TY HAFAN, the family hospice for young lives, is asking people in Penarth to help life-limited children and their families by supporting its Precious Moments Appeal.

More than 40,000 people across Wales will receive letters from Ty Hafan asking for a donation to support the charity’s vital work across Wales.

Little Alice Hicks is the face of Ty Hafan’s Precious Moments Appeal and her parents, Ian and Hannah, have told their heartfelt story to encourage the public to support the campaign.

Like most new parents, Ian and Hannah couldn’t wait to go for their 20-week scan. But all that excitement turned to anxiety when the midwife went to fetch the doctor. They were told the most devastating news any parent can hear – their unborn daughter had a condition that meant it was very likely she would die in childhood.

“We left the hospital feeling like our world had fallen apart,” said Hannah.

“One minute we had been watching our child moving around on the monitor. The next, we were being told we would never see her grow up.”

10-month-old Alice was born with hydranencephaly, a central nervous system disorder characterized by an enlarged head and neurological deficits. Her family was forced to prepare for the worst as she spent her first 15 days fighting for her life in the neo-natal unit at the University Hospital of Wales.

“As it became increasingly clear the doctors could do nothing more to help her, they suggested we took her for end of life care at Ty Hafan,” said Ian.

“Being told by our doctors that we would have to go to Ty Hafan felt like the end, but it turned out to be a new beginning.”

After the fear and devastation of the previous weeks, it was at Ty Hafan that the couple finally found some hope and happiness.

Hannah said: “What we found at T? Hafan was something truly special – a place filled with laughter and smiles and love. We knew straight away that this was where we wanted to be.”

On the first day at Ty Hafan, Alice’s grandfather had the chance to hold her for the first time. He hadn’t been able to hold Alice when she was in hospital, because she had been too poorly.

“As he cuddled his tiny granddaughter in his arms, he told us that his life felt complete. It was such a special moment for the whole family,” said Hannah.

Thankfully, Alice pulled through those early weeks and is now enjoying spending time at their home in Cardiff.

“There are so many ways Ty Hafan continues to be there for our family” said Ian.

“From the visits and phone calls from our family support practitioner, Hayley, to the short breaks we have at the hospice, they help make sure every moment we have with Alice is spent creating memories that will last forever. We know that when the time comes, and Alice reaches the end of her life, they will support us through that too.”

Jenna Lewis, Head of Individual Giving at Ty Hafan said: “Although our hospice is based in Sully, Ty Hafan’s care extends much further into communities across Wales. Thanks to Ty Hafan, Alice’s short life is being lived to the full. We want to help more families in need of our help, but to do this we need the public’s support.”

T? Hafan offers comfort, care and support to life-limited children and young people and is dedicated to improving the quality of life for the whole family. To continue to offer its services to families, it relies on the generosity of the public, its corporate sponsors and volunteers.

With more and more families needing Ty Hafan’s support, its annual costs are also rising. The charity needs to raise £3.7m each year to provide its services compared to just £1m when it started in 1999.

To support the Precious Moments Appeal, please visit www.tyhafan.org/precious or call 029 2053 2255.