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Thomas May features in Chestnut Tree House TV advert

Wednesday 21 December 2016

Chestnut Tree House is thrilled to announce our corporate supporter Willmott Dixon has made and donated a TV advert to us.

This has given us an opportunity to try out television advertising, in the Sussex area, during January, which financially can be a difficult time of year for us. The advert will hopefully help us reach a new audience.

thomas-mayThe advert features sixteen old Thomas May from Worthing, who has Cornelia de Lange Syndrome.  He was diagnosed with the condition about a week after birth.  His parents, Debbie and Jim, didn’t know if Thomas would survive.  It is a very rare condition and the prognosis wasn’t good. They were told that the syndrome would affect Thomas’s growth and that he would never smile, walk or speak, that he would be prone to infections and that he would be unlikely to reach his 10th birthday.

Over the years, because of his condition, Thomas has had to have around 14 operations including eye surgery, repairs to his stomach and oesophagus and a gastrostomy.

The family were first introduced to Chestnut Tree House in 2003 and, after an initial visit from the Community Team, they started receiving care in their own home and Thomas attended some of the hospice’s activity days.  They started coming to stay overnight in 2004, initially just for a couple of nights and then building up to longer stays as Thomas got to know the House and the Care Team.

Said Debbie, “It’s about building trust and handing over responsibility.  The more Thomas visits Chestnut Tree House, the more the staff get to know him. When Thomas goes in for respite care, it makes a huge difference to us and we can go away ourselves without having any worries about him.”

“He loves swimming in the pool and relaxing in the sensory room, “said Debbie, “and he thrives on the social side, the interaction with the staff.  He loves having baths and playing on the swings in the garden and thoroughly enjoys cooking with the chef.  It really is a home from home!”

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Thomas and Debbie for featuring in the advert, and to Willmott Dixon for their very generous support.

You can watch a longer two-minute version of the film below.