Help a family reunite

by Sarah Lester in Fordingbridge, England, United Kingdom

Help a family reunite


£5,500 target 9 days left
12% 22 supporters
Flexible funding – this project will receive all pledges made by 5th November 2020 at 4:08pm

We are a heartbroken family torn apart by circumstance and want to use “Help a family reunite” as a platform to raise the funds to help ...

by Sarah Lester in Fordingbridge, England, United Kingdom

We are a heartbroken family torn apart by circumstance and want to use “Help a family reunite” as a platform to raise the funds to help us reunite. We are a mum, dad and severely cerebral palsied son. Raising £5500 pounds is the target to cover all costs.Craig, Sarah and James  Description automatically generated

James excited to be going onwalkSarah arrived in the UK in February 2020 and found work as a carer prior to COVID and has worked throughout the pandemic. Craig was retrenched and has been caring for 5 year old Cerebral Palsy son James in South Africa. It has been over eight months since Sarah has seen Craig or James. It has been traumatic to leave her five year old James, and head off to a new country without her son or husband. The plan was for James and Craig to follow Sarah to the UK. Unfortunately due to circumstances and COVID, this has not been possible. It is unlikely that we will be able to get to the UK much before May or June 2021. Because Craig was retrenched he and James have had to move in with Sarah’s retired parents. It has been hard on our family as we can only communicate via phone/ video call. Missing all those hugs and kisses.

James needs to see a specialist in South Africa and could require surgery and it is imperative that James be with his mother during this time. Sarah, too is desperate to be with her little boy as eight months is a long time for both her and James to be apart.Raising 5500 pounds would cover flights for Sarah to and from South Africa and any costs that are likely to occur with her visit. Sarah’s carer position is currently our only income. She gets paid only for the time that she is working. Any leave taken whether it be sick leave or holiday leave is unpaid. She therefore needs to cover her rent, and all living expenses while she is away.

James has dyskinetic cerebral palsy, and contrary to most children with the condition, he does not suffer predominantly from spasticity or hypertonia, but is hypotonic. He requires 24 hour care and companionship. James has very low muscle tone and is more “floppy” than rigid.  He has never been able to roll over, sit up, crawl, walk or speak.  He will never be able to walk, talk or feed himself. He does understand us, James Christeningand can communicate basically by putting his hand over something he wants or using the iPad and a head pointer.  James was going to school before COVID. Since then he has been unable to attend school as he requires a carer to accompany him. Due to our financial circumstances it is not possible for us to employ a carer. James has been hospitalised on many occasions with bronchial pneumonia and various chest infections.  The intercostal muscles in his chest have very low tone and cannot expel an infection as the average person would.


1602096313_1602096293652.jpegAlthough James has many disabilities he is an adorable little person.  He loves having stories read to him, and Julia Donaldson’s The Gruffalo and Room on a broom are his absolute best.   He is a ‘TVholic’.  “Kung Fu Panda”, “Finding Nemo” and “Hey Duggee” are Jamie’s all time favourite movies and TV programmes.  He loves his Grandparents.  James loves sitting in the garden watching Grandpa gardening and snuggling on Grandpas lap watching sport.  Jamie is the most content, happy little boy and just loves to be with his family.

1602096331_1602096293696.jpegJames has undergone many operations, including a major hip operation and two operations for herniations and having gastric procedures.  He has had a gastrostomy where a “peg’’ or ‘’mic-key’’ port was inserted so he can be fed via a feeding tube.  He is in a special wheelchair and needs different equipment to aid him with his condition.

Sarah desperately wants to fly back to see her family especially her beloved little boy, but it is financially impossible. This is an appeal to you all to please help our family to be together for a short period before Sarah has to return to England.  Any amount that you could put towards this trip would be appreciated from the very bottom of our hearts.

Craig has committed to walk 4 km with James in his wheelchair each day during the crowdfunding period. This is to show commitment in receiving the pledges from the people that we hope will support us. 

Sarah and Craig are desperate to have their family reunited as they have now been apart for eight months.  Sarah was James’s primary care giver for years and has never been parted from him like this.  This family is battling emotionally being separated in this way.


Our aim is to move to the UK in the near future. And here is some background information on Sarah and Craig

Sarah studied law in South Africa and completed her articles but due to the birth of James was unable to practice. The UK practices English law and South Africa,  Roman Dutch. A “bridging” course would be required for Sarah to practice law in the UK. She is still unable to find work in the legal profession and supports herself and her family with her current job.  

Craig has a BSc (Sport Science) from Stellenbosch University. He has qualifications in NEBOSCH IGC and ISO Internal Auditing. He has worked for 10 years in the field of Health and Safety as a Safety Manager / Advisor. Due to retrenchment in January 2020 he has not been able to work since due to COVID and James needing 24 hour care. Craig has been trying on an ongoing basis to find employment in the UK. Until he receives his work permit the possibility of him being successful is unlikely. Craig would love to be able to find a position in the UK once he gets his work permit so that the family could be reunited. 

James Happy to see grampa 

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