A light in the dark
12 December 2018 | North West England
Charity set up by mum after she lost daughter is helping so many families.
After her young daughter died following complex health needs, Kim Walker wanted to help others going through what she and her family went through.
Kim, 57, lost her beloved young daughter Olivia aged just 15 in September 2014. But just a year later, she set up The Olivia Alice Foundation to make the lives of others living locally and in the same situation easier.
As well as helping others, the Walker family from Halewood in Liverpool - who include father Barry, 59, and sister Tzania, 25, looked to leave a lasting legacy in Olivia‘s name by raising funds for special medical equipment and days out for children facing similar challenges.
In just four years they’re charity has helped more than 40 families and raised more than £100,000 to give other local children a better quality of life at home or pay towards a special trip away.
They have provided equipment such as portable hoists, iPad holders and mobile oxygen concentrators so that families can leave their homes and travel, and make memories. They have also arranged grants of up to £500 to be awarded to families in need.
One child has enjoyed a trip to Disneyland Paris, and families have enjoyed a short break to nearby holiday park & village, Ribby Hall, organised by Kim herself.
“It is not easy at all when you have a poorly child with complex needs,” she explained. “You have to fight for everything. We try and do what we can but there are still so many families out there fighting just to make their lives a little easier.”
The Mogan Family are just one helped by the Foundation. Youngest son Harry, now 11, was born prematurely and developed Cerebral Palsy. He has complex medical needs including having to be on a ventilator 24 hours a day. The Foundation arranged for him and his family to go away for 4 nights as a break.
Mum Sarah said: “Harry is beautiful boy who is very happy and wants to be accepted as normal. But the reality is that life for us and his siblings, Georgie, 20, and Jack, 15, can be quite a rollercoaster. The holiday took us away from everything and meant we could just enjoy time as a family. The best thing was that Kim just took all that organising out of my hands and made it happen for us. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring and making memories is very important to us.”
Sarah added: “Kim is a wonderful person. She really cares about us and everyone she helps. She makes all the difference. Because she has walked in our shoes she really knows what it is like. It is personal for her.”
As Kim said: “Our ultimate aim is to create good memories that the families can keep forever. I found it hard recently when one of the first children we helped passed away, but it did make me feel a little better knowing we had done something to make her life and that of her family easier.
“We have worked with so many amazing families and of course we become close friends with many of them. It is a tonic for them to spend time with others going through the same situation.”
The Olivia Alice Foundation has been chosen as a TSB Local Charity partner by the bank's branches in Hunts Cross and Liverpool. Partners from the Hunts Cross branch have raised more than £2,000. “They have been amazing,” says Kim.