Raising funds for Henry’s Charity can be tough, and at this time of his anniversary in early November, it’s particularly difficult to motivate myself… not this year.
It was the day before the anniversary. I’ve mentioned previously that this is usually a horrendous time, with the build-up often harder than the day itself. This year, BBC Look North came to film our Storytelling project in the Great North Children’s Hospital; one young man made my day.
Young Joel arrived showing off his new glasses and eating Prawn Cocktail crisps; chemo makes kids like strong tastes (with Henry it was Pickled Onion Monster Munch). He loves the sessions with Shelley (the story lady) and, as we set up in the playroom, I could see that Shelley rather enjoys Joel’s company too. Joel even tested Chris, the cameraman’s, skills to the limit with his acting out of the superhero “Traction Man”.
Oblivious to the fact that he was in a Paediatric Oncology Ward and being filmed and watched by several strangers, Joel was simply having a ball. In fact, we all were! The book was secondary to his imagination, whether it was avoiding a sink full of dirty dishes or bouncing on various farmyard animals (with Shelley providing the noises!). Even with Carol Malia joining on the floor to talk to Joel, he was more concerned with the pretend piece of toast in his pocket and ensuring that he didn’t sit on the part of the mat which was the “sink”. He even used the furry microphone to ‘kill’ some of the characters!
It was a joy to see and everything I’d hoped the ‘Storytelling Project’ would become. Lisa, Joel’s Mum, messaged me afterwards to say that they had “such a laugh” (a rare thing for struggling families) and that “Joel is telling everyone about Traction Man!”.
As the session ended, Joel had to go to the other ward as his bloods were ready, whilst Shelley went on to find other children to spread her special brand of happiness and fun.
A wonderful way to spend a morning. Go JOEL!!!
I’m hopeful that the footage will be shown next week (the week beginning 14th November) in the build-up to Children in Need night on Friday 18th November since we’re lucky to have received BBC Children in Need funds for this project.Share