We recently gained a new patron – award winning comedienne and ventriloquist, Nina Conti.
“I'm delighted to become a Patron for The Theodora Children's Charity. Having trained as a Giggle Doctor myself in the past, I have seen first-hand the difference that the visits from these gentle and skilled professional performers make to children and their families in hospitals.”
Nina Conti, Patron, March 2015
We’re continuing to receive lots of positive feedback from the hospitals, hospices and specialist care centres we work with.
‘It is always such a wonderful experience to see the Giggle Doctor in action, she always manages to bring a smile to the faces of everyone around her- from children, teenagers and adults, including service users, siblings, parents, carers and staff! She’s incredibly silly- but in the best possible way, we all love having her here.’
Rachel Flower, Activities Co-ordinator, Richard House Hospice, April 2015
Below are some messages we recently received from parents of children visited by our Giggle Doctors:
“Marianne has just turned one. A few months ago she was in hospital and the Giggle Doctors made her burst out laughing – it was gorgeous to see and hear and cheered us all up. Thank you.”
“Three of your wonderful Giggle Doctors just made such a difference to my 5 year old’s day in ophthalmology outpatients at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. There were smiles and laughter all round, they even managed to include my eldest 16 year old daughter in the fun and frolics. Bravo! Excellent job, well done. Thanks so much”
“We love the Giggle Doctors. What amazing people and so well needed when we were at our lowest. Anyone able to make our four year old smile was welcome at his hospital bed. Thank you!”
One day we hope to be able to bring magical Giggle Doctor moments to all children who need them, and with your help we’re inching ever closer to that dream.
Thank you so much for your support.
You may have noticed we have now changed our name from Theodora Children’s Trust to Theodora Children’s Charity. We decided to rebrand in order to make our purpose clearer. In the past, the charity name has confused some people. We wanted to make it clear that we are a charity, rather than a trust that issues grants – which has never been the case.
In December 2014 we started visits to Leeds General Infirmary and have received some excellent feedback already…
“I just wanted to say a big thank you to the Giggle Doctors for cheering my baby girl up at LGI on Monday. Marianne is 9 months old and is usually a bright & breezy baby however due to a nasty virus it was sad for us to see her lethargic, working hard to breathe and very quiet. When the Giggle Doctors visited the ward we had just found out that the doctors wanted us to stay in hospital overnight so I had started to worry about how serious things might be. Even though Marianne wasn’t very ‘with it’, I thought at least she would enjoy watching the Giggle Doctors entertaining the other children on the ward. Dr Bungee came up to us & started to show Marianne some tricks with his hat & she watched him, intrigued. A few tricks later & she burst out laughing! It was such a surprise as I didn’t even think she had the energy to laugh. But this was just the start, as Dr Bungee carried on Marianne laughed more and more and by the time he made the bubbles squeak as he popped them Marianne was full on belly-laughing. It was such a gorgeous noise & its contagious effect had the whole room giggling along. It was such a relief for me to see a glimpse of my little girl & to know that for this brief moment she was having fun and that her body was feeling that lovely glow of having a good laugh. Thank you Dr Bungee for your much needed dose of laughter, it certainly proved to be the best medicine for us on that day. We are home now and happy to say that Marianne is steadily getting better.” We have also received some great feedback from a recent hospital survey…
“The children are completely absorbed by the visits from the Giggle Doctors. The Giggle Doctors are very sensitive to the children and vary their interactions dependent on the child and the response they receive. The result is the children are completely engaged during their time with the Giggle Doctors, often responding, smiling or visually tracking the movement.”
“We all adore the Giggle Doctors. They are very much part of our team and indeed the hospital.”
“The visits help the children to forget about their worries and anxieties for a while”
“One little girl who had been in hospital for a couple of days only smiled for the Giggle Doctors. Also on a five bedded bay on the ward every parent commented on how good the Giggle Doctor had been during her visit to the ward.”
“Every visit is an experience and brings its own occasion every time”
Thank you so much for making all these magical moments possible
The work of the Theodora Children’s Trust makes such a difference to children and their families at such difficult times. We can’t thank you enough for your support.
Yvette C recently got in touch to tell us about how the Giggle Doctors helped her daughter Mimi:
Why was Mimi first admitted to hospital, and how did she feel?
Mimi was first admitted to hospital in June 2013. She had been extremely tired and used to sleep a lot. She then developed a squint and started to vomit in the mornings so we took her to the Opticians, who advised we take her straight to hospital. Mimi was sent for a MRI scan and the results showed a tennis ball-sized tumour in her head.
When did Mimi first meet the Giggle Doctors?
At first we spent a lot of time at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge. It was there that we first met the Giggle Doctors. Mimi was only 3 and I think she was overwhelmed and confused about being in the hospital. She loved interacting with the Giggle Doctors though; it was a real treat for her.
After Mimi's initial operation in June we were allowed to go home and were out of the hospital for 3 months. However, in September 2013, another MRI scan showed that she had hydrocephalus and that half of the tumour they had removed had grown back! We were devastated and set to start chemotherapy ASAP but were told that first the hydrocephalus had to be sorted out with a shunt.
One of my favourite moments with the Giggle Doctors was on the day of this operation. Mimi and I were waiting for hours on the ward. Mimi was nil by mouth and very lethargic. That was, until the Giggle Doctors walked into the playroom and blew some magic bubbles for her! She was running around with the most beautiful big smile on her face. It turned out to be her last moment of fun before everything went wrong. In hindsight this became my most treasured Giggle Doctor moment. Mimi did not respond well after the operation and to this day we still don't know why this happened. She was having seizures and had to go into intensive care for a while.
After her stay in intensive care we were on the ward for 8 weeks. We saw the Giggle Doctors quite often there and it was lovely. When Mimi and I saw them go into another room first we would excitedly wait for them to come into our room. Mimi loved the balloon animals and would really giggle. I have a clip of it somewhere. It made me well up as it was like our 'old normal' Mimi was coming through all the misery she went through.
How did the visits change Mimi’s experience of hospital?
At the hospital you live from visit to visit. Doctors, Physios, Nurses etc..but the highlight for Mimi was always the Giggle Doctors, and it was the same for all of us. It helped us to have that little happy laughing moment once in a while, during a very worrying and stressful time.
We still make regular visits to Addenbrooke’s Hospital to receive chemotherapy, eye tests, attend endocrine appointments etc. Mimi still goes to the hospital in good spirits; not once has she told me she doesn't want to go. This is thanks to the Theodora Children’s Trust and the Giggle Doctors!