ECHO is facing serious financial difficulty because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, while simultaneously we are witnessing a huge increase in requests for help and the number of people eligible for our support has doubled.
Children from across other London hospitals will be treated by Evelina London’s Cardiac Team – as they arrive many will be faced with less support due to limited visitor numbers, and may feel isolated as volunteers and support teams are unable to arrange face to face visits. Lots of our members are facing uncertain times ahead with planned surgeries and appointments postponed or cancelled. Pregnant mothers are unable to access our specialist cardiac classes and will be facing worrying months in the lead up to delivery and treatment.
As we face this crisis we know what we need to do: support those who need us, answer calls for help, connect worried families, offer information, signposting and guidance.
We want to work in the way we always have – with members at the heart of what we do.
Around 70% of our income comes from people like you fundraising independently through activities such as running/cycling challenges, spectacular dinners and dances and all sorts of wonderful, wacky and fun things to do to raise money – this has all now stopped.
Whilst we understand why, we are facing the largest gap in funding we have had in the 36 years we have been operating. If this doesn’t change ECHO may cease to exist.
Now more than ever our community is reaching out for support, and we want to ensure we are there for every family who needs us.
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Sofia's story: How ECHO makes a difference
We found out there was a problem with my son Finch’s heart at our 12 week scan (your first scan in pregnancy) which is obviously the news that no expecting parent wants to hear.
After close monitoring, unfortunately on one of our scans we got told our baby’s condition had deteriorated and that serious medical intervention would be needed as soon as he was born. This is then when we were introduced to ECHO and transferred over to the Evelina Children’s Hospital, London for all future scans.
ECHO helped me from the very first contact we had with them. We attended the ECHO Antenatal Class, they went through every step of the way of what will happen during our birth – and there is an ECHO Facebook group where we all can ask for advice and just support each other as a community. There were pregnant mummies on there who I spoke with that were expecting the same time as me.
We all built such a nice relationship beforehand which gave us all such comfort and made the hospital not such a scary and lonely place, and are all still in contact today.
When Finch was born, he wasn’t stable and needed immediate care from the resus time who were already in the delivery room on standby. I got to hold my baby for a matter of seconds before he was taken away from me and taken straight to intensive care. This is where he stayed for nearly the first 3 weeks of his life.
If it wasn’t for the support we had from ECHO, friends and family then there is no way we would have remained as strong as we did throughout the pregnancy and the start of Finch’s life.