A terrible tragedy is spurring a Fleetwood grandmother on to raise awareness of a charity which has been a lifeline for her and her family.
Donna Grisenthwaite, 44, has just had her head shaved to commemorate what would have been the first birthday of her only grandchild, Dalton, who died suddenly and unexpectedly on September 18 last year aged just six months old.
Donna, of Crake Avenue, on the town’s West View estate, wants to raise funds and also raise awareness of the Snow Drop Centre, which is run by Blackpool charity Donna’s Dreamhouse and provides bereavement counselling for families who have experienced the death of a child.
On Friday night she had her hair shaved off at the Head Start salon on Chatsworth Avenue, West View and on the night customers helped her raise £159 – but she expects the total fund will reach £1,300 by the end of this month, thanks to pledges of support.
She said: “The Snowdrop Centre has saved us so I want to help them. They do a brilliant job.
“My head feels a bit cold now but I’ll get used to it!”
Dalton spent his short life living with Donna, husband Wayne, also 44 and their 24 year old son Luke, the baby’s dad, who is separated from the boy’s mother.
On the day he died, Donna and civil servant Wayne were on holiday in Benidorm, Spain and Luke was looking after him.
But the family’s world was turned upside down when Luke’s sister Sophie called round early in the morning as usual to see Dalton, and found he had stopped breathing. She woke up Luke and then frantically called for an ambulance then phoned Donna – but it was too late to save the baby, despite desperate efforts by a neighbour to resuscitate him.
Donna was in her hotel room in Spain when she received the awful phone call and she caught the first flight home.
Dalton’s death was unexplained and the details have been passed to the West Lancashire Coroner’s office.
Mum-of-four Donna, who had been working at Blackpool Victoria Hospital’s sterilisation department, said: “Since Dalton died we’ve all been affected. He was my first and only grandson.
“I still have some days when I feel anxious and I struggle to leave the house. I’ve been on sick leave since September. It’s knocked us all for six but the Snow Drop Centre have been brilliant.
“I can honestly that without their help and counselling, we would never have coped. They are angels sent from, heaven.
“I just want to thank all the people who have helped me raise this money.”
After little Dalton died, his funeral was held at St Mary’s Church, Fleetwood, on October 5.
The Snow Drop Centre is run by charity Donna’s Dream House with NHS Trust Blackpool bereavement counsellor Michelle Bolland.
For information visit: www.donnasdreamhouse.co.uk/pages/snow.html or phone (01253) 752222.