News | Union employee walks miles in son's memory

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News | Union employee walks miles in son's memory

Union employee Andrea Kerslake walked 82 miles on the Dales Way last week in memory of her two year old son Elliot, who tragically died earlier this year.

Together with several friends, Andrea, who works in the Student Advice Centre, walked for five and a half days to raise funds for the charity they are setting up in Elliot’s memory to be called Elliot’s Footprint.

Elliot passed away in March from a Cerebral Oedema caused by Encephalitis and a benign brain tumour. Andrea said: “He just went for his afternoon sleep and didn’t wake up, there was no sign he was ill. All he had was a runny nose.”

Following Elliot’s death, Andrea and her husband John and children struggled to find bereavement support in Leeds and they now want to make sure that other parents don’t have to go through a similar ordeal.

Speaking to LS, Andrea explained: “when we speak to professionals working in the field they say that bereavement support services are the first to disappear when budgets are squeezed”. We want to set up a central website for parents who have lost a child so suddenly and unexpectedly to go to and find support in an online community. We would also like to fund research to find out what bereavement support families need.”

John and Andrea were forced to wait 15 weeks to be told the cause of Elliot’s death and told LS that “we feel that the process sometimes lacked the human approach and forgot about the feelings of parents involved. It was important to us that Elliot was seen as our little boy and not just a file number.”

Along with their two other children Emily and Oliver, the couple are trying to raise £5, 000 to get the website up and running and have many more fundraising activities planned. To donate to ‘Elliot’s Footprint’, go to elliotsfootprintfundraising.webs.com or e-mail Andrea for more information at a.kerslake@leeds.ac.uk

Rehema Figueiredo

(Image Property of Elliot’s Footprint)

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