In 2011 and 2012 I had the absolute pleasure of running for Starlight. I’d thoroughly recommend supporting this amazing charity and in return getting fantastic support from them en route!
Starlight Children’s Charity
When I got notification of my ballot place, I immediately started thinking about who I’d like to run for. I really wanted to raise some money for the daughter of a friend of mine but as they don’t have an official charity and it’s my first marathon I thought organising the money etc would be much easier with a registered charity.
I also thought it would be wise to run with someone who provided some decent marathon support. I spent quite a lot of time reading through the websites of lots of different charities – that needed a lot of tissues I can tell you! However, as soon as I read the Starlight pages I knew I’d found the charity that I wanted to support.
Starlight brings smiles and laughter into the lives of seriously and terminally ill children, who are afraid and in pain, by granting wishes and creating innovative entertainment in hospitals and hospices throughout the UK. Starlight is there for children and their families in their time of need, lifting children’s spirits in hospitals, making dreams come true, strengthening family bonds and creating happy memories for everyone to share and cherish, whatever the future holds. Seventy percent of Starlight’s wish children go on to make a full recovery and many parents say they believe that the Starlight wish created the excitement and anticipation that helped their child pull through. Happy children respond better to treatment and each year Starlight helps over half a million children to forget about their illness and simply have a bit of fun.
How Starlight began…
Starlight was founded in 1986 by British actress Emma Samms and her cousin Peter Samuelson. When Emma was nine years old, her eight-year-old brother Jamie became desperately unwell with aplastic anaemia, at that time an incurable illness, and just few months later he tragically lost his battle. This understandably had a devastating effect on Emma and her family. A few years later when Emma was 18 years old, she visited a young boy in hospital called Sean, who was seriously ill with a brain tumour. He and Emma became great friends and one day as they were chatting Sean told Emma that his dream was to visit Disneyland. He was desperate to go and Emma realised she could fund raise and make his dream come true. Emma was deeply moved by the positive effect fulfilling his wish had on Sean and his family. She said: “For me, it wasn’t just the look of pure joy and excitement on Sean’s face, but the look on his mum’s face as she watched Sean having the time of his life.” It was then that the idea of Starlight was born; a charity that could help other seriously and terminally ill children and their families enjoy and treasure the wish of a lifetime, no matter what the future holds. Starlight now supports every child with every possible illness; cancers, leukaemia, heart disease, genetic conditions as well as more routine childhood illnesses that require hospitalisation. Starlight works in the heart of local communities nationwide.
At a time when there is perhaps little or nothing to look forward to, Starlight grants a seriously or terminally ill child their greatest wish, restoring the magic and fun of childhood and creating happy memories for the whole family to share and cherish, whatever the future holds.
Each wish is different because young minds are so imaginative and creative. Search the wishes and dreams, and you’ll see… whatever the wish, Starlight makes it happen!
Happily some 70% of Starlight children go on to get better and often doctors and parents say that the excitement and anticipation of the wish was the turning point.
Bianca has cystic fibrosis, an illness that affects the internal organs, especially the lungs and digestive system. Starlight granted her wish to record an album and organised for her to sing live with a very special guest …
Bianca’s dad said: “Bianca absolutely loves singing and has always wanted to record an album. She spends two or three hours a night singing when she gets home from school, so when Starlight granted her wish, it was a dream come true. It means everything to her, and to us.”
Knowing that Bianca wished to sing live to an audience, Starlight’s wish granters arranged for Bianca to spend the afternoon recording at 750mph studios, after which she was whisked off to the celebrity-studded Starlight Ball.
In front of 700 people, including Starlight’s celebrity supporters Dougray Scott, Melinda Messenger, Hugh Dancy and Bill Nighy, Bianca sang a duet of Something Inside So Strong with none other than Will Young! Bianca sang beautifully and received a standing ovation.
Bianca’s dad added: “It was honestly and truly the most amazing night of our lives. Bianca never could have imagined in her wildest dreams that she would appear on stage with a pop idol in front of a celebrity audience, let alone get the reaction she did. It totally blew us away.”
In August 2010…..
…we were lucky enough to see Bianca perform at the Serenata Festival in Kimmeridge. She was amazing and inspiring and a true ambassador of Starlight.
Starlight is the only national charity working with every hospital and hospice in the UK.
With health care professionals, they have developed a programme of year-round entertainment and distraction that helps over 500,000 children forget their illness, pain and worries.
In hospitals and hospices children…
- have the chance to simply to be children at Starlight Parties
- play games and watch films on Starlight Fun Centres
- get out and about on Starlight Escapes
- are distracted from painful treatment by toy-filled Starlight Distraction Boxes
- cheer, boo and hiss their way through Starlight Pantomimes
Read more about each by having a look at the ‘entertainment’ pages on the Starlight Website
“Often treatment of cancer or other serious illnesses in children involves unpleasant and painful procedures; it is very difficult to make a child happy at this time. This is what Starlight does best in hospitals and hospices all over the country.”
Leading Consultant Children’s Cancer Specialist
All in all….
… I’ll think you’ll agree that it’s a very worthwhile cause and worth every single penny that I can raise for them. I’d be eternally gratefully for any sponsorship. No amount is too small. I’d like to raise £50 per mile but would REALLY love it if I could increase that to £100 per mile. I’m going to be investing a lot of time in this and would love the added incentive of knowing there are children somewhere who will be directly benefiting from that.
Thank you for listening.