Portsmouth family of young boy with leukaemia enjoy much-needed break thanks to lottery scheme

Madeline, Joseph and Hayden away on the holiday
Madeline, Joseph and Hayden away on the holiday

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THE family of a little boy with leukaemia have been able to reconnect and relax thanks to the generosity of a charity and lottery scheme.

The Slaters spent time at Hannah’s Holiday Homes using money raised from Portsmouth Lottery ticket sales.

To be able to get away for a weekend, reward the children and remove them from the environment that holds so many difficult memories is priceless

Ben Slater

In 2014 the family, from Drayton in Portsmouth, were given the devastating news that Joseph, aged five, had leukaemia.

Since then, they have had to cope with numerous hospital visits, Joseph undergoing different treatments and a lack of time together.

But thanks to Hannah’s Holiday Homes Appeal, which offers families free breaks in holiday homes on Hayling Island and in the New Forest, they have had a chance to have fun and reconnect.

Ben, Joseph’s dad, said: ‘Joseph’s fight with leukaemia has led to some very hard times for the whole family, particularly for his older brother Hayden and sister Madeline.

‘They have had to deal with the attention Joseph’s illness demands, hospital stays and separation from both Joseph and either my wife or me.

‘Trying to generate quality family time and childhood memories throughout treatment has been one of the most difficult things among the darkness of caring for a child with a life-threatening illness.’

The family spent the weekend at the holiday home for a mini-break and loved every moment.

Ben added: ‘The feeling as a parent to see your children smile for the entire weekend having been through so much is indescribable.

‘To be able to get away for a weekend, reward the children and remove them from the environment that holds so many difficult memories is priceless.’

Good causes serving communities in Portsmouth can register for free to sell tickets through the Portsmouth Lottery.

Councillor Luke Stubbs, a member of the Portsmouth Lottery’s small grants panel, said: ‘As this story shows, the third sector plays an incredible role in the lives of people.

‘Knowing the lottery has played a role in giving this family a break from what has been a difficult three years fills me with pride.’

Visit portsmouthlottery.co.uk