Starlight Children’s Foundation

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Originally published in December 2003 icon

Starlight Children’s Foundation

Thirteen year old Jade’s one wish was to meet David and Victoria Beckham and, with the help of Starlight Children’s Foundation her wish came true.

Jade, who suffers from a rare form of cancer, affecting her pelvis, abdomen liver and lungs, was driven by chauffeur, with her mum and best friend, to the Beckham’s home in Hertfordshire, had brunch with the family, met the family dog and Brooklyn’s Shetland pony and was treated like a VIP for the most memorable day of her life.

Jade with the Beckhams

All this was made possible by the Starlight Children’s Foundation, the national wish-granting charity for seriously ill children in the UK.

Starlight was founded when actress Emma Samms took a boy suffering from Ieukaemia to Disneyland. Founded in 1987, the charity has grown from this single act of kindness to become an organisation which helps over 4,000 children every year all over the UK.

It’s widely believed that happy children get better more quickly. Medical research in the US has shown that laughter helps to relax them and this has a significant impact on how they deal with pain. So Starlight Fun Centres, parties, hospital outings and distraction boxes have all been designed to help take the children’s minds off the pain, fear and isolation of their illness. Wherever possible mums, dads brothers and sisters are also involved to strengthen family bonds at what is often a time of great stress and to give everyone lots of happy memories to share.

One little girl wrote to Starlight asking Please can you arrange for three stars to be named after me, my brother and sister so that they can still speak to me in heaven? Other wishes include being a chef for a day, swimming with dolphins, receiving a computer and riding in a racing car. The choice is as endless as a child’s imagination and Starlight try to rise to every occasion. As they say If Starlight themselves had one wish it would be that cures could be found for the terrible illnesses that affect children. But until then we continue to provide medicine of another sort: excitement, fun and laughter.

Girls with Santa

So how does it work? Every child with a wish is assigned to a specially trained local Wish Granting Volunteer who will develop a relationship with the child and work at making the dream come true. Because of these dedicated volunteers, costs are kept to a minimum and as much of the funds raised as possible can go to fulfilling the wishes which can cost anything from a few hundred to several thousand pounds.

Christmas is a particularly difficult time for sick children and their families and Starlight needs extra funds to enable them to grant as many wishes as possible. The charity receives neither government nor lottery funding and relies entirely on corporate donations and the generosity of the public.

Even the smallest contribution can help bring a precious smile to the face of a seriously ill child.

If you would like to make a donation, or buy Christmas cards (packs start at 2 99 for 10 cards).

The address is:

Starlight Children’s Foundation
Macmillan House
Paddington Station
London
W2 1HD

Telephone: 0207 262 2881

For more information about special December events, log on to Starlight’s website:http://www.starlight.org.uk

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