About us

When children face life-threatening and life-limiting conditions, we find ways to help them have better days.

About Starlight

Sometimes a moment can lift a whole family’s mood. Starlight exists to provide moments big and small, in hospital or at home, during treatment and throughout recovery. Moments like these and making time for play has never been needed more. We work to find new ways to provide them and work hard to make them possible for families because we know childhood should always be special. 

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. Wish granters who know just who to call to make children’s wildest dreams come true. 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.

Our impact

In 2018/19, we reached 1.3 million children in the UK through our hospital services and gave out over 4,000 Distraction Boxes and Boost Boxes. Almost 1,900 children, young people and families joined us at our Starlight Escapes. Our storytellers put on 166 shows for seriously ill children and we made 641 wishes come true. But our impact goes well beyond these numbers. We help children believe that they’re not defined by their diagnosis.

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.

Healthcare provider

Latest news

What we’ve been up to at Starlight

Meet the team

Say hello to the people who guide our work


The celebrities speaking up for seriously ill children

Annual Reports

Discover our recent achievements and finances

Contact us

We’re always happy to chat

What we do

How we protect childhood for seriously ill children

How you can help

The many ways you can brighten children’s lives

Impact reports

Discover the difference we make, in detail

Our partners

Meet the organisations that make us stronger

Our History

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 make life brighter 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, wishes, Escapes and more, we help children forget their worries and feel the joy of childhood.

Donate to Starlight

Your donation will help Starlight support seriously ill children in the UK

Could help Starlight deliver a pantomime for children in hospital