Mum's plea to festive spirited Burnley people to back Christmas hamper appeal for dedicated NHS staff

A Burnley mum is calling on the festive spirit of people in her hometown to get behind her wish to treat the devoted NHS staff who battled to save her teenage son after he was struck down with sepsis.

Melanie Hunt is putting together Christmas food and treat hampers for the doctors and nurses at the two hospitals where her son, Ethan, was treated before he died in March last year aged just 16.

Melanie (centre) collects the first lot of donations for her NHS hamper appeal from Burnley Tesco store manager Caroline O'Hanlon (left) and community champion Billie-Jean Horne.

Melanie (centre) collects the first lot of donations for her NHS hamper appeal from Burnley Tesco store manager Caroline O'Hanlon (left) and community champion Billie-Jean Horne.

Burnley's Tesco store has started the ball rolling by donating two hampers packed with chocolates, biscuits, drinks, cakes and other goodies. These will be delivered to staff in the resuscitation and intensive care units at Blackburn Royal and the Cardiothoracic Critical Care Unit at Manchester's Wythenshawe Hospital.

Melanie and her husband Andrew are full of praise for staff at both hospitals for the whose care they said they 'could not fault.'

And they vowed to do something for the teams after discovering there are an incredible 260 staff working on the critical care unit at Wythenshawe.

She said: "There are 31 beds with two staff to each bed constantly.

Melanie and Andrew with their son Ethan and daughter Jodie.

Melanie and Andrew with their son Ethan and daughter Jodie.

"They will be working non stop throughout Christmas and New Year and, as they don't have a staff canteen they have to queue up with everyone else for their food and drinks.

"This really eats into their rest time so that's when I came up with the idea to collect food items they can quickly grab on their breaks."

Melanie is appealing for non perishable items including packet and tinned soups and meals, biscuits, snack food, cakes and boxes of chocolates. She is also asking for hot and cold drinks such as hot chocolate and bottles of juice.

Melanie added: "I know there are a lot of demands on families coming up to Christmas but we are hoping that as many people as possible will give something, even if it is just a packet of biscuits.

"These hampers are for our hard working NHS staff, who are there for all of us, and we never know when we may need them."

Ethan died a month after falling seriously ill. His parents, along with Ethan's older sister, Jodie, kept a constant vigil at his bedside where doctors placed him in an induced coma after he contracted the deadly sepsis bug, a life threatening condition that flares up when the body’s response to infection causes injury to its own tissues and organs.

Surgeons had to make the heartbreaking decision to amputate both of Ethan's legs as all the tissue had died.

The whole town was moved by the death of the bright, kind and sporty teenager who would spend hours riding all over Lancashire.

Ethan was a keen amateur photographer and had even set up his own photography website. He had two jobs, working a paper round and also in the executive lounge at Turf Moor, to save up for a new bike.

A Clarets fan, Ethan was also a big supporter of Manchester United and he had a passion for cars, especially sports cars. He was looking to pursue his dream to become a mechanical engineer working with Formula One cars.

In September a bench dedicated to the teenager was unveiled at Rowley beauty spot near Worsthorne which was one of Ethan's favourite places to go riding.

Fund raising for the bench was carried out by students and staff at Blessed Trinity RC College where Ethan had been in his final year studying for his GCSEs.

Drop off points for the NHS hampers in Ethan's name are the Premier store and garage in Burnley Road, Cliviger and Timeless Tattoo studio in Hammerton Street, Burnley.

Collection of donations can also be made by emailing amhunt1@hotmail.co.uk.