Fundraising campaign for sick children will be lasting legacy of caring Burnley teenager Megan

Megan Haythornwhite who died after suffering a severe asthma attack in April. A drive she started to raise money to provide treats for children in hospital is being continued in her memory by her mum Claire.
Megan Haythornwhite who died after suffering a severe asthma attack in April. A drive she started to raise money to provide treats for children in hospital is being continued in her memory by her mum Claire.

A caring Burnley teenager's wish, to bring some comfort and treats to children in hospital, is being carried out by her mum, six months after her daughter's tragic death.

Megan Haythornwhite had already raised £1,500 for Manchester Children's Hospital through two fashion shows and she was planning more events.

Beautiful and caring Megan Haythornwhite's memory will live on thanks to her mum, Claire who is continuing her campaign to raise money for treats for children in hospital.

Beautiful and caring Megan Haythornwhite's memory will live on thanks to her mum, Claire who is continuing her campaign to raise money for treats for children in hospital.

A regular patient at Manchester and also the Royal Blackburn Hospital since she was diagnosed with asthma at the age of seven, Megan was moved when she saw many children who did not have toys, treats and even pyjamas of their own.

It was seeing these children that inspired Megan, who was a health and social studies student at Burnley College, to do something to help.

But the compassionate 18-year-old, whose ambition was to become a midwife, died after suffering a severe asthma attack in April this year.

She became ill while working as a waitress at the Queen Victoria pub in Burnley. She was rushed by ambulance to the Royal Blackburn Hospital but died 12 hours later in the critical care unit after her heart stopped.

The critical care team gave Megan CPR and fought for two hours to save her life.

Megan's mum, Claire (39) said: "The asthma attack lasted over 12 hours and left Megan totally exhausted and short of oxygen.

"The critical care team did everything they could to save my daughter, they were fantastic and I cannot praise or thank them enough for what they did that day."

Claire and her husband Mick were able to carry out Megan's wish to have her organs donated and after her funeral the couple, still numb with grief, tried to put the pieces of their lives back together.

Although she tried to continue to run her own tearoom in Burnley town centre, Claire found it too much and decided to close the business.

She said: "I had some lovely loyal customers who I still see now. They were so caring and wonderful but I just couldn't carry on running the business, it was making me ill."

It was when she started thinking about Megan, who was a former pupil at Blessed Trinity RC College, and how she was so passionate about helping poorly children that Claire came up with the idea of continuing her daughter's work.

With support of family and friends, Megan's Wishes was launched on October 21st, poignantly what would have been Megan's 19th birthday.

Since then the campaign has flourished with donations and fund raising ventures. Claire's sister, Amy Dahl, of St Helens, is to compete in 18 different runs throughout the next year to raise money.

Each one represents a year of Megan's life. Amy will be joined by Megan's cousin, Oliver Dahl (eight) for some of the smaller runs.

And this weekend Claire will host a Christmas party at Mavericks bar in Burnley town centre for around 30 youngsters. All ticket sales and proceeds from the party will go towards festive gifts and treats for children who will be waking up in hospital on Christmas morning.

Claire plans to visit the children's ward on Christmas Eve with 50 gift bags packed with goodies for the children and also sweets, cakes and chocolates for the nurses.

Donations of items to keep children occupied and take their minds off their illness, such as colouring books and pencils and small gifts are still needed.

Claire said: "People say to me that they don't know how I do it, how I keep going but you just have to.

"Knowing that this is something that Megan would have wanted is such a comfort because it is keeping her memory alive.

"Megan was a quiet girl but so brave and everyone used to tell us how polite and caring she was.

"She was a loyal friend and she was always thinking of others and the pain they were going through even when she was poorly."

Claire also hopes that Megan's Wishes will raise awareness of asthma and how serious and potentially fatal it can be. She added: "I know that Megan felt self conscious at school using an inhaler but we need to stress to children how important it is when you suffer from asthma."

For more information you can visit Megan's Wishes page on facebook.