A few years ago, I was daydreaming, and thinking back to the pleasure I had, when my children were small, of reading bedtime stories to them. I loved the proximity, the one-on-one time, and seeing their expressions of interest, wonder, delight and surprise. We had a lot of fun together when I was sitting next to their beds. And it got me thinking, wouldn’t it be nice if children who were stuck in a hospital bed, had hospital staff who had enough time to chat and tell stories, but of course they don’t.
So I carried on daydreaming, and thought, one day, if I were to win the lottery, maybe I could set up a charity where the sole purpose would be to have fun with children in hospital, & bring them fun, laughter & respite.
And then I came across the children’s charity ‘Theodora’, helping sick and disabled children, and realised that this charity already existed!
The charity was set up at around the same time as my own children were small. It was established in 1994 by two brothers in memory of their mother Théodora, and was inspired by André’s own experience of spending many months in hospital as a small child. He remembers this time as being scary and daunting, but recalls the fun and laughter his mother’s upbeat visits brought him, and also the other children in the children’s hospital ward, who were also able to share in some of these uplifting visits.
When André and I met up recently, we were able to share stories of when each of us were in hospital as a child, and the memories we have of this time. I spent a week in hospital when I was six years old, and have very vivid memories of my time there. The confusion and pain, and also the childish pranks! It is a difficult time for everyone involved, of course for the child but also their families and friends.
André told me, that he and his brother Jan, came up with the concept of ‘Giggle Doctors’, in memory of their mother. These Giggle Doctors visit sick and disabled children in hospital, in order to give them a little respite and distraction from the distress of a hospital stay. That is their sole role, and they are carefully trained to bring joy to sick and disabled children in hospital.
Now I have built a business that is all about bringing joy to children, so to help fund some of these visits to children’s hospitals, here at Rachel Riley we have pledged to donate £1 from the sale of all heart-themed garments from the Autumn / Winter 2019 season, to Theodora Giggle Doctors purchased both in-store and online. We will also invite our customers to match the donation if they wish.
I am hoping that as well as providing some much-needed funds for this worthwhile cause, our collaboration will also help raise awareness of the amazing work that they do. As most of our customers are parents and grand-parents, I am sure that they will be interested to hear about the Theodora Children’s Charity, helping sick and disabled children.
For more information on this charity
To shop our Rachel Riley heart-themed garments