Welfare breaks

Friday 22nd March 2019

When a child is hospitalised all you want to focus on is them – that’s where the RAF Benevolent Fund can step in and provide extra support to get families through the tough times.

For Sgt Paul Wallace and his family, the tough times began in 2005 when his eldest son diagnosed with a deformed skull or plagiocephaly. Leo, then just 12 months old, needed hospital care for 12 weeks while he received treatment. The Fund were able to help with the costs of having a special helmet made to treat his condition.

Then 13 years later his older sister Alexandra was told she had a cyst on her liver. Although a worrying time for the family, doctors initially thought the treatment would be straightforward. But after removing the growth and performing tests they discovered it was in fact a very rare form of tumour.

Sgt Wallace, who is a trainee development coordinator at RAF Cosford, explained:

“My wife Jayne is a self-employed hairdresser so when she had to take time off to care for Alexandra, she wasn’t earning. We were facing substantial costs, especially affording the parking fees and petrol costs for regular trips to the hospital in Birmingham, and that’s where the Fund stepped in.

“They made a financial grant to support us through those few months which made all the difference. We didn’t have to worry about anything apart from Alexandra. As a family we are really grateful to the Fund for all they have done.”

Alexandra has since made a full recovery and went on to gain 10 A-C grade GCSEs. But taking time out for treatment has meant she has had to start her A-levels a year later.

The family have also enjoyed some time together during a welfare break organised by the Fund.

Paul added:

“When life got tough the Fund was there to ease our burden. Their support meant we could concentrate on getting our kids well again rather than worrying about other things. The welfare break was the icing on the cake and the perfect way for our family to enjoy some time away from it all.”

How to apply for a welfare break

Image: Sgt Paul Wallace, his wife Jayne and their children Alexandra and Leo. Photo: RAF Benevolent Fund.

See also: Military support organisations

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