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Elliot’s legacy lives on through his Shed: helping children for years to come

DSO has opened a resources store for local children with Down’s Syndrome – an initiative made possible thanks to a family fundraising in memory of their two-year son who died of leukaemia two years ago.

Elliot's Shed will contain free, specialist equipment to borrow which are crucial for children with Down's Syndrome’s daily lives but which is expensive to buy for our children. You can borrow it to try it out before you spend the money to buy your own. Or you can borrow it and return it when your child doesn't need it anymore. Examples of equipment in Elliot's Shed are: trikes, Breezi chairs, Tripp Trapp chairs, buggies, sensory play equipment and hopefully lots more.

The Shed was donated to Down’s Syndrome Oxford by Kat and Seth Cornfield from Nettlebed, whose two-year-old son Elliot, who had Down’s Syndrome, passed away in 2015 following a long battle with leukaemia. Thousands of pounds have been raised in Elliot’s memory for some of the charities that he benefited from, including Helen House Children's Hospice, Oxford Children’s Hospital and Clic Sargent. Then, a year ago, 92 of his friends raised almost £10,000 for DSO by taking part in the Vision Wild Run.

Kat Cornfield said, “DSO is our local charity that continues to support Elliot's many friends. It helped Elliot make the most of what he could do – which was everything and anything! – and supported us when we could have felt isolated and alone.” She said, “Right from birth, Elliot was a calm, smiley and charismatic person. He was a dream baby and despite our worries for his future, he was perfect.”

Elliot was diagnosed with leukaemia aged 17 months old.  “He cruised through his treatment with strength and determination, and without fear. He never lost his cheekiness and learnt to walk, sign and get into trouble like any other nearly two-year-old. We had a fantastic summer together.”

After relapsing in September 2014, Elliot passed away in March 2015, aged two and a half. “He spent his last few months living life to the full – he felt well most of the time and we made the most of every minute with our happy little boy.”

Kat added, “Elliot was inspiring. His extra chromosome was a gift to us and to him, and his legacy continues. We continue to see how many hearts and minds he had touched, and how many attitudes he’d changed.” Kat and Seth have two other children: Chloe (age six) and Reuben (age one).

Sarah Fonge, from DSO, whose six-year-old son Arthur has Down’s Syndrome, said, “I was there when the idea for the Shed was born and saw the light in Kat’s eyes at the prospect of a project in Elliot’s memory. Its aim is to remove yet another piece of paperwork for a family and hopefully to enable our members to access resources. Children with Down’s Syndrome often have to wait for specialist equipment. Something like a special buggy can mean a family going out together or not.”

Sarah added, “There are grants available for families to apply for but some items may not be right for the child. Specialist sensory toys are expensive and not easily accessible to a lot of our families. With Elliot’s Shed, a family can try before they buy or apply.”