August was a roller-coaster month here at Reuben’s Retreat, filled with highs and lows…
Firstly, one of the highs…The ability to provide breaks for families has been a prominent feature in our framework of support for families from the outset. The reason we provide breaks for children and families is two-fold. Loving and caring for a child with a life-threatening illness or disability can be the most uncertain and isolating of times for a family unit, so the breaks give them a chance to enjoy respite from many of those challenges, if only for a few short days. The breaks also give those Mums, Dads, brothers and sisters the chance to have some FUN and create cherished, life-long memories together as a family. To date we’ve facilitated our breaks using specially selected accommodation providers but this month we welcomed a very deserving family to enjoy the very first break at The Lodge at Reuben’s! A lot of effort has gone into making sure our little apartment is homely, welcoming and suitable for such deserving families, and to finally see it being enjoyed was a joy to behold.
The month also saw Reuben’s Mummy, Daddy and big brother Isaac undertake the “Across the Bay Walk” challenge in Morecambe with 60 friends and supporters. It took nearly 4 hours and all in all they covered an incredible 10 miles! Escorted by the Queen’s official “Guide to the Sands” Cedric Robinson MBE, Isaac alone raised over £1,500, adding to a total of nearly £7,000 he’s raised for the charity. Despite the sea water making his legs a little sore, he didn’t complain once and we’re so very proud of him. Thank you to our dear friend Emma for arranging the event and to everyone that came, we will hopefully do it all again next year.
And then the lows… Facebook, love it or loathe it, has played an integral role in our charity’s development and was the perfect platform for our campaigning and fundraising during the first few months of operation – it literally catapulted us in to a variety of real and virtual communities. This ever advancing technology can have its drawbacks though, and many times during recent months the “Timehop” facility has brought back treasured yet heart-wrenching memories. And as we approached Reuben’s memorial date of the 21st August, Nicola was reminded through those old Facebook posts of what unfolded 4 years ago…
“Just yesterday I read a post about Reuben still being sickly and attending his second Doctors appointment. It’s like curiosity killed the cat, but I look each day to see if there is a little piece of treasure in there, a forgotten moment, a happy memory, a photograph, a funny story. I know what’s coming, we all know there’s no happy ever after, but still I look each day to see and it breaks my heart. I can feel the tide coming in, the sweeping of the water edging closer. I am trying desperately to hang on to some sunshine, to moments of happy with Isaac, all the while the grief creeps closer and tries to hijack my moments. Where did those four years go? Four years, double his lifetime. I also cannot believe still, 1400 sleeps later that this really happened to us.
What a beautiful legacy he leaves, our vision for the future, borne from loss and broken hearts. Had we been able to donate his organs there would have been no Reuben’s Retreat. As we work with him, we meet other families on similar journeys too, wishing that there were no need for us to carry out such vital work. We know only too well there is every need and the sooner that we complete our building, the sooner we can support more families. We also take time out to remember our friends that have also lost too.” Sending all our love to families out there with loss in their hearts xx
As we passed the anniversary of Reuben moving to heaven, the poignancy and sadness of that date day in August 2012 consumed our thoughts as we saw his loving family and friends remember their gorgeous, cheeky, fun-loving little boy. Even with Reuben’s Retreat now impacting hundreds of lives, they would of course swap it all in a heartbeat to have Reuben here, eating his favourite sausage and mash and getting excited for his 6th birthday in September. So my colleagues and I will channel all our energy into helping Reuben’s Mummy Nicola create this legacy for her son and help other families facing a future without their child or children and those who have lost a precious child.
The works to our main building’s roof are progressing well and due for completion very soon. Our next challenge is less exciting/appealing and something that’s quite hard to gain financial support for through traditional means…we need to address the asbestos that’s in the under-croft of the building so that we can sit the services for the facilities below ground level. It’s really important that we do this as all the space lost above ground will have an impact on the space available and the experience of navigating around the building for our wheelchair using guests. So to the wonderful hearts and souls of the North West, if you can spare some pennies or pounds for our cause, why not attend one of our upcoming events knowing how much it will helps us?
– Reuben’s Rainbows book launch on Sunday 18th September, 11-4pm at Reuben’s Retreat, Park Crescent, Glossop SK13 7BQ. The launch of our new bereavement book for children and a chance to meet the wonderful authors and illustrators of both our special books. Our larger than life mascot Reu the Rainbow Gnu will also be there and it will be a wonderful day out for all the family
– Rockin’ for Reuben on Saturday 29th October, 7.30pm till late at Denton Golf Club – you don’t need to be an Elvis fan to enjoy this fantastic evening of music followed by a cracking disco! Please call our office on 01457 680 023 for tickets
For more 2016 and 2017 events please visit our website at www.reubensretreat.org or our Facebook at www.facebook.com/ReubensRetreat And don’t forget to enjoy your Sausage and Mash dinner for Reuben’s birthday on 10th September and send us your photos of you enjoying this dinner of champions!
We’re so grateful to everyone who has supported our cause recently, including the Freemason’s Mallender Lodge and their lovely Garden Party in Glossop, our friends at Elizabeth Way in Mossley, , Zoe and pals who jumped out of a plane (yikes), Sylvia and the Purple Ladies, Wren’s Nest Glossop for their amazing collection, Bradleys Bakery for walking and for collecting too (rumours they are closing are unfounded and untrue, please continue to support this thriving and wonderful family business), the Commercial in Glossop, Sharon Matthews who ran 50 miles in 17 hours across the fells in the Lakeland Ultra 50, TSB Radcliffe, TSB Middleton, TSB Prestwich & TSB Chorlton, Martin Baynes, The Beauty Spot and Jill, the Ladies of Stalybridge Congregational Church and Roe Cross Green. A special thank you to our young volunteer Ciaran for donating at least 2 days a week throughout the school holidays and to all of our precious volunteers, we are forever grateful.
Finally and by no means least, if you know anyone that has been bereaved of a child and would like our support, please share our telephone number 01457 680023. A lot of people still don’t know about our cause and that we have already supported hundreds of families. Thank you for sharing and for taking the time to read our column.
With love and thanks always,
Reuben’s Retreat xx