At the end of May, Adela Mackie, along with her mum and some family friends, will be dressing up as characters from the popular TV programme, The Simpsons, and sightseeing in London to raise money for Children’s Hospice South West (CHSW).
Adela, age 22 from Bristol, is fundraising in memory of her brother, Nicholas, who died in March 2010 aged 14.
Adela said: “I would tell the other children in my class at school that I have a big brother called Nicholas. He can’t walk, talk, sit or stand’. This was the simplistic, child-like way in which I would articulate my brother’s condition.”
Nicholas was born with a life-limiting condition which meant his parents, Lenka and Philip, made countless visits to hospital, many of which were spent in intensive care. Adela said: “I had learnt to help feed Nicholas via a gastrostomy tube by the age of 3. By the age of 8, I could read oxygen saturation monitors too.”
To Adela and her parents this was their ‘normal’.
“Nicholas was born in April 1995, three years before me. This was the life I had always known. Most of the time, I did not even acknowledge that he had a medical condition. He was just my big brother. His life was not defined by those hospital visits. My fondest memories of Nicholas are the picnics we went on as a family, watching The Simpsons together daily and hearing his hearty laugh ripple through our home. His endlessly cheerful nature through his toughest battles make my brother the most inspirational person that I have ever known.”
Nicholas, Adela and their parents were referred to CHSW’s Little Bridge House in North Devon where they enjoyed respite stays giving them the chance to relax and make memories as a family. Adela remembers spending time with the dedicated sibling team who were there to meet the special needs of well brothers and sisters.
“Words cannot describe how much my family is grateful for the support of Little Bridge House. Not only did they provide us with respite care throughout Nicholas’ life, but also a shoulder to lean on. Their sibling service was of immeasurable help to me. I met other brothers and sisters in my situation and I was able to talk freely about Nicholas without having to explain anything. Everyone there already understood.”
Supporting siblings, particularly those who have been bereaved, through Children’s Hospice South West is so incredibly important to me
When Nicholas died in March 2010, Adela was 11 years old. She said: “Losing a sibling at a young age can be an isolating experience. Most other children my age had not encountered the concept of death before, let alone that of a brother or sister. This is why supporting siblings, particularly those who have been bereaved, through Children’s Hospice South West is so incredibly important to me.”
Part of the inspiration behind Adela’s fundraising efforts is to continue the legacy of her late father who died in May 2016. In his lifetime he raised over £20,000 for CHSW.
Adela hopes to complete her themed sightseeing fundraiser on May 30, covid restrictions allowing. She said: “I would urge people to help us support the great work CHSW does, and to celebrate the charity’s 30th anniversary, by sponsoring us when we dress up as The Simpsons.”
If you would like to show your support and make a donation, please visit Adela’s JustGiving page.