Fathers speak emotionally as charity launches appeal

Andrew suttie

CHAS is asking for donations to help provide support to parents who face losing a child

13th June 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Bereaved fathers have spoken emotionally as a charity launched its Father’s Day Appeal.

To coincide with Father’s Day this Sunday (16 June), Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS) has launched a new appeal in solidarity with bereaved fathers and those who currently face the stark reality that their child is living with a life-shortening illness.

The appeal focuses on three bereaved dads whose families have received support from the pioneering charity, reading a heartfelt Father’s Day message they have each written to their daughters.

Andrew Suttie, from Broughty Ferry in Dundee, is one of those who has taken part. His daughter Jessica was diagnosed with Zellweger Spectrum Disorder and died aged 8 months old in September 2017.

On Father's Day 2016, Andrew and his wife Jaclyn learned that they were going to be parents. A few weeks later they were even more excited to learn they were expecting twins. They knew that there were risks associated with a twin pregnancy and birth but nothing prepared them for what was to come.

Twin daughters Georgia Mary and Jessica Lynne were born on Hogmanay 2016 and remained in the Neonatal Unit for a number of weeks. Jessica was later diagnosed with Zellweger Spectrum Disorder, a rare, life-shortening condition. For the eight months they had with Jessica, CHAS supported the family to pack that short time with wonderful moments and precious memories that Andrew will cherish forever.

A spokesman for CHAS said: “The appeal is simple: Your donation will help CHAS be there for all the dads that need us this Father’s Day. When a family with a child who suffers a life-shortening condition is supported by CHAS, we offer a wide range of support for as long as they need it, from one to one support, counselling and group support to remembering days.”

A donation of £15 could help a dad and their child create magical memories in whatever time they have left together, and £50 could help organise a support group where dads can share their experiences. Donations can be made online.