Our purpose is to preserve childhood and limit the long-term effects of serious illness and treatment.
Starlight exists to reduce the impact of serious illness on children and families, in hospital or at home, during treatment and throughout recovery. Making time for play has never been needed more, so we support children, families and health professionals to create moments of escape for those who need it most.
Who we are
All kinds of people make up the Starlight team. Play experts who create Boost Boxes and Distraction Boxes for kids in hospitals. Actors and storytellers who put on unforgettable shows in children’s wards nationwide. Fundraisers who are on hand to help you achieve incredible things in aid of Starlight. We’re all here for the same reason – to help seriously ill children have the best childhood possible.
In 2019/20, we reached 1.5 million children in the UK with a range of services in and out of hospital and distributed over 3,300 Distraction Boxes and Boost Boxes. Almost 1,625 children, young people and families joined us at our Starlight Escapes. Our storytellers put on 178 shows for seriously ill children and we made 442 wishes come true. But our impact goes well beyond these numbers. We use the power of play to improve children’s experience of treatment in hospital.
The memory of a childhood illness can impact for life. If we can make it a little bit more interesting, they may not have such awful association with their illness or experience.
We do everything we can to protect childhood for seriously ill children. That’s been the case since 1986, when Emma Samms and Peter Samuelson founded Starlight. Emma had fundraised to help her young friend Sean, who had a brain tumour, visit Disneyland. She saw the impact that trip had not just on Sean, but on his whole family. Emma decided to set up a children’s charity so many more kids and families could feel the same way – and Starlight was born.
Ready to help children in hospital?
There are so many ways you can protect play for seriously ill children – and whatever you do, we’re here to help you. Whether you want to set up a charity event, include a gift in your will or discover fundraising ideas for kids, read on and let us know if you have any questions.
How we help
Children need to play. It’s about much more than having fun. It’s how kids learn, communicate and figure out who they are. At Starlight, we help seriously ill children in hospital play, laugh and do the things they love. With our Boost Boxes, Distraction Boxes, Escapes and more, we help children forget their worries and feel the joy of childhood.