The one with all the Easter Eggs
I have been a SuperJosh supporter for nearly two years, since I first became aware of what the charity was doing, and why it had been set up. I have also been a part of the SuperJosh team for nearly 18 months, acting as a volunteer for certain events, but also through my business which provides professional assistance as and when needed.
Having seen what goes on from an outsider’s point of view, as well as from behind the scenes, I have to admit my respect for what Dawn and the team have achieved grows day by day. In a world so full of gloom, misery and self-involvement, it is wonderful to see so much being done for so many, by people who could just as easily be sat at home on the sofa, doing nothing. That goes for the people running events, but also those who turn up to them, provide their support, encouragement and of course, their donations.
It was therefore an honour when Dawn invited me to go with her last Thursday to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital to play the Easter Bunny and donate not only Easter eggs to the children on the oncology ward (Ward 84) but also an arts, crafts and play package too.
Despite being a Mum of four (number five is currently under construction) I am one of the lucky ones that has never set foot in a children’s ward before. I’ve never had any need. For me, my experience of sick children is the occasional tummy bug and the sniffles. In my world children don’t need to stay in hospital, they don’t have to undergo painful treatment and they don’t lose their hair.
Sadly, this is not the world that many people find themselves living in. These are the people that inhabit Josh and Dawn’s world – where their reality is very different from ours. On many levels it’s shocking when you walk on to such a ward and are confronted with this different reality for the first time. I immediately thought of my babies, and how I would feel if they had to spend day after day in a hospital bed, being poked and prodded, while I sat by their side feeling helpless.
It’s probably a natural reaction, no doubt many of you would feel the same way if you were to experience it, but I confess the shock and melancholy didn’t last for long. The simple fact of the matter is that these wards are not depressing, not at all. They are bright, colourful and full of hope. They are full of children who, despite their illnesses are, at the heart of it still just children.
They want to run, laugh, play and be silly. They don’t feel sorry for themselves. They paint cardboard sick bowls bright yellow, decorate them with feathers and wear them as Easter bonnets. They don’t demand your sympathy, they simply want you to smile back and hand over your Easter eggs!
Speaking to Dawn, and other families in similar situations it amazes me how quickly a lengthy hospital stay becomes reality for a family. With that being the case it is essential that everything is done to make it as normal as possible. That’s precisely what the craft and play packages the charity donates, through your support, aim to do. As I said, children are children no matter where they are or their health status – they just want to create, to get messy, to experiment and have fun.
It is important that none of us ever underestimate the value of that.