Family of little girl support charity which helped her after serious crash

Helen Cartledge and her niece Rio.
Helen Cartledge and her niece Rio.

The auntie of a little girl who was left fighting for her life after a serious car crash is supporting a campaign run by the charity which helped her.

Helen Cartledge, 40, of New Whittington, is taking part in The Sick Children’s Trust’s annual fundraiser this month by holding a Big Chocolate Tea party at her work.

The event will raise vital funds for the charity which supports families with seriously ill children in hospital with free ‘Home from Home’ accommodation.

Helen said: “Saying thank you to The Sick Children’s Trust will never be enough.”

On Boxing Day in 2015, Helen’s niece, Rio Wade Cartledge, then aged nine, was rushed to Sheffield Children’s Hospital after being seriously hurt in a car crash before being immediately transferred to Leeds General Infirmary.

Rio required lifesaving liver surgery and remained in a coma for five weeks at the specialist hospital, over 50 miles away from home.

During this time, her parents Ashley Cartledge and Gaynor Chambers, were given free ‘Home from Home’ accommodation by The Sick Children’s Trust.

The couple were supported at the charity’s Eckersley House located within the hospital grounds and just a two minute walk away from the ward.

Rio was in a critical condition and because of the charity’s ‘Homes from Home’ the family could be by her side every single day.

The Sick Children’s Trust runs ten ‘Homes from Home’ across the country, located at leading specialist paediatric hospitals.

Although the accommodation is free of charge to families, the charity relies entirely on voluntary donations.

Eckersley House manager, Jane McHale, said: “Rio’s family have been fantastic and their support means the world to us. They wanted to fundraise enough to cover the cost of their stay and have gone way beyond that, raising nearly £6,000. It’s incredible.”

To get involved with the Big Chocolate Tea campaign running during May, email bigchoctea@sickchildrenstrust.org.