In February 2012 Rhian Mannings had just returned to work as a P.E. teacher after having her youngest son George when tragedy struck her family. George died suddenly with no sign of illness in the Royal Glamorgan Hospital, Llantrisant on the 22nd February. Just days later Paul, her husband and the Father to her three children, took his own life traumatised by the loss of their son.
The tragedy of experiencing the sudden death of a child was compounded by the situation Rhian and her husband found themselves in at the hospital, having nowhere to privately grieve and say goodbye to their son. The family were offered no support and were left to deal with the loss of both Paul and George alone.
Motivated by a desire to ensure others would not have the same devastating experience after losing a child suddenly in hospital, Rhian set up the child bereavement charity ‘2 Wish Upon a Star’. To date the charity has raised over £1,500,000 exclusively from small public donations and local fundraising and 2 Wish Upon A Star is now an All Wales organisation helping hundreds of families every year who experience sudden and traumatic loss.
2 Wish Upon A Star supports anyone effected by the unexpected and often traumatic death of a child or young adult aged 25 and under. They are an All Wales organisation, working directly with every health board and police force here in Wales.
· Ensure every hospital in Wales has a suitable bereavement suite for bereaved families
· Ensure that bereavement boxes are available for families at each of these hospitals following a sudden death of a child or young adult
· Ensure that immediate bereavement support is available for suddenly bereaved families at the time of death or shortly following.
· Provide a professional counselling service for those effected by the sudden death of a child or young adult
· Provide support to individuals who witness the sudden and traumatic death of a child or young adult
· Provide staff support following the sudden and unexpected death of a child or young adult.
Rhian is also very passionate about mental health and regularly speaks about her own struggles since losing her boys. She took part in a BBC documentary in 2017 ‘Mind Over Marathon’ raising awareness of mental health and speaks out about mental health in men and following sudden bereavement.
Rhian now works full time at 2 Wish Upon A Star and is determined that every family in Wales who loses a child suddenly receives the support they truly deserve. The love and pride for her boys, along with her drive to succeed has seen the charity flourish and as a result Rhian has been recognised for her hard work on a number of occasions:
- Halifax Giving Extra Award 2014 Winner
- WCVA Volunteer of the Year Award 2014 Highly Commended
- St David’s Award for Citizenship 2015 Winner
- Prime Ministers Point of Light Award 2015 Winner
- Leadership in the Voluntary Sector Award 2015 Highly Commended
- Chwarae Teg Womenspire Award 2016 Winner
- MIND Speaking Out Award 2017 Winner
- Cwm Taf Health Board Honorary Star Award 2017
- Pride of London Award 2018
- Dyfed Powys Police Pembrokeshire Partnership Award 2019
- Introbiz Charity Lead of the Year Winner 2019
2 Wish Upon A Star does not put a time on grief and can support anyone who has lost a child or a young adult 25 years and under at any point. They may have lost their child many years ago but it’s important we can offer parents and family members support when required and if it’s affecting their mental health.
They are a self-funded charity, which rely solely on community fundraisers and kind donations.
How the money is spent..
- £8 buys a ‘Gorgeous George’ Never Forget cuddly elephant for bereaved siblings.
- £10 pays for a set of pyjamas to clothe a child.
£35 pays for a one-to-one counselling session with a fully qualified, independent counsellor.
- £45 buys a Memory Box which are given to families and enable them to capture and cherish memories of their child forever.
- £45 pays for a monthly support group, such as; our Parent groups, Grandparent groups, All-Welcome Groups, and Focus Groups.
- £210 pays for one parent to receive our bereavement support.
To donate visit www.justgiving.com/2wishuponastar
If anyone needs support, please;
· Call their immediate support worker on 01443 853125
· Call the office Monday – Friday 9.30 – 4.30pm or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information visit 2wishuponastar.org