Today’s Empowered Woman is Laura Leverton
It’s the weekend, time to grab a cuppa or beverage of your choice and meet an empowered Woman who I am fortunate to have in my life.
Laura is an inspiring mum who, after being able to stay close by her son’s side after his admission to hospital in a different City chose her career helping other families in similar situations.
I first met Laura around 3 years ago at a networking event. She is authentic, funny and has a wonderful outlook that instantly makes you feel comfortable and holding a conversation with her is a breeze.
Only last week I was at a networking event and Laura was the guest speaker. She had a room full of women on the verge of tears as she authentically spoke of the service the charity provides.
I was so moved by her words and the work of the charity that I have decided to Run the Sheffield 10K at the end of October in aid of the Charity. Eeekkk Laura doesn’t know that. No one does! I haven’t
ran shuffled for a few months and haven’t shuffled 10K for around a decade. But I can do it and it will be worth it. Hold me to this Laura!
Not only is she a hardworking mum as all mums are! But in her job Laura helps provide a service for parents at what is probably the most vulnerable, scary and totally exhausting time in their life.
Over to Laura.
I am a (nearly) 36 year old mum of 2 boys aged 8 and 4. I am also the part-time Regional Fundraiser for The Sick Children’s Trust.
I imagine few or even none of you will have heard of them so I will explain later.
I am not a career fundraiser – fate brought me into this role.
I previously worked in the event booking industry (with a brief stint in a bank which I would rather forget).
Back in 2009 when my eldest son was 20 months old he suffered from Croup. Although it is a fairly common childhood illness that most children get over in a few days (and in fact he had in the past) we just knew he was really unwell. To keep the story as short as possible, he ended up being admitted to Chesterfield Royal Hospital, moved to the High Dependency Unit. Then needed to be intubated and transferred by ambulance to the Intensive Care Ward at Sheffield Children’s Hospital to receive assistance with his breathing.
He had Croup and Strep A and Strep Pneumonia and it was all too much for his little body to handle.
I was shocked when we arrived at Sheffield Children’s Hospital to find that there are no parent beds available on the Critical Care Wards, although I later saw why it was so important to keep the bed spaces clear. It would have taken roughly 40 minutes to drive home, not to mention how long we could have spent trying to park on our return and to be honest I didn’t want to be away from my son at all.
We were lucky to be offered a room in Treetop House – a “Home from Home” on top of the hospital run by The Sick Children’s Trust. We didn’t have to ever be more than 2 minutes away from Harry’s bedside yet we could eat, sleep, shower, wash clothes – and yes that is also where I went to cry out of sight.
We ended up staying for almost 2 weeks because when Harry was recovering and breathing on his own he suffered from a bowel perforation (nobody is quite sure why) and ended up in Emergency surgery. I guess that is when the “fate” began.
We should have been returning to Chesterfield Royal Hospital for recovery but the nurse forgot to book the transfer. It was that evening while still hooked up to the monitors in ICU that the perforation occurred and the doctors said that if we were not there when it happened, he probably would not have made it.
Being so close to Harry during this time meant the world to us, we were so grateful to The Sick Children’s Trust.
My husband decided to organise a fundraising ball, it was a risk booking a venue without knowing if people would come but we have now done 7 and they sell out. I sent my CV to the charity asking them to consider me if there were any vacancies in Sheffield. I knew it would be rewarding work.
2 years later the Regional Fundraiser position came up and I was approached.
I love my work, it is as rewarding as I thought. Knowing I am helping other families at the worst times of their lives. I used to be nervous speaking in public but my passion for the cause gets me through. Asking people for money is not easy but I remind myself that I am asking on behalf of the parents who can’t ask because they are busy helping their child to recover.
I am lucky, the job is part time which still gives me time to spend with my children.
It won’t make me financially rich but it makes me rich in so many other ways.
Being a working mum isn’t easy. Thankfully I have the most amazing parents who live near by and the boys have attended a lovely nursery and school has an after school club. I work from home usually so I can do most of the school drop offs. I don’t like to work when the children are at home – they are too distracting (well the 4 year old is). My employer and I are flexible with each other, a bit of give and take goes a long way (and my parents enable me to work sometimes on my usual days off). I can’t imagine there are many employers who support staff being there when their kids are ill like mine do!
It can be a really emotional job. Working for The Sick Childrens Trust.
I meet families and read case studies that bring tears to my eyes but in some ways that does me good, it reminds me how lucky I am and makes me count my blessings.