Children’s Hospital asks ‘Santa stop here one last time’

by Melissa Craib

Friday, December 1st, 2017

Edinburgh Children's Hospital Charity Christmas Campaign launch image of Riley Donnelly (4) with her parents for Charity PR

CHILDREN and young people spending their Christmas in hospital this year are set to have an extra special experience – to see snow falling on the hospital – thanks to Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity (ECHC).

This year, the Royal Hospital for Sick Children (RHSC) is to celebrate its last Christmas at its site in central Edinburgh before making the move to its new home in Little France.

The hospital, which has had a place in the heart of Edinburgh for 150 years, will spend its last Christmas in style as it marks the end of an era and honours the much-loved place that has cared for so many children.

ECHC is appealing to the people of Scotland to support their vital work to help ensure that children and young people get to be a child first and patient second this festive season.

To kick start the festive cheer on Friday December 1, the charity is going to make snow fall on the hospital’s famous front exterior by projection.

The honour of turning on the magical projection has been given to Ruby Smith, aged 7, who spent last Christmas in RHSC. She had fallen ill at school and was later taken to RHSC where it was discovered she had had a paediatric stroke.

As a result, she was unable to walk due to losing all movement down her right hand side and she also lost her speech.

Ruby was in hospital for six weeks, over the Christmas period, in which time she and her family benefited from a number of Christmas activities, facilities and support funded by ECHC.

Jane Smith, Ruby’s mother, said: “On December 2, it will be exactly one year on since Ruby had a stroke and she is so excited to be asked to turn on the projection at the hospital.

“Thinking about then and now, her progress is simply amazing and we can’t thank the staff at RHSC, NHS Fife and ECHC enough for their amazing work and support.

It is a privilege for Ruby to do the honours and maybe even a sign of hope to all children (and parents) currently in hospital to try and stay positive and never give up hope as children are so incredibly resilient.”

With less than a month to go before Christmas day, ECHC is calling upon communities to help support it in its campaign to make its last Christmas extra special and asking Santa to stop at the hospital one last time.

Roslyn Neely, CEO of Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “Christmas is such an exciting time of year for children and we believe that being in hospital shouldn’t compromise its magic.

“Spending time in our homes, in the company of our families on Christmas morning is something that can often be taken for granted. But, children who need to spend Christmas in hospital shouldn’t have to feel like they’re missing out on anything.

“Many people don’t realise that a lot of the fun, distractions, games and décor that can help a child feel much less frightened when they come into the hospital, particularly during special occasions such as Christmas, are funded by us.

“We’re campaigning to make sure that children at the hospital get to spend December eagerly anticipating the arrival of Santa, presents and their loved ones. The work of the hospital doesn’t stop at Christmas but we hope that Santa will remember to stop here one last time.”

A donation of £15 or whatever people can afford could help provide fun, creativity and a distraction from treatment by delivering a wide variety of arts activities for children and young people.  Gifting £30 could help fund our parents’ accommodation meaning parents and carers can stay close to their child in hospital. Nothing is more important than memories with family and a donation of £75 could help us put on a Christmas movie night.

Roslyn continued: “This is a fantastic campaign and we really hope that people around the country get behind us and show their support. In 2018 we are set to move to a brand new, state-of-the art home which is why I’m hoping you’ll help make this Christmas a truly memorable one.

“We exist to ensure that children and young people’s lives aren’t put on hold by illness and it is the generosity of those who get involved in campaigns like this one that allows us to continue our valuable work.”

If you would like more information on how to support the Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity’s Christmas appeal, visit the website here: www.echcharity.org

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Melissa Craib

Melissa Craib is part of the PR team at award-winning Scottish public relations agency, Holyrood PR in Edinburgh. She works on a diverse range of clients with the award-winning PR agency

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