For a year after her husband Gary’s death, Emma Robertson faced an uphill struggle trying to find support for her three children.
Now the 35-year-old is helping to raise £30,000 needed for a bereavement support service for youngsters to be based in South Tyneside, so other parents don’t suffer the same experience.
Gary, a care assistant, died on his 39th birthday in 2012, after suffering a brain aneurysm, leaving Emma and their children Caitlin, 10, Ben, nine, and Joe, four, devastated.
But despite visiting her GP, searching the internet and speaking to a health visitor, she was unable to find support.
Emma, from Fuschia Gardens, Hebburn, said: “When Gary died, everywhere I turned there was nothing. I knew my kids needed help, but there was nothing.
“I was told to take my children to a cancer charity, but Gary didn’t die of cancer, and that is exactly what my eldest child said when I broached the subject with her.
“One place I was told to contact said they would offer support to my daughter but not my son, as he was too young. “How could they have expected me to split them up? All my children needed support, not just one of them.
“Eventually I was signposted to Cruse, but I still had to travel outside the borough to get my kids the support they needed. And it was difficult travelling to Newcastle, at times in rush-hour traffic, with three kids who were all upset over the death of their dad and crying in the back of the car.
“But I was so desperate I had no choice but to take them there. My kids needed help, and at the time I don’t think they even knew how much they needed the help they received from Cruse. I cannot thank Cruse enough for what they done for my children.
“They gave them support at a time when they needed it the most.
“So many families, when it comes to a bereavement, can hit the self-destruct button, which is why a bereavement service like this is vital for children.
“We shouldn’t have to be raising this money, as there should already be something set up in place, for children and young people no matter what their age, but there was nothing for my three children here in South Tyneside.
“This is why I am getting involved, and we have to raise this money, so other families don’t have to suffer and go through what I went through to find support for their kids.”