A new local charity has been launched by a bereaved Cofton Hackett dad and local volunteers today (Tuesday 18th June) – with supporters being asked to ‘Send a Friend’ to a very sick child.
Named after the late son of Cofton Hackett couple Matthew and Amy, the Woody Alvin Foundation is about giving and doing great things for very sick children and their families in his memory.
After a fairly normal pregnancy and birth, Baby Woody was born on 23rd September 2018 weighing 6lb 1oz. However, within 40 minutes, Woody was unable to breathe properly and was admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care unite (NICU) at Birmingham Women’s Hospital and placed on life support.
When there was no improvement, Woody was rushed to Birmingham Children’s Hospital to be cared for by very specialist equipment on the Paediatric Intensive Care unit (PICU).
With a continued decline in his condition, Woody sadly died in his parents’ arms at just 22 days old.
A subsequent post mortem found that Woody was born with a severe form of an ‘ultra rare’ and untreatable condition known as Congenital Alveolar Dysplasia. Abnormal blood vessels mean that the lungs cannot effectively oxygenate – or remove carbon dioxide from – the blood.
Since Woody’s passing, Matthew and Amy, family, friends and community have raised a massive £11,000 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital in his name.
The charity operates the ‘Send a Friend’ campaign which donates soft toys to very sick children and their siblings as a comfort companion during a very frightening time.
Woody the Whale
Woody’s mum, Amy, also paints Woody’s Rocks: beautifully painted character stones which have been hidden all around the world to spread Woody’s word. People are asked to post the rock finds on the Woody’s Rocks Facebook, Instagram or Twitter page before re-hiding for someone else to discover.
One of the rocks, “Robin” made it to Iceland, where it was videoed getting a wave from a humpback whale! The whale has since been nicknamed ‘Woody’ and this has helped to inspire the foundation’s ‘Send a Friend’ campaign.
Supporters can buy their own plush Woody the Whale – online or at the foundation’s pop-up shop – for just £11.99. Working in partnership with local hospitals, the foundation will gift a further two toys – in the buyer’s name – to very sick children and their young siblings.
The organisation’s founder and Woody’s dad Matthew said: “The ‘Send A Friend’ campaign is great because supporters get to keep their soft toy, knowing that another will be donated in their name to a very deserving child. Our soft toys are liked by all ages and make great gifts for any occasion.”
Fundraising and Events
The foundation also plans to fundraise, through events and activities, to provide other comforts and activities for children with life limiting or life threatening conditions and their families.
Trustee of the foundation Rev. Sheri Gidney said: “The Woody Alvin Foundation is a really practical way of supporting families at the most critical time. The charity is born out of first hand experience of receiving critical care and therefore wanting to offer support that is both compassionate and practical in this most challenging of situations.”
The foundation want to put “fun” into fundraising and hope that events and campaigns can be enjoyed by all walks of life.
Matthew added: “We hope that people continue to get behind us and support what we do, we want people to enjoy fundraising and equally get something in return for their time and donations”.