Joni’s Army rally round to buy beds for Children’s Hospice

June 12, 2019 by Leigh-on-sea.com

A local fundraising group founded in memory of a little girl has presented vital equipment to the charity that cared for her.

Little Havens Hospice in Thundersley received two ‘Safe Space’ beds and money for new garden furniture from ‘Joni’s Army’ on Monday 10th June.

The Joni’s Army fundraising group was set up by Holly Stevens from Hornchurch in memory of her daughter Joni-Mai who, in 2011, was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer – Ewings Sarcoma -  when she was five years old. Joni was cared for at Little Havens over the next four years and died on 6th September 2015 at the hospice.

Her family decided to honour Joni’s memory by setting up a charity in her name whose aim is to help children with life-limiting illnesses like Joni by fundraising for vital equipment for them and for the charities, like Little Havens, who care for them.

Joni’s Army has raised £20,000 for Little Havens so far, which has helped buy the two Safe Space beds and will also be used towards patio furniture for the gardens at the hospice.

Holly, 33, said “Joni was an incredible little girl, regardless of what she was going through she was like sunshine – always brightening our days. Her courage and kindness spurred us on to create something amazing in her name; so, we started Joni’s Army. We try and help children and young people access medical treatment and equipment that does not fall under the umbrella of the NHS.

Deputy Ward Sister, Lauren Summers joined Holly to receive the donation on behalf of the charity. She added, “We are all very excited about the arrival of our two new Safe Space beds and would really like to thank everyone at Joni’s Army who has helped make this happen. Like everyone, the children we care for at Little Havens are not the same size or shape as each other and they have a preference of where they sleep - it isn’t a case of one bed suits all.

“We also have to care for a range of different needs and abilities including children who may experience seizures as part of their condition, so to be gifted these highly specialist Safe Space beds by Joni’s Army is amazing. Here at Little Havens we focus on the individual needs of the children we care for and these beds will help us do that when it comes to sleep because they can be adapted to suit quite a few of our children and young people.”

Little Havens Hospice is part of Havens Hospices, which also includes Fair Havens Hospice and The J’s Hospice. If you’ve been inspired by Joni’s Army and would like to find out how you can help Havens Hospices continue ‘Making every day count’ for families across Essex by fundraising your way, please visit www.havenshospices.org.uk/fundraise

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