Helping sick and disabled children in the UK.

by The Theodora Children's Charity
Dr Easy Peasy and Dr Bananas
Dr Easy Peasy and Dr Bananas

Feedback from parents and children is extremely important to us. We want to provide a programme that benefits as many children as possible, improving their hospital experience and reducing levels of anxiety.

In January we joined the Giggle Doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital for an impact measurement focus day. Dr Easy Peasy, Dr Bananas and their funny friends visit this hospital every Tuesday and bring smiles to around 2,500 children and their families each year.

100% of parents who left feedback on the focus day said that the Giggle Doctors improved their child's mood. 92% of parents said that the visits reduced their child’s distress and anxiety during their hospital stay.

Many parents also chose to leave additional feedback….

“I think it’s a great idea because it put a smile on my daughter’s face while she was having chemo”

 “Very entertaining and valued visit during the waiting period”

“A great service that put a smile on my child’s face. Very engaging and positive. Thank you!”

“Very relaxed and made Max laugh and smile”

We will continue to measure the impact of the Giggle Doctors at the hospitals, hospices and specialist care centres we work with throughout the year.

This year we are also increasing visits to Young Epilepsy, Royal United Hospital in Bath and Leeds General Infirmary. That means lots more smiles for children who need them the most!

Thank you for helping us to bring magical moments to so many children during challenging times.

Harrison with the Giggle Doctors
Harrison with the Giggle Doctors

The Giggle Doctors bring fun and laughter to so many children and their families during what can be a difficult time. Thank you so much for your support.

We spoke to Michelle Germain about the difference the Theodora Children's Charity made to her son Harrison…

“Harrison first met the Giggle Doctors at the Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton when he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in October 2013. In those first two weeks we were inpatients, trying to understand the oncology treatment and feeling bewildered…when two Giggle Doctors walked into the room. We could see Harrison cautiously watching what was happening with them and the other patients. When they joined us it was lovely to see his smile again and the happy interaction the Giggle Doctors had with him. Over the 2 years since, Harrison has bumped into the Giggle Doctors many times.

I love the fact that he starts to smile when he sees them. He's not the most outspoken child but you can see he always enjoys the time he has with them. As parents, it’s wonderful to see such fun and laughter during difficult times.

My favourite moment was when Harrison had been given a Superhero H cape but hadn't worn it. I would hang it on his drip hoping he would get accustomed to it. Then the two Giggle Doctors came in, started playing with him in the play room and gradually started playing with the cape. They asked if they could put it on him and he agreed! Then the silly posing and photos started! That moment will stay with me forever. Two years on and we asked them to re-create the "cape moment" and in their funny style the Giggle Doctors made a cape from a plastic apron!  What great memories. We have 16 months of chemo to go and I can see an annual cape photo being needed!

Harrison says that the Giggle Doctors always make him smile even when he doesn't feel like it

You guys do a great job - child first, patient second.

Thank you”

Gemma loved meeting the Giggle Doctors
Gemma loved meeting the Giggle Doctors

We regularly receive letters of thanks from parents of children who have been visited by Theodora Giggle Doctors.

Juliet W. recently got in touch to tell us about how the Giggle Doctors helped her daughter Gemma.

Why was Gemma first admitted to hospital and how did she feel?

Gemma was first admitted to hospital due to a mass in her abdominal area. She was in a lot of pain and very anxious and frightened.

When did Gemma first meet the Giggle Doctors?

Gemma met the Giggle Doctors two days after her operation, where a large incision had been made across her lower tummy.  She was attempting to get out of bed for the second time, a process which had been extremely stressful and traumatic the first time she had tried, due to the pain. Gemma was perched on the edge of the bed in a sitting position when the Giggle Doctors came into her ward. Until this point there had been lots of tears and Gemma had become a very quiet, sad and scared little girl. The Giggle Doctors started to engage with Gemma. They gave her a wand to make them disappear and then they hid behind the dividing curtains with their toes sticking out! For the first time in over a month our little girl giggled…and although you could see from her face that it wasn't very comfortable to giggle - she carried on giggling! For me it was a very magical moment!!  After their visit Gemma got her fighting spirit and determination back; it had, up until that point, been completely lost.

How did the visits change Gemma’s experience of hospital?

The visits changed Gemma's hospital experience immensely! Now when Gemma talks about hospital she doesn't focus on the scary parts like the scans, operations and procedures, she always talks about the Giggle Doctors and how they made her giggle. Gemma still has the wand and loves to show people how she made them disappear (“but they were really behind the curtain” she says and giggles)!!!

Gemma's words:

My favourite moment was when the Giggle Doctors made me laugh. It would be great for all children in hospital to meet the Giggle Doctors so they can laugh just like me.

Thank you so much for helping to bring fun and laughter to so many children like Gemma. We’re so grateful for your support.

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.

Dr Bungee on a hospital visit
Dr Bungee on a hospital visit

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


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Organization Information

The Theodora Children's Charity

Location: London - United Kingdom
Website: http:/​/​www.theodora.org.uk/​
Project Leader:
Emily Swords
Chief Executive
London, Greater London United Kingdom
$40,167 raised of $552,582 goal
 
312 donations
$512,415 to go
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