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What is in a name?

A name is the first thing that people see or hear upon introduction and so an association is formed almost immediately.  A visual image is struck up each time you hear or see the name again. So, what is in a name? well,  quite a lot it seems. Whether you are a person, a business or a charity, your name is your identity and it says a lot about you and what you do.

Charities operate much like any other business in that they require funds and activity to survive and to be able to offer their services to its users, the only real difference is that a charity is non-profit and the funds received are used to forward the cause and aims of the charity and to support the people who require the services of the charity. Most successful charities have a name synonymous with what their cause is or what they do. This enables them to be easily identifiable and therefore accessible to those who need its services or for those who want to support it.

Since 2003 our charity has developed from a small support group to a much larger registered charity offering not only support, but information & advice, raising awareness & advocating study & research. Last year our charity underwent a big image change with the implementation of new graphics and logo to further improve its cause and aims. One of the areas that we have found difficult to move forward with is in forming relationships with the medical profession and other government agencies and sponsorships from businesses. We have also found that some families have not been able to find us in the UK and have associated or mistaken us with other groups of a similar name, which can affect our ability to help UK families, reduces our fundraising opportunities and has caused problems for us in the past.  Recently, a couple of medical professionals commented that they did not understand the association of our name ‘Cherubs’ with what our charity actually does, or indeed CDH. We asked them what it suggested to them and they replied that they thought we were a bereavement group as our name suggests.  We were not particularly surprised by this, as we have had similar comments made by families in the past. It did however on this occasion cause us to ask the question ‘is this name actually the best name for our charity?’ Bereavement support plays a huge role in our work, but we also have to consider that we are here for newly diagnosed families, surviving babies, teenagers and adults too.

Many of you have become familiar with the name ‘cherubs’ and it is often used as a term of general endearment and children born with CDH are often referred to as ‘Cherubs’. Unfortunately people who have not been affected by CDH or who have been recently diagnosed are not always aware of this or may not understand and this has been problematic for us in the past. It would also be a much more positive thing to move away from the portrayal of CDH babies and children having wings before they are even born and to promote the fact that some babies do survive and go on to lead a normal healthy life.  As a charity one of our aims is to work to improve the survival statistics associated with CDH, which is currently 50% and to try to find the answer to the biggest question that most families ask and that is ‘Why?’ We also feel that it is extremely important to remember how many babies have been lost to this terrible defect and to work even harder to improve the current survival statistic and advocate the need for improved treatments, study and research. Babies who survive CDH can go on to experience many more challenges throughout their lives both physically and psychologically and many of these children are not followed up in the way that they deserve to be and as we hope to see more babies surviving in the future, we need to provide more information and support to families of survivors as their children grow up. Our logo too has a significant role to play in reflecting CDH and its design depicts the heart/lungs/hole in the diaphragm & wings for the babies & children lost to CDH.

In view of all of the above, and after much deliberation we decided that our charity will benefit from a new name and after we made initial enquiries with the Charity Commission to seek their guidance on how we would commence with implementing a name change and after following this guidance, we voted in favour of a new name at the recent AGM. This was clearly shown on the Agenda that was published both on our website and facebook page prior to the meeting. We are currently in the process of making a final decision on the new name and we are awaiting official checks as to the availability of the name that has been voted on at a recent committee meeting.

The new suggested name we feel reflects exactly what our cause is and gives us a unique identity in the UK, which is where we are registered to work and will enable us to be instantly recognisable by newly diagnosed families and the medical profession. We also feel that the name will help to attract others who are not aware of what CDH is to support and donate to our cause and will better promote CDH in terms of raising awareness and fundraising.  The visual ‘look’ will not change and our logo, visuals, colours and graphics will remain exactly the same only the letters and strapline will change.

We are hoping to be able to announce the new name within the next few weeks and subject to everything going according to plan, we will officially apply the name to our charity on the 28th June 2011 to coincide with our foundation day, which we have also made our official CDH awareness day.

We realise that change is often difficult to accept and accustom ourselves to and that some of you will naturally have concerns or comments relating to this announcement. We can assure you that this has not been an overnight decision and many meetings have taken place to discuss this topic. We have made many improvements and advancements relating to CDH, provided new services over the past twelve months for families affected by CDH and we will continue to do so over the next twelve months and beyond, with new ideas and campaigns, more services and help for families. We thank you for your support and hope that you will continue to support babies, children, adults and their family and friends affected by CDH.

Thank you