Windsor family take on 4th Santa Dash in memory of daughter

A Windsor family that sadly lost their daughter Sienna when she was only 12 years old will this year be taking part in their fourth Alexander Devine Santa Dash in her memory.

Each year Team Sienna has grown in numbers and Sienna’s parents Ann and Gavin Manley hope that this year, despite the virtual format that people will still want to take part wherever they live across Berkshire.

In the summer of 2015 the Manley family were given the devastating news that their precious daughter Sienna had been given the diagnosis of a very rare life-limiting illness. Alexander Devine supported the family, providing much-needed respite for Ann and Gavin, whilst also giving specialist play sessions to Sienna. As Sienna’s condition deteriorated, the Alexander’s Care Team provided end of life care, helping to keep Sienna comfortable at home with her family and then bereavement support.

Ann Manley said:

“I always remember hearing so much laughter from our brave Sienna during her play sessions in what was an extremely stressful and worrying time for us all. As time moved on, Sienna’s illness quickly progressed and Alexander Devine was able to give the special care and support Sienna needed to be able to stay at home with us where she was most comfortable.

 

Sienna always loved Christmas so when we first heard about the Santa Dash, we felt it was the perfect way to come together with our friends and family, remember our beautiful Sienna and raise vital funds for this incredible charity that gave the most outstanding care, support and guidance to us in our time in need.

This year with the new format, sadly Team Sienna cannot all run together. But this has made the Manley family more determined than ever to take part and raise as much money to help other families going through what they did:

“In previous years, some people that wanted to support us weren’t able make it to Windsor for the event. So actually we are hoping that this year it will be more convenient for a lot of people! We are trying to encourage others to sign up and choose a route round their local park or perhaps a walk around their village. Gavin and I are planning on doing a 5km route around Old Windsor village where Sienna lived and attended schools. With such a personal location, we feel it will be more poignant this year.”

Alexander Devine’s 8th annual festive fun is taking place on Sunday 29th November. In its new virtual format, it gives participants the opportunity to do the event their way. Households and support bubbles can suit up, choose their own 5km route and enjoy the Santa Dash wherever they live and still earn a snowflake medal.

Entry is £15, which includes a Santa Suit, fundraising pack and a medal (which we will be sent to participants after the event). If any children wish to take part, Reindeer Antlers can be purchased during for registration at £2.50 each.

Alexander Devine’s Direct of Fundraising, Harjit Bola, commented on the new format and why more than ever the charity needs people’s support:

“We know that many people love our annual Santa Dash due to its iconic location. However, we hope that this year the flexibility of our virtual format means that actually more people than before can sign up and together help us reach our fundraising target. This year, of all years, with the devastating impact of Covid-19 on our fundraising, we need the support of our local community. We have suffered a significant loss of revenue from cancelled events and activities so far this year. Income that we are reliant on to fund the lifeline services that we provide to families like the Manley’s.”

 

It is heartwarming to see the response to our Santa Dash so far. Indeed lockdown has encouraged some people to sign up and give them something to look forward to. We also have those who physically aren’t able to do a Santa Dash and are coming up with ways to do it their way – one brilliant supporter is planning on a three day stair climb challenge instead!”

To sign up for Alexander Devine’s Santa Dash, please visit https://register.enthuse.com/ps/event/AlexanderDevinesSantaDash2020

This year’s event is kindly sponsored by Leywood Estates Ltd and Horler Estate Agents.

Need our help?

The word hospice should not seem scary and getting support from us doesn’t have to mean a child’s death is imminent. Helping to enrich the lives of the children and their families is at the heart of our service, our end of life and bereavement support is just a part of what we do.

Our children’s hospice service covers the whole of Berkshire and the surrounding counties. Anyone can make a referral to Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice Service and if you think your child may be eligible for our services, please do get in touch.

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