An Eastbourne couple living and caring for a child with a devastating illness are hoping to bring a smile to the little boy’s face by getting married.
Rosie Fielder, 33, is mum to Alfie Bennett who was diagnosed with Childhood Cerebral Adrenoluekodistrophy(ALD) around a year ago.
Alfie is now just nine and in the past year has gone from being a healthy eight-year-old to losing the ability to walk, talk, chew and swallow. His mum describes it as a ‘living nightmare’.
Rosie and her partner Karl Aldridge, also 33, have been together for two years and have spent half their relationship caring for Alfie together. They live with Rosie’s seven-year-old daughter Isla and Alfie’s diagnosis and deterioration has had a huge impact on the whole family.
Rosie said: “We can’t just go out anymore. We can’t nip out for a meal or to the cinema.
“Everything is about Alfie and his needs, which is hard on Isla too.”
Karl had an engagement ring and a trip to New York booked just before Alfie was diagnosed but the holiday was unable to go ahead.
Instead he proposed in front of the children in the family’s living room.
Rosie said: “It was so lovely and the kids were so excited.”
However, the wedding has been on hold, as the family struggle with caring for Alfie and trying to keep him comfortable and happy.
Rosie said: “It has become a guessing game with Alfie now as there is no communication at all. The days are long but we take one day at a time and some are better than others.”
Karl added: “Our main aim is to make Alfie smile.”
Rosie and Karl said they were talking to Alfie about getting married and ‘his face lit up’.
Karl said: “We just got the biggest smile from him. The biggest smile ever.
Rosie added: “We just knew we had to do it and we thought why wait?
“Alfie may lose his sight, so it would be lovely for him to see us get married before that happens. We know it will make him happy.”
Karl has an 12-year-old son called Cohen and he is also keen to see Karl and Rosie walk down the aisle.
Karl, who has stuck by Rosie and helped her care for poorly Alfie, is keen to officially become his step-dad.
He said: “After a week of meeting Rosie, I said to my friend, ‘this is it. She is the one.’ When you know, you know.”
Eastbourne fundraisers Don and Abby McPhee, who organised a wedding for a terminally ill man earlier this year, have offered to help the couple make their dream a reality. A date and venue is set and Don and Abby have their wedding planning hats on once again.
Don said: “We would like to thank Dariana, the manager of All Saints chapel and the West Rocks group, for their support. Bob Bremer, chairman of Sussex Cars for the generous donation. Also thank you to Jack, Matt and Kim Hepburn from Hepburn’s Ltd for their contributions, and Rob and Noel from Abacus Flame.
“Beau-k flowers are kindly providing the flowers and make-up artist Hannah McPhee will provide her services. Finally, thank you to Plan Ahead for the invitations.”
Rosie and Karl said: “Don has been amazing.”