We wish to extend a big thank you to Dan Saunders from Redrow plc

Dan is a solicitor, based at their HQ in Ewloe and nominated the hospices to become Redrow’s Group Services Charity of the Year 2023 – a move that was backed and approved by his colleagues.

For Dan and fiancé Nicole, there was a very special and personal reason behind him making the nomination – his own son, Oliver, 4, enjoys occasional respite stays at the charity’s Conwy site, having been born with an extremely rare genetic condition.

(L-R) Dan, Nancy, Oliver and Nicole Saunders at home

Oliver's journey

Dan said: “Oliver was born at 30 weeks and needed help with his breathing.

“He was in intensive care for 4 months from birth and was being monitored closely.”

It was there that doctors noticed that he was not following the normal pattern of a typical premature baby and tests found that Oliver had the very rare DYRK1A Syndrome.

It was also discovered that Oliver was blind.

Oliver has faced 11 surgeries since his birth including heart surgery at six weeks old. Oliver is  tube fed and on a feeding machine for up to 20hrs a day. However, his care needs often see both parents up throughout the night.

Nicole and Oliver Saunders

New experiences

When Oliver was two and a half, the family decided to contact Tŷ Gobaith to see how they could help.

Dan continued: “As most parents will understand, it felt like a massive step to take Oliver for respite and we had to get out of that mind set of what we thought a hospice would be like. We know we shouldn’t feel guilty when Oliver is at the hospice, but it is very difficult not to.

“Not only do our visits give Oliver new experiences but they give us a chance to relax and do normal family things. For example, with our daughter Nancy that we may otherwise be unable to do as those things may not be suitable for Oliver.

“We’re growing in confidence using the hospice now and the staff and facilities are wonderful.

“Oliver especially enjoys the sensory room.”

Oliver plays with his sensory toys

The partnership with Redrow will see staff from their headquarters in Ewloe, hosting fundraising events throughout the year such as a cake sales, a tuck shop, staff quiz nights and even taking up a variety of volunteering opportunities.