of luck with her trek and can’t wait to hear how she gets on!”

To sponsor Alison, visit her JustGiving page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ahonour

For further information about The Sick Children’s Trust, please visit http://www.sickchildrenstrust.org/