Helping sick and disabled children in the UK.

 
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Dr Wonderpants spreading smiles and bubbles
Dr Wonderpants spreading smiles and bubbles

We are currently in the process of recruiting our next intake of Giggle Doctors. Last week we invited our shortlisted applicants to workshops and had so much fun meeting our potential new Giggle Doctors.

We have also been developing our social media and have been receiving some wonderful photos and messages on facebook and twitter. Below is a lovely message we were delighted to receive from a parent.

 “We first met the Giggle Doctors about 2 weeks after my six year old daughter was diagnosed with cancer. Up to that point she cried every time someone in a uniform came near her. When the Giggle Doctors arrived all we heard was laughter and lots and lots of smiles and this has continued ever since! For this I will always be grateful to you. Keep up your good work!”

 We would also love to share with you a story we received from Dr Jammi after a recent visit to Addenbrooke’s Hospital:

 “We entered one room with two families in it, both nervous, both quiet. One family consisted of a baby, his brother and sister and their mum. The other family was a mum and her three year old son.

On entering the room, a game of hide and seek ensued with the brother and sister. Their giggles grew rapidly into bigger and bigger laughs. As helicopters flew and silly walks were invented, one side of the room was transformed.

On the other side, the mum with her son watched shyly. Dr I Spy moved across to the pushchair and gently started to connect with the mum and her son. I joined them. The mum seemed surprised that we were paying her son any attention because of his disabilities, his head rocked from side to side and his eyes roamed around the room, unable to focus on any one thing.

As I strummed the strings of my ukulele, Dr I Spy and I sang the little boys name, his whole body relaxed and he looked at us. A smile slowly filled his face. Tears welled up in his mum's eyes as the eight year old brother from the other family came across to join in the song.

We sang goodbye and danced out of the room leaving the two families enthusiastically waving together joined in song.”

From everyone at Theodora Children’s Trust, thank you so much for your continued support.

Samantha Cameron with Sarika & our Giggle Doctors
Samantha Cameron with Sarika & our Giggle Doctors

On Tuesday 12th June we were honoured to attend a reception hosted for us by Samantha Cameron at 10 Downing Street. It was a lovely evening and a great opportunity to thank our supporters.

I would love to share with you a lovely story we received from Dr Bungee after a recent visit to North Manchester General Hospital:

A bored teenager, in a bay with a baby, makes eye contact with the most unlikely character...”Dr Bungee?” she says, slightly bewildered by the outfit and unsure whether the bucket is meant to be on his leg.  “How old are you today?” Asks Dr Bungee..

”13” comes the reply with a sideways look...

”Happy Birthday! 13 today!"...

”No- not today! She laughs with her head in her hands”

“Then how old are you really if you’re not 13?”

“I am...but not today!...I mean...I am...well! I don’t get it!” She says laughing with her dad.

“Oh- you mean it’s your un-Birthday today!”

“Yeesss! It is!” she said with a grin

“Do you know what?” Said Dr Bungee

“What?” she replied anticipating what was to come...

“It’s my un-Birthday today!”

They played pass the un-birthday present, had an un-birthday cake and had an un-birthday goody bag to take home. Then Dr Bungee realised he had to go and get ready for his own un-birthday party the very next day to which the girl realised it was also her un-birthday tomorrow...and believe it or not it was her dad’s as well!  Then she realised that they couldn’t sit around being bored any longer...they had to plan for 364 un-birthday parties.  They thanked Dr Bungee for coming to their un-birthday party and hoped to see him again.

We have been sent so many lovely letters and emails from parents of children who have loved meeting our Giggle Doctors. Below is a message from a parent at Great Ormond Street Hospital:

A big thank you to Dr Jimmi Jammi. My son finds speech difficult and Dr Jammi sang a song about Superboy, which Adam sang all the way home! From the bottom of my heart, thank you for making a tough day not so tough. Bless you.

This summer we are recruiting for 12 new Giggle Doctors who will bring smiles to thousands more poorly young patients across the UK.

Thank you so much for your support, without which such magical moments would not be possible.

Dr Snug & Dr Geehee at Chelsea Children
Dr Snug & Dr Geehee at Chelsea Children's Hospital

Our 18th Birthday dinner and auction on 5th March was a huge success. Our guests had a great evening, Dr Jammi and Dr Yo-Ho shared some heart warming stories of their most emotional visits and we raised a massive £32,000!

We have now introduced our Giggle Doctor visits to a new hospital, Chelsea and Westminster. Last month Dr Snug and Dr Geehee visited Chelsea Children’s Hospital for the first time to give out much needed doses of magic and laughter to poorly young patients.

Our Giggle Doctors received some lovely feedback from the Patient Governor at the Hospital…

"I was so impressed with the Giggle Doctors.   Having planned to follow them for one hour, I stayed for four!   I was totally mesmerized by the way they inter-acted with the children.   They engaged with the shy, who opened up, & brought laughter & joy to the more extrovert.  The parents & nurses were in fits of laughter, & the cleaners stopped making the beds!

