A devastated Mansfield couple who lost their daughter to cancer a day before her sixth birthday is urging other parents not suffer in silence.
Robert and Amanda Jones are still struggling to come to terms with the loss of Evie, who passed away in August less than nine months since she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, an aggressive form of the illness.
But since her tragic death, the couple, who live on Crowhill Drive, have been shocked by the lack of support available to grieving families who have lost young children.
And while they still remain on a waiting list for counselling, they have launched the charity, The Princess Evie’s Trust, with an aim to offer help to other families devastated by the loss of a child.
“I would not wish it on my worst enemy,” explained Robert.
“Through our journey, we realised that in other areas there are charities set up to help families.
“There is general support nationally, like Clic Sargent, but nothing for parents locally.
“Our charity wants to do that, when you talk to someone who has lost a child, you’re on the same wave length.
“This is giving us something to focus on, a reason to get up in the morning.”
Evie began to show symptoms of her illness when she started back at High Oakham Primary in September last year.
She was not eating and feeling unwell, but it was initially diagnosed as a chest infection and given anti-biotics by a GP.
However, when she began developing bruises, her mother feared the worst.
“In the back of my mind I knew what it was, but it was still devastating,” admitted Amanda.
Evie underwent chemotherapy but the family was told that it was failing to have an impact.
Eventually, she received a bone marrow transplant, but following a series of complications she passed away.
“She was a lively little girl, but by the end she had been through so much,” said Amanda.
“There’s no closure, you just learn to hide it away.
“I would hate to think there is another family in Mansfield going through what we have had to do.
“People say to us ‘you’re being so strong’, but we’re not, you just find any way you can to get through this.
“We feel that since Evie passed away, there’s been so support.
“We came home from the hospital and we’ve had nothing.”
The couple say that children who are diagnosed ‘want for nothing’ in terms of care, but they feel more is needed to support the child’s siblings, or parents. This includes everyday problems, such as helping with travel and parking expenses at hospitals.
They have raised £5,000 so far, but are calling for people to get involved in fundraising.
“The more money that can be raised, the more children can be helped,” added Robert.
A fundraising charity football match is planned for this Saturday, 15th November, at Debdale Sports Centre on Mansfield Woodhouse’s Debdale Lane from 2pm.
There will also be raffle with a signed Ronaldo shirt among the prizes, plus a bar and live band performing.
For more information, log onto www.princesseviestrust.co.uk, go to the charity’s Facebook page ‘Princess Evie’s Trust’ or follow on Twitter @eviestrust1