Laura Mattimore’s little boy Christopher was only alive for nine months, but he made a lasting impression.
So much so that Fiona McAndrew, who runs Sling Swing Calderdale, which Laura and her baby attended, has hosted her second annual fundraising event in his memory.
It took place at the Edge Play Gym in Brighouse, with Fiona estimating both events have raised around £600 so far for the Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice, which helped Christopher when he was alive.
Christopher had been diagnosed with a rare brain condition called Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum before he was born.
He then faced a number of problems in his young life, including a club foot, cleft palate, epilepsy, low muscle tone, a poor suck and swallow reflex and impaired vision. Despite spending time in and out of hospital, the tot began to thrive, something which Laura says was aided by attending Fiona’s Sling Swing classes, at which parents and children take part in mild exercise and dancing in carriers.
“I often think about our time at Sling Swing and smile when certain songs play on the radio,” she said
“Music and dancing was a big part of Christopher’s life, he loved it.
“It helped him in ways that you couldn’t imagine.
“Music is fantastic for helping trigger the brain and music therapy is often used for those with brain abnormalities.
“Having him in the sling was improving his core muscles and he gained so much from being in it.”
But after contracting pneumonia while in hospital for a simple operation, Christopher often caught and struggled to shift chest infections.
Then one day in November 2016, he woke up struggling to breathe and was taken to hospital, but despite the best efforts of medics, he died.
Since then his mum Laura has been determined to raise money and awareness for the hospice, something which Fiona is happy to help with.
“In his short little life he spent a lot of time at the Forget Me Not Hospice,” she said.
“They provided him with respite care, attended hospital appointments, helped write his care plans and took him overnight.
“They also took him out on day trips, gave Laura’s daughters days out and offered Laura and her husband Richard respite when they needed it the most.
“Christopher attended therapy every week, alongside Sling Swing and he had just mastered rolling. He started to lift his head and was attempting to commando crawl - all things doctors had said were impossible.”
“It was absolutely devastating,” Fiona said of hearing that Christopher had passed away. “There were times when she wouldn’t come every week and I’d wonder if there was something wrong.
“But she’d message me saying he’d had a bad time and been in hospital but that they’d both be coming back in.
“But when she messaged me to say he’d died it was just a complete shock. It was heartbreaking.
“All the mums in the class felt the same.”