John Donoghue of the Brevity Lodge in Hampshire and Isle of Wight is a Lifelites gold benefactor. Here is John’s moving story about why he decided to become a benefactor, and make a regular monthly gift to Lifelites
'When my oldest daughter was a child, she suffered with several health conditions and was on kidney dialysis. When she was 22 years old, it was discovered that her only chance of survival was to have a kidney transplant, and that the most likely match would be one of her siblings. Even though her brother and sister were only 15 and 17 years old at the time, we went ahead and had them tested to see if they would be a match. Sadly, both came back negative. It was then that I asked the doctor if I and my wife could be tested, and we were told that it was highly unlikely that we would match. We went ahead and had ourselves tested anyway, as this was the only chance our daughter had at survival; if neither of us matched, she would be given just six weeks to live.
'I will never forget the day that my wife and I received our test results back. Heartbreakingly, we heard first that my wife was a 0% match, so there was no way she could donate. Then the doctor told us, in total surprise himself, that against all of the odds, I was a complete match and could donate a kidney to save my daughter’s life. It was after spending time in the hospital and meeting families like mine, who were going through difficulties with their children’s health that I decided I had to stand up and do something important to help.
'I decided to become a Lifelites benefactor after Lifelites CEO Simone came and gave a talk at my Lodge. Having had first-hand experience of the unimaginable lives that some of these children lead, I felt it was my duty to help. In Freemasonry, we have four values; integrity, friendship, respect and charity. In my opinion, the value of charity embraces all of the finest things a person can be. For the children using hospice services, communication is so often their only hope and that’s what Lifelites gives them, through donating their amazing technology packages. It’s just priceless to see the smile of a child who can communicate with their family for the first time.
'Giving £8 a month to become a Lifelites gold benefactor equates to just 26p a day, and would mean the world to some of the most vulnerable children in our society. As Lifelites was started as a Freemasons project, I believe it is our duty to ensure that this wonderful charity is fully supported by Freemasons all over the country. I would like to see each one of our 200,000 brothers across the British Isles pledge to change the lives of life-limited and disabled children, by signing up to become a Lifelites benefactor.'
Lifelites is the only charity that donates and maintains assistive technology for the 10,000 life-limited and disabled children using every children’s hospice service across the British Isles. The technology gives these children the opportunity to play with their brothers and sisters, be creative, communicate with their parents and control something for themselves, for as long as it is possible.
Since the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, we can all better understand how being isolated and disconnected from friends and family can make us feel. The pandemic means that the vulnerable children using hospice services are more isolated than ever, and will remain so for the foreseeable future. The technology that your support will help us to provide will enable them to learn, play, communicate and, most importantly, to express how they feel during this difficult and unsettling time.
Notes to Editor
Lifelites empowers 10,000 children and young people in hospices with life-limiting, life-threatening illnesses and disabling conditions by providing them with opportunities to benefit from the power of assistive and inclusive technologies to learn, to be creative, to communicate and to take control. There is a Lifelites project in every children’s hospice service across the British Isles. The hospices do not pay a penny towards their Lifelites project and all of Lifelites’ work is funded by donations: the equipment, ongoing technical support and training at each hospice costs around £50,000 over four years.
Charity Number: 1165791