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Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Three new trustees appointed at children’s hospices charity

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CHAS has welcomed the new faces, who join the board from a range of backgrounds.

Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS) has appointed three new trustees to its Board.

Employment law solicitor Gillian Donald from Aberdeen, financial operations analyst Faraz Hussain from Glasgow, and international compliance specialist Sophia Salim, also from Glasgow, all have personal connections to the charity.

Gillian’s son Fin, who suffered from a rare degenerative peroxisomal disorder called D-Bifunctional Protein Deficiency, was supported by the CHAS at-home service.

As Fin’s care needs escalated, Gillian and her family received “invaluable support” from the Aberdeen CHAS at Home team as well as CHAS Diana Children’s Nurse, Louise Esson. It was thanks to this care that 11-year-old Fin was able to pass away peacefully, at home in his own bed on May 22, 2020.

Gillian, also of Aberdeen, said of her new appointment: “I have experienced the immense heartache and significant challenges that families facing the death of their child go through.

“The support that CHAS provides during this awful time, whether in the family home, hospital or in a hospice, really does make a huge difference. 

“I am therefore delighted to be appointed as a trustee of this amazing charity and am very committed to being able to support CHAS in ensuring every child and family who needs their help can access it.”

CHAS also holds a special place in the heart of Faraz Hussain from Glasgow, whose sister Sabeel died in Robin House children’s hospice in Balloch two years ago.

Sabeel, who was 17 when she died, suffered from Pompe disease, a rare condition which prevents the body from making a protein that breaks down a complex sugar, called glycogen, for energy.

Faraz is also linked to CHAS through his work at Morgan Stanley, which formed a charity partnership with the charity in 2021. 

The company aim to raise £180,000 for CHAS, which will be instrumental in the development of its bereavement support service for children across Scotland who have a sibling with a life-shortening condition; supporting every child to flourish beyond bereavement.

He said: “Having had a long-standing relationship with CHAS prior to my involvement as a trustee through the heart-warming support the charity gave to my sister I care deeply about the values and services that the charity provides. 

“As a recent father of two young children, aged two and six months, I also understand the importance of every family having the support they need.”

The third new CHAS board member is Sophia Salim, whose son Rayhan has been supported by the charity for the last four years.

Rayhan, who has a spinal cord injury, regularly visits Robin House where he enjoys regular music therapy along with clown doctor sessions.

Sophia said: “Being the parent of a young person with disabilities, I have first-hand experience of the challenges and issues children with complex needs and their families face. 

“I am delighted to join the trustee board and passionate about the projects CHAS supports and the ability the charity has to make a difference to the lives of young people and their families.”

Chair of the CHAS board, Peta Hay, welcomed the trio, saying: “I am delighted to welcome Gillian, Faraz and Sophia to our Board. 

“All three are professional individuals have very personal connections to CHAS with lived experience as either a parent or sibling. 

“Their insight will prove to be invaluable and will amplify the voices of the families we support across Scotland and I wish them every success with their new roles and responsibilities.”