Justa few weeks after the launch our Christmas campaign, featuring the McArthur’s, we sat down (virtually of course) with Dad (Al) to find out his experience of being a new father with a life-limited child, and how Jessie May have brought ‘Jessie Joy’ to his family over the last 3 years.

Q: What was it like for you to be a new Dad with a child with a life-limiting condition?

We initially thought Archie would be stillborn, so to have him survive was very unexpected. It was a very uncertain time for us all, but I was over the moon to have Archie, and fell in love with him straight away. We were very unsure of the future and didn’t know the extent of his condition until he was a few months old. But I would do anything for him, both then and now.

Q: What were your initial thoughts when Jessie May first came into your life?

In all honesty, Laura dealt with it much more than me as I was working full time. I know that she appreciated the time off that Jessie May provided during the time Archie spent in hospital. It’s relentless spending day after day in hospital. Being introduced to hospice/respite care is not anything that we had planned for; and being told that you will need help is almost incomprehensible. Leaving your incredibly vulnerable child with anyone else is daunting, but the Nurses we met were so friendly, happy and professional that we were immediately put at ease.

Q: Now that Archie’s 3 years old, how have Jessie May integrated into the McArthur family?

They’ve been such a huge support to all of us and I’ve gotten to know the nurses so much better over the last year as I’ve been home a lot more with remote working thanks to lockdown. They are all so easy to get on with. It’s also been great to be able to spend some more time just Laura and I, going out for the odd lunch (lockdown permitting!), and discover some freedom again!

Q: Could you imagine what life would be like if Jessie May wasn’t around?

Life would be much worse without the respite Jessie May offers to look forward to. The house seems so quiet during this second lockdown, so it’s great to have some interaction while they’re here – both for Archie and us!

As Laura has previously said, we couldn’t imagine what life would be like without the Jessie May Nurses, and it’s only through the support of others that they can continue to do so.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say to supporters of the Christmas Campaign so far?

I just want to say thank you so much to everyone who has donated to Jessie May so far this Christmas, we’re so grateful. It means the world to us to have the support of Jessie May, and that’s not possible without you.

Spread some #JessieJoy this Christmas

In a year where we’ve all had our fair share of doom and gloom, you can help to bring joy and laughter to families like Laura, Al and Archie this Christmas.

Like all charities, times are challenging for our service. Our traditional festive fundraising has come to a complete halt, and we can’t continue to support our families without your help.

If you can spare a donation this Christmas, you can help to bring some joy to the homes of others like the McArthur’s.

You can donate on the website here, or to donate £5 this Christmas, text JESSIEJOY to 70085.

Join the conversation

You can help to spread some #JessieJoy by joining the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Questions asked by Marketing & Communications Officer, Charlotte Walton