Go back a step

Ilham's story: Being part of inspiring journeys

Tuesday 23rd April 2019

Dinosaur Day is fast approaching - will you be joining our biggest bake sale yet this 19th June?

Every penny you raise can have a huge impact and will help us continue to offer support though projects like By Your Side, which aims to reach families who have a child in hospital.

Join us for some roar-some and delicious fun and help us be there for families.

Here, our parent volunteer Ilham tells us how she got involved in our By Your Side Project and what a difference it can make to families.

My name is Ilham, mother of a beautiful girl with ongoing conditions thus a constant user of Contact's services and I'm one of the volunteers at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) and Evelina Hospital.

As an immigrant, you leave your home, people and culture for a better life, for love or both. Sometimes you are unfortunate and you fail to achieve any of those dreams, you end up homeless, a single parent of a baby with special needs.

The support I've received then wasn't to catch me from falling, it was to revive what was left of me. Contact empowered me to be the person I am today, last summer when my daughter was diagnosed for the second time with a mental disorder it wasn't only tears and fear like the first time 9 years ago. I felt determination and perseverance to overcome the new challenge. I knew I had Contact by my side!

At the hospital I meet families from all walks of life. From the working couple, who think because they're both working, they are not entitled to any support. The shy ones, who are too proud to admit needing help. And of course those who lost faith in public bodies and doubt in every word you say. My input is to restore trust in services by sharing my own successes and failures, offer opportunities for families to spend quality time together and most of all to offer much needed time to listen to them to generate hope and faith.

It gives me immense joy to read families feedback or meet them to witness their successes stories. Like a woman who visited us few weeks ago at GOSH to shares pictures of a happy little girl in a lovely home close to her family. Three years ago, right after delivery, her baby was admitted at GOSH suffering big complications due to a rare condition. She was shocked, worried and confused, her mum finished each of her sentences. We explained to her her entitlement after leaving her job, offered her links to support groups and most of all available grants to move closer to her family.

All the statistics, facts and created services are in vain if they don't reach families. By Your Side is a unique service, right where families spend their most vulnerable moments of their life, to link them with vital support. I'm hugely honoured to be associated with a great project that allows me to be part of inspiring journeys. 

Help us continue projects like By Your Side by taking part in Dinosaur Day!

We need your help to continue reaching families with vital advice, information and support.  

Dinosaur Day takes place on Wednesday 19th June and getting involved is easy: organise a dinosaur or prehistoric themed bake sale and donate the funds raised. We have a roar-some and inspiring fundraising pack full of recipes, dinosaur masks and stickers, and much more to ensure your bake sale is a roaring success!

Sign up to Dinosaur Day today!