A mum who lost her son to a genetic condition when he was only two-years-old has set up a charity to support others. Nikke Hewitt depended on Disability Living Allowance and Carers’ Allowance to survive while giving round the clock care for Edward ‘Teddy’ Hewitt.

When he tragically died the allowances also stopped, leaving her grief-stricken and needing to find a source of income.

Nikke, of Eastwood, Essex had given up her job to care for him, but many parents or families don’t have the strength to get a job right after losing a child. It takes them longer to get a job or harder to keep the job they already had.

This, in turn, increases the pressure which is put upon them and as a result, they slip into a darker kind of depression, and then it’s an unending downward spiral.

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If a company forced a grieving parent back to work after two weeks, there would be an uproar, but because it’s a Government department, there’s no sympathy, no compassion for that person who’s just lost a child, they do as they want and simply toss them back into the lions den, and more awareness of this has to be raised.

Nikke was able to find work inside two weeks of Teddy passing away but she shouldn’t have had to because this mother lost her son, and there are many other families that have lost their child that are forced back to work by the relentless Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

How do they sleep at night, I’d be having nightmares for that family that had just lost their child, and shame on our government.

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Spurred by her own experience, and that of others, she chose to set up the Teddy Hewitt Foundation. The foundation will aim to lobby Government to alter its policy about removing benefits after a loved one dies.

Teddy’s father and Nikki’s partner, Richard Hewitt, is also taking part in a charity cycle ride from Little Havens in Benfleet, Essex to Amsterdam to raise money for the children’s hospice. They gave Teddy astounding care and love throughout their stays at the hospice in Benfleet, Essex, and they were incredible through Teddy’s final days with and the aftercare and help that was received will never be forgotten by the family.

Donate at: gofundme.com/little-havens-to-amsterdam-ride

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Nikke Hewitt gave up full-time work to look after her son, and when he died, the money stopped spontaneously, there was no leeway what so ever. Nikke was required to return to work straight away. It takes a long time to grieve when somebody dies, it doesn’t matter who it is, but when it’s child the adjustment can take a long time, and those that have never lost a child could never possibly understand, it’s not like your pet dying and your sad for a few weeks and then you get over it, the loss of a child never leaves you, and when you do feel a little relief from it, you then end up feeling guilty that you did something for yourself.

There needs to be a period of help for parents to adjust back to a normal life before returning to work, and also some kind of bereavement counselling for parents that’s free to the point of need.

A parent that has given up their job to look after a child that has been ill for a long time and then dies is really difficult, they not only have to learn to deal with the death of that child but then has to fill that vacuum because that void has been filled for years with looking after that child. Just going back to work is not always the answer, and everybody copes in varying ways, but whatever way they cope, they also need support.

As I said anybody that’s never lost a child would have no idea whatsoever, it’s not like losing your dog because that child is your flesh and blood, the parent has looked after the child who has bee poorly for years, all day, every day, giving round the clock care, medications, and they might also have other children to look after as well.

Anybody that has lost a child needs a certain amount of grieving period, there’s the funeral to sort out, and also the money to find for that, it’s all part of that grieving period. Not only that, she gave up a perfectly decent job to look after her son and depending on how long a person is out of work, it might be pretty difficult to get back into the workplace because of the amount of time they’ve been out of work.

When someone loses a spouse they become a widow, when a child loses a parent they become an orphan, but when a parent loses a child they get nothing to help with that. Both a widow or orphan would get support from our government, so why not a parent?

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