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​Shielding student bids to raise hundreds for children’s hospice with new poetry

Poet Kay Channon is aiming to raise hundreds of pounds for children’s hospice Chestnut Tree House

A CHICHESTER poet who has remained inside since the start of lockdown has pledged to raise hundreds of pounds for a children’s hospice by writing new work in return for donations.

Kay Channon, who is studying for a PhD at the University, was born with Cerebral Palsy: a life-long neurological condition which affects her mobility, respiratory system, and makes her extremely vulnerable to Covid-19. While shielding, the 31-year-old decided to start raising money for Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice by asking for donations in return for a personalised poetry piece.

“The idea came to me one night in the mist of the lockdown,” said Kay. “I haven’t left my flat for over 150 days and I have only had one carer at any given time. Therefore, I wasn’t able to experience any other human face to face contact.”

Children’s charity Chestnut Tree House provides hospice care and support for young people with progressive life-shortening conditions in East and West Sussex and South East Hampshire. It relies heavily on community fundraising but, since the start of the pandemic, has seen a sharp fall in donations.

Reflecting on the past few months, Kay explained: “One of the most difficult things for me to deal with during this period, was knowing and watching so many people suffer at a distance and not being able to do anything to help them.

Kay was born with the life-long neurological condition Cerebral Palsy“I know first-hand what it is like to be in hospital with severe breathing problems and not be able to eat, drink or swallow anything. Like many, I was struggling with the current situation, but as far as I knew, I had the time to struggle, to understand and try to deal with it, but others did not.”

The daily challenges Kay faces with her condition made her think about the struggles that families with children with life shortening conditions were experiencing.

“I really hope that my poetry can help to raise vital funds for Chestnut Tree House and raise a smile for the children who use their services,” Kay added. “The respite facilities that the hospice provide are amazing, and the pure joy and engagement that families get from being at Chestnut Tree House is paramount and undeniable.”

Kay will be performing her poem on social media and documenting the different parts on her SoundCloud - available through her JustGiving page at www.justgiving.com/kay-channon-chestnuttreehouse.

For more about Chestnut Tree House and how it provides specialist care for the children and families it supports go to www.chestnut-tree-house.org.uk.