I’ve been meaning to tell you all about Captain Starlight and the Starlight Express Room. These are both programs run by the Starlight Children’s Foundation which helps to “brighten the lives of seriously ill and hospitalised children”.
When I was in the hospital with Abigail we were visited by Captain Starlight (two Captains, actually!) in the ward. They did fun things to help cheer up the kids, like juggling things (and dropping them), blowing bubbles, making balloon animals, telling silly jokes and those kind of things that make kids laugh. They can make grown ups laugh too :) I was so impressed with the two guys that came by. One of them did more talking than the other and he really seemed to be able to read people properly. He got that Abigail was shy and kept a distance from her so she would feel comfortable. (This mightn’t seem like a big thing but so many people DON’T get that and can freak her out – she was already suspicious and extra jumpy so I particularly appreciated him noting and respecting her comfort zone.) He also made a balloon motorbike for Kristian and a flower for my mum. (Abby got a butterfly.)
We also went to the Starlight Express Room while we were there. It’s in the hospital but sort of not, as you go through a short tunnel to get into it. It’s all bright and cheery with music playing. There are craft activities to do, or things to play with.. we had a little play with a keyboard, there were also playstations, PC games, and a Wii. There were some people playing a bowling game on the Wii which looked very cool. Abigail and my mum and I made some peg angels at the craft table, Abigail particularly liked using the glitter, I think. Added later: Also, when we visited the Starlight Express room we saw the same Captain Starlight that had visited us in the ward, and he remembered Abigail’s name and Kristian’s, too. He must see so many kids and their families, it’s great that he really *hears* when people say their names and remembers them for later even.
“Starlight is a not-for-profit charity that receives no government funding for its programs and relies on donations to bring smiles to sick Starlight children.” I have seen them doing good things for a little girl and her family who were in the hospital for a relatively minor condition – imagine how much it must mean to seriously sick kids to have wishes granted or a treat for the whole family so they can try to forget about the sick and just enjoy each other’s company. So if you’re the giving kind, I can wholly recommend the work of the Starlight Children’s Foundation.