Elizabeth and her very special charity
There are some very special people in this world who see a need and quietly and heroically do something about it. People like my remarkable friend Elizabeth. I'm honoured to play a very small part in what she does for the parents of desperately sick children.
"I saw a TV programme about ambulances that are specially fitted out like a childrens' intensive care unit, which transport children to whichever major Paedriatic Intensive Care Unit they need to go to. Then shortly after I was at St Mary’s Hospital and I suddenly thought about parents whose children are rushed into hospital in an emergency, and how the last thing they’re going to think about in that situation is ‘Oh, I might need a toothbrush.'
So I started putting together packs of basic items for parents - flannel, wipes, soap, shampoo, deodorant, pad and pencil (I know from personal experience its helpful to write things down because you can’t take it all in) and providing them for St Mary’s. I’d been doing that, funding it myself and getting some items donated, for 5 years and decided I wanted to open it up to more hospitals.
Visiting the PICU at Kings College Hospital. I wondered whether an eye mask and ear plugs would be useful, because parents sleep sitting in chairs by the incubators so it’s bright and noisy all the time. And then I thought about putting in some sweets to suck on. And now I’m putting in disposable briefs so they can change their underwear. I currently supply seven London hospitals.
I feel as if I'm doing something people really need
When you go to the hospitals and see the children lying there, so ill, with their parents by their side, it’s very humbling and moving. Once your child is sick you don’t want to leave because you don’t know what’s going to happen from minute to minute.
It’s quite fun looking for deals for the items. I try to only buy the contents when I can find a deal. I do a lot of driving around - getting the items and delivering the packs. It does take up a lot of time. But it gives me a lot back. I feel as if I’m doing something people really need.
I want to take Packs 4 Parents nationwide eventually. Its going to be a challenge with funding and logistics. But I’m not going to let that stop me."
Let me know if you think you can help Elizabeth with her remarkable work.