Lisa and Ian McIntosh, and their twin children, Chester and Rhianna, are backing this year’s Seasonal Superdraw, run by Bluebell Wood, with a top prize of £2,500 to be won just before Christmas. 

Nine year old Chester and Rhianna spent their first year of life in hospital after being born at just 26 weeks. Chester has brain damage and Hirschsprung disease. The family now visit Bluebell Wood for short breaks. 

Their dad Ian said: “We spent the first few weeks of the twins’ lives at Chesterfield hospital before we moved to Sheffield’s neonatal ward. The doctors could tell straight away that Chester was struggling. He spent most of his time on a ventilator to help him breathe, and he was diagnosed with Tracheobronchomalacia, which meant his airway was weak and at risk of collapsing. There were so many times when we thought he wouldn’t survive. At one point he was even given his last rites, so when we first came home, it was terrifying. It was daunting to be on our own as parents.” 

Mum Lisa said: “Ian and I decided to quit our jobs and look after Chester and Rhianna full time. We both used to be carers for the elderly, but we never imagined caring for our own children like that. Chester is almost completely deaf and has very poor vision, so we have to be his eyes, his ears, his everything. Our focus is always on the twins. It can be exhausting, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.” 

In 2017, Chester’s community nurse went to see the family at home, and she arranged for them to visit Bluebell Wood. 

Lisa said: “After visiting the hospice for the first time, we couldn’t wait to stay overnight. Everyone was so friendly, and we fell in love with the place straight away, especially Rhianna. She said it was better than staying in a hotel. Ian and I got the best night’s sleep we’d had in years and Chester was so comfortable too. The care team did all the little things that we do at home to make him feel safe, like putting on a DVD and dimming the lights, and it made such a difference. It’s such a happy place and Rhianna never wants to leave. 

“Entering Bluebell Wood’s Superdraw is a really fun way for people to support families like ours. Just one £10 book of tickets could raise enough money to fund over six months of sensory activities so that children like Chester and Rhianna can play, while parents like us can have some much-needed downtime.” 

Seasonal Superdraw tickets are on sale until 7 December, at £1 each, on our Superdraw page, and at Bluebell Wood shops in Bakewell, Chapeltown, Chesterfield, Dinnington, Hellaby, Rotherham, Sheffield, Wombwell and Worksop. 

Winners will be contacted by phone and all the winning numbers published on our Superdraw page.