In January our new intake of aspiring Giggle Doctors began their specialist training. On their first day in the classroom the 10 trainees met some of our existing Giggle Doctors, took part in improvisation and team building exercises and began their artistic development. The trainees have now completed two modules and covered topics such as artistic play, child protection, infection control, bereavement, loss and coping mechanisms. They will begin their final module in March.
Each trainee will develop their unique Giggle Doctor character based on their own personality, before eventually being issued with a bespoke Giggle Doctor coat. Trainees also complete a series of observations under the supervision of senior artists before “graduating”.
We recently received a lovely email from a staff member at The Children’s Trust, which we would love to share with you:
“You all bring every child you meet a special memory and a few moments of relief from the stress and worry they might be going through. You bring smiles, happiness and love to everyone you meet and we are blessed and privileged to have you share our lives”
This year we are launching a brand new event called Chores for Chuckles week (13th- 19th May). During this week, people are encouraged to carry out simple chores in return for a donation. Top find out more you can visit www.theodora.org.uk to download a Chores for Chuckles pack.
From everyone at Theodora Children’s Trust, thank you so much for your support.
In November our Giggle Doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital were joined by Double Paralympic Medallist, Will Bayley. Will joined Dr Snug as she brightened up the ward with her huge smile and colourful costume and used a magical mixture of storytelling, puppetry, music and magic to bring joy to the children’s bedsides. He involved himself in the visit as he helped Dr Snug perform magic tricks and shared jokes with the children on the ward.
Will said “As a child I spent many months at Great Ormond Street Hospital. I understand how daunting hospital can be for a child. I think what the Giggle Doctors do is fantastic and it’s great to see the impact they have on the children. The room really lights up when the Giggle Doctors are around.”
We would also love to share with you a lovely Christmas story we recently received from Dr Geehee:
“I was working at GOSH, on Fox ward, with Dr Dovetail and Dr I Spy. All the children on this ward are in solo isolation rooms due to the fact that they have had a transplant or are waiting for a transplant of some kind. We cannot go into the rooms and have to work through a window. As we are not able to go into the rooms I had decided to do a bit of funny carol singing with my new microphone. I had seen a couple of children and sung a few songs. I then came to the last room and through the windows I saw a small boy, about 4 years old, sitting on the bed with his head down. His mother, who was also in the room, saw me and drew his attention to me at the window. His eyes lit up. I said “Hello, can you hear me?” and he nodded. I then told him that I was a Christmas tree because I can get lights out of my ears, nose and mouth. I then began to produce lights. He found this funny and started to laugh and laugh and laugh. His Mum and the others in the room were laughing too. I knew that my job was done, wished him a merry Christmas and moved on.
I then went on to the next ward. Half way through my shift on the new ward I realised that I had left my microphone on Fox ward so I went back to get it. As I entered the ward a lady met me at the door and said "Thank you so much for making my Grandson laugh. His Mum and Dad had not heard him laugh for weeks. You really made him laugh. Thank you so much.”
Merry Christmas from everyone at Theodora Children’s Trust.
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.
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.
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.
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