Welcome to Charlie's Star
Charlie’s Star has been established in memory of our son, Charlie Burns, to 'Create Hope and Smiles’ for bereaved families who live in the South West of England, that have lost a child under the age of 19, by providing them with a fully funded 7-day respite break in Cornwall.
Charlie died suddenly and unexpectedly a week after his 10th Birthday. No parent ever expects to lose a child, and yet speaking from personal experience, it is the most traumatic and harrowing ordeal any parent will ever face.
The first year, past in a complete blur. We quite literally functioned and somehow survived. Reality hadn’t kicked in and I think we thought we would wake up one day to discover that it had all been the most awful nightmare. The second year was worse than the first, as we realised Charlie was never coming back.
Grief doesn’t last a few days or even a few months, it lasts a lifetime. For everyone around you, life carries on, but for parents who lose a child, time stands still. We decided that we wanted some good to come from Charlie’s death – something to make him proud and a legacy in his memory. We also made a promise that no matter how hard, we would find something to smile about every day. Charlie was so full of laughter and fun, he wouldn’t want us living a life of misery.
In addition to the mental, physical and emotional struggles of losing a child, there are many other issues a family faces at the worst time of their life;
Post-Mortem, Funeral, Inquest, Police Investigation: parents are suddenly faced with unknown legalities, procedures and bureaucracy. How do you every get over burying your child? In truth, you don’t.
Survivors Guilt and Grief: any parent would willingly have swapped places in order that their child could live. Life really can deal the cruellest hand. Their grief comes in waves, everybody deals with grief differently and not always at the same time. It can be triggered by a memory, a song, a smell, a birthday. It causes an overwhelming feeling of sadness that rips through you to the core. Grief can trigger a person to suffer various conditions including (but not limited to); anxiety, depression, sleep apnoea, post-traumatic stress, nervous break-down and night terrors.
Relationships: losing a child affects many people; parents, siblings, grandparents, friends, the list is endless. For us, it broke our hearts to see the pain and heartache Charlie’s sister Izzie suffered.
Financial issues: ‘Bereavement Leave’ varies from employer to employer. Parents may have to take unpaid leave as they struggle to come to terms with losing their child. Some of the above health conditions may result in not being able to remain in employment. You cannot insure a child for Life Insurance, however new legislation on the 1 July 19, provides funding for child funerals, which is a huge help to families.
Holidays are a luxury many bereaved families will no longer be able to afford, and yet they are often the tonic needed to help provide a small sense of normality in a life that will never really be ‘normal’ again. It’s about gradually learning to move forward and face new chapters.
Understanding ourselves the trauma and grief losing a child has on a family, enables Charlie’s Star to offer a safe ‘bubble’ where families can ease some of the mental and physical emotions without causing any financial stress. Somewhere they can come and spend invaluable time together.
Did you know;
There are 16 paediatric deaths every day in England and Wales. That means annually around 6000 families face the awful reality of life without their child.
The UK currently has one of the highest paediatric mortality rates in Western Europe. The sad fact is that many of those deaths could potentially be prevented with improved medical knowledge and awareness.
Each 7-day break provided by Charlie’s Star for a bereaved family costs £2000 (based on a family of 4, seasonal dependant). This includes all travel, accommodation, food and local excursions. By supporting Charlie’s Star, you are helping to create hope and smiles for families who have faced the most heart-breaking tragedy of their lives. None of us can change what has happened, but together we can make their lives a little easier.
'Fly high and shine bright little man
Love you lots of sweeties and lollipops'
Charlie's legacy lives on.