Toddler born with cleft lip and palate inspires family to take on Walk for Wards

Three-year-old Erin Goddard, who was born with a cleft lip and palate, has inspired her family to raise money to support other children being treated at Salisbury District Hospital.

The Goddard family are going to be supporting the Hospital’s Spires Cleft Centre and Sarum Children’s Ward at Walk for Wards on Sunday, July 9 at Wilton House.

Erin was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate, and has been cared for at the Spires Cleft Centre at the Hospital. The centre is a specialist unit caring for children with cleft lip and/or palate, which is a gap or split in the upper lip and/or the roof of the mouth.

Her mum Amanda said: “Erin was diagnosed at our 20-week scan. It was a very scary and stressful time full of tests and lots of scans but immediately we were offered the opportunity to speak with a cleft nurse from the team and given much needed reassurance and support.

“Erin has so far had three operations, each lasting up to six hours and thankfully each was just an overnight stay. She’s doing so well, her speech is a little delayed, but it’s coming with the help of the speech therapists.”

After her operations Erin has stayed overnight with her mum on Sarum Children’s Ward.

“The caring staff took time to make us feel important and not just another patient even throughout lockdowns and staff pressures,” added Amanda, from Stalbridge in Dorset, who will be doing the 5k walk with her husband Matthew and their daughters Erin and 10-year-old Faye.

“We are so grateful for all of the support we have had and will continue to have in the future. We continue to have amazing support from all of the Cleft team and know that whenever we have any issues the support is there.”

The Stars Appeal also fund new equipment, along with enhancements to the décor and furnishings at the Spires Cleft Centre and Sarum Children’s Unit to ensure children are treated in a bright, welcoming and child-friendly environment.

It also provides accommodation and pulldown beds so parents can stay by their child’s bedside.

Amanda, who took part in Walk for Wards with her two daughters last year, said: “It is such a great day out and being amongst so many others that also wish to show their support for Salisbury District Hospital in a beautiful setting is quite emotional and humbling.

“It’s a privilege to be able to show our support for both Spires Cleft Centre and Sarum Ward and feel like we’re giving back and directly helping cleft babies in the future.”

Walk for Wards is free to enter and includes lunch and entry to Wilton House gardens afterwards. Walkers can do either the 3k, 5k or 10k route and are encouraged to raise a minimum of £20 for their chosen ward or department.

Helena Sinclair, of the Stars Appeal, added: “This year marks the 75th anniversary of the NHS and Walk for Wards is a great way to say thank you to the staff here at the Hospital by raising money for the ward or department that cared for you or your loved ones.”

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