No child was excluded.  When I saw Dr. Snug go up to a very sick little baby boy of 4 months I queried it.  Her response was they have something for every child. Within a few minutes he was holding a squeezy ball which lit-up & kicking with his feet when she sung to him!

It was a life-enhancing experience, & I cannot praise them too highly.  I only wish we had the funds to invite them more often than once a month….”

I also wanted to share a lovely message we recently received from a parent of a young patient at Sheffield Children’s Hospital…

 “You all do an amazing job...my daughter Melina was seriously ill in Sheffield Children's Hospital last year & even though improved still has a long way to go but "Doctor Hunny" really cheered her up, she still talks about her today & loves to look at the photo we took & the signed pic..u really do bring lots of smiles & giggles to all those children that need them so thank you”

Thank you so much for your continued support.

We've changed the name of our Clown Doctors to Giggle Doctors as people kept expecting 'circus clowns' which didn't accurately represent the true character of our performers.  Our trainees are at the final stage of their training programme - unfortunately one of our trainers for sick which delayed our aim of having them qualify as Junior Giggle Doctors in January.  Never mind, they'll soon be visiting 20,000 more children as of Feb / March.

In December, we had a TV appeal on BBC1 and BBC 2 - you can watch it on our home page until 26th January: www.theodora.org.uk

More than a million people tuned in and we have had so many phone calls and donations.  This year is a big one for us as we turn 18!  On the 5th March, we're hosting a birthday dinner and auction - just 4 tables left to sell!  We'll let you know how we get on in the next report.

I'd like to share with you a special moment your donation helped to create:

On Tuesday, we an email from the aunt of a special little boy who is in hospital in Great Ormond Street and was due to have a 4 hour operation to get sensors inserted into his head. He has epilepsy and so far there isn’t any medication that has helped stop his seizures. He is going to be bed ridden for a good while as the plates have to be left in for up to a week and that’s before the 8 hour operation to remove the bad part.

"I have heard the giggle doctors really help with recovery and more importantly put a smile on kid’s and parent’s faces. He has now had the Op to put plates in and now looks like the surgery will take place on Thursday 12th January and we are all praying for the right outcome".

It just so happened that we were visiting the Great Ormond Street to see the giggle doctors in action so found out which ward the young boy was on and arranged for Dr Snug to pay him a special visit.

His mum said it’s the first time she has heard him have a belly laugh for ages, she sent a picture and he looks so happy.…"You do amazing work with the kids. He is now going tomorrow for the brain surgery keep your fingers crossed for him. You are all amazing" 

Thank you so much for your support.  We really do appreciate it. 

Links:

Dr Wonderpants
Dr Wonderpants

Our trainee Clown Doctors have nearly completed their training and are set to graduate at the beginning of next year, following final assessments by the trainers. It’s great timing as in 2012, Theodora Children’s Trust celebrates its 18th birthday! It will be fantastic to introduce a new team and be able to visit over 70,000 children a year.

We’ve also committed to Clown Doctor visits at a new hospital from next year: the Chelsea and Westminster in London. We’re so excited we’ll be able to bring fun and laughter to more children like Ben….

Ben’s Story by Dr Jammi

I first met Ben, a boy of 13, 4 weeks ago. Dr Fab was with me and as I’d learnt a new song, I borrowed her ukulele to play it to him. Ben got out of bed and started to dance around. I started to sing but he didn’t join in.

As I walked away his mum came to thank me…

‘My son got knocked down by a car and he hasn’t spoken since. We don’t know why or how long this will last for, but thank you for making him smile’.

Each week I saw Ben and I continued to sing and he continued to dance.

On the fourth week I played again and suddenly he joined in, singing along to the words. This was the first time he had spoken since his accident.

 

As always we have had great feedback from the staff at the hospitals we visit. Jane Halliday from the Royal United Hospital in Bath emailed us recently to give us her feedback:

I am a Paediatric Nurse working in the Children's OPD at the Royal United Hospital in Bath. 
 
Every week we are very fortunate to be visited by Dr Ding Dong both in the Children's Ward and OPD.
 
I just wanted to thank your organisation so very much for the joy that Dr Ding Dong brings to the department!  It is a real pleasure to watch her work and the super way that she interacts with the children.
 
Dr Ding Dong is brilliant at her job, and makes such a difference to the children's visiting the department.  She seems to lift the atmosphere and make children laugh and play along with whatever she is doing with them.
 
Many children who visit us on a regular basis look forward to seeing her, as do many of the parents.  She makes visiting the department much less daunting for both the child as a patient, sibling's and parents. The staff also look forward to seeing her and are very grateful for her help and distraction with the children.
 
It is such a shame that we cannot have her visit us every day!

 

From everyone here at Theodora Children’s Trust, thank you so much for your continued support.

Links:

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Project Leader

Charlotte Wilson

Chief Executive
London, Greater London United Kingdom

Where is this project located?

Map of Helping sick and disabled children in the UK.