Leeds mum whose toddler son died suddenly is facing painful fundraising challenge

The mum of a toddler who died suddenly and unexpectedly is not allowing her badly broken ankle to get in the way of a fundraising challenge to help other bereaved parents.

By Mark Lavery
Wednesday, 30th December 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 30th December 2020, 5:50 pm
Andrea and John Kerslake.

Photo: Tony Johnson
Andrea and John Kerslake. Photo: Tony Johnson

Andrea Kerslake and her husband John, of Shadwell, started child bereavement charity Elliot’s Footprint after finding there was no support after their two-and-a-half-year-old son Elliot died in his sleep in March 2013.

Fundraising for Elliot's Footprint was launched in March 2014 and the first families were helped in 2019.

The charity has helped pay for a bereavement worker to give emotional and practical support to more than 30 families who have suffered the sudden death of a child.

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Elliot Kerslake

In September, Andrea, 51, of Shadwell, slipped while walking her dog and broke her right ankle in three places.

She had to undergo an operation to instert steel plates and a pin in the broken ankle

Andrea will be wearing a surgical boot and using crutches to tackle the Run4All Jog On 2020 Half Marathon challenge to raise cash for Elliot’s Footprint.

She has set herself the challenge of walking 13 and a half miles between December 26 and January 6, finishing just in time for her second ankle operation in the New Year.

Elliot Kerslake

Andrea said all money raised will go directly into funding a family bereavement worker, who helps families in the immediate aftermath after their child has died.

When Elliot died his brother Oliver, 18, was aged ten and his sister Emily, 21, was aged 12.

Andrea said: "Your world stops when for everybody else it continues. We went from planning Elliot's third birthday to planning his funeral."

Andrea said she has spoken to a number of the bereaved families that Elliot's Footprint has helped.

She said: "For them it is a godsend that there is someone there who understands what they are going through and, crucially, can also help them with the practical impact of losing their child as well as the emotional impact."

Andrea said each mile of her fundraising walk will be painful and will take around an hour, adding: "I have probably bitten off more than I can chew, but if you are going to do a challenge you might as well do it properly.

"In three months time I will have forgotten about the pain and hopefully we will have raised some cash."

Andrea said Elliot's footprint needs to find more than £17,000 a year to fund 50 per cent of the cost of paying for a bereavement support worker.

Elliot's Footprint has also worked with Child Bereavement UK to help train staff and teachers at more than 100 schools across Leeds.

Click here to donate to Andrea's Just Giving page for her challenge.

Follow her progress on the Elliot’s Footprint Facebook Page, or go to www.elliotsfootprint.org