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How Steve’s special memories of his daughter drove him to spearhead new charity campaign

06 NOVEMBER 2020

Local man’s ‘moments that matter’ have led to engagement with children’s hospice

Steve Kelly has been inspired to spearhead Noah’s Ark’s ‘Moments that Matter’ campaign by his own very personal journey with the charity.

Steve and his wife Rachel were supported by Noah’s Ark during the life of their daughter Jessica, who died in 2010 aged six. A decade on from their bereavement, Steve will be spearheading the charity’s new fundraising campaign, aiming to raise £1.2m in 36 hours for nurses and carers. The ‘Moments that Matter’ campaign will ensure that the charity is able to keep supporting seriously unwell babies, children and families, through Covid and beyond.

Steve has taken on the role of ‘Team Leader’ within the campaign, thereby aiming to get his friends and family to help him raise £2,000 on 22/23 November. Every donation on the day will be doubled by generous backers to the charity, meaning his contribution could be £4,000.

Steve recalls one particular moment that forever tied him to the charity, as he recalls: “The moment when Lisa, the Play Specialist, came along was literally life-changing. She was a ball of energy who became Jessica’s best friend. Having Lisa around opened up a different world to us. We just didn’t know that there was this kind of support available for a child with a life-limited illness.”

“Lisa [who is also fundraising for the Moments that Matter campaign] really understood Jessica and how to play with her. To know that there was that personal connection lifted our spirits so much – it opened up a world for us and for Jessica. The people from Noah’s Ark were just with us 100% of the way through the journey and that means so much.”

Steve acknowledges the impact that Covid could have on other children, like Jessica, who are life-limited: “It would be wonderful for her to be alive now, but I can’t imagine what it would it feel like to be worried just taking her into a so-called ‘safe’ hospital. So many children like Jessica have respiratory diseases and Covid must induce so much concern in parents”.

Since 2010, Steve has raised over £30k for the charity, primarily by holding an annual fundraising event at the time of Jessica’s birthday in January. He’s run a variety of events, including wine-tasting, casino nights and race nights, but recognises that Covid restricts what people can physically do for the charity. That’s why when the ‘Moments that Matter’ campaign came to light, it instantly felt like the right involvement for him.

As Steve recalls, “When Jessica died in 2010, it was Noah’s Ark’s volunteers who came round to the family’s house to tidy up and make it nice for guests to come round after the funeral, as well as looking after the children whilst the proceedings were taking place. From that day on, Noah’s Ark felt like a part of our family. Being involved with this campaign is the least I can do to give something back; Noah’s Ark were there for us at our lowest point and helped us through”.

Anthony Hayman, Director of Fundraising and Communications at Noah’s Ark, said: “It’s incredible that Steve has signed up for the Moments that Matter campaign. It’s so humbling that Steve and his family, initially supported by the charity, have become such wonderful ambassadors. They’ve turned their personal tragedy into something immensely positive for so many other children and families”. 

To find out more about the Moments that Matter campaign, contact Nick on Nmarsh@noahsarkhospice.org.uk

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