A kind-hearted construction worker has stepped in to transform the homes of young children cared for by a Staffordshire hospice, after being inspired by the treatment they provided for her nephew.
Gemma Booth, a trainee estimator at builder and developer Seddon, approached her employer to see if they would be able to support her as she decorated the houses of affected families.
Seddon agreed to help, and paid for all of the decorating equipment, as well as providing Gemma with a day off to complete the work.
The Donna Louise Children’s Hospice, which is based in Trentham, provides care and support for children in Cheshire and Staffordshire with shortened life expectancy or a life threatening condition.
The hospice is close to Gemma’s heart after they provided care for her nephew, who suffered from Metachromatic Leukodystrophy - a genetic disorder that attacks the brain's ability to communicate with nerves.
She said: "My nephew always received excellent care when he stayed at the hospice. The staff who work there are very special, and the way they cared for us made me want to give something back to them.
"I spoke to the volunteer manager at the hospice and she suggested that I decorate the houses of affected families, so I mentioned to Seddon what I was looking to do, and they were happy to help out.”
The first project was for mother-of-three Becky, whose 22-month-old son Nathan has haemodialysis at the hospital five days a week while also undergoing peritoneal dialysis every night at home, meaning that Becky has little time to do anything else.
Gemma painted the family’s lounge, kitchen and one of the bedrooms, and Becky was so touched by the gesture that she wrote to the hospice to thank Gemma for her hard work. Gemma said that the project was so successful that she is now hoping to do one a month on a regular basis.
Steve Davies, Commercial Director for the Midlands at Seddon, said: "Once Gemma explained to us what she was looking to do, we were more than happy to assist her in giving something back to the hospice.
"It’s a wonderful gesture, and Gemma is a credit to the company.”
In turn, the hospice wrote to Seddon to thank them for their involvement in the project, explaining that the mum appeared to have ‘a much more positive attitude’ towards life as a result of the volunteer work at her home.
Sabryna Porter, Volunteer Manager at The Donna Louise Children’s Hospice, said: "What Gemma has done is amazing, she has made a huge difference to Becky’s life. Volunteers play a massive role within our organisation and without them we simply wouldn’t function. We really wouldn’t be able to support over 200 children and their families with life-limiting conditions across Staffordshire and Cheshire without them.”
Gemma has since gone on to raise £209.30 for the hospice in memory of her nephew PJ Blount.