Shortly after he was born, Teddy was diagnosed with a lung condition called Interstitial Lung Disease that puts him at severe risk for respiratory infections that can quickly turn dangerous. Since his diagnosis, Teddy has spent the majority of his young life in and out of hospital.

The early months of Teddy’s life were some of the hardest for his family. Lily, his mum, said that Teddy was incubated, in and out of the ICU, in an induced coma, and doctors didn’t think he’d make it to his first birthday.

During this stressful and overwhelming time, Lily turned to the Health Play Specialists at their hospital for support, especially her friend Emily.

The nurses and doctors are absolutely brilliant, but their focus is on keeping Teddy alive. Emily and other Health Play Specialists are not only there to play with and relax the children, but provide that incredibly valuable emotional support to families too.

Lily, Teddy's mum

Whilst Teddy was in the induced coma for four months, Emily continuously brought Lily books for her to read to Teddy, sent links for music and generally provided the needed support and help Lily needed during this time.

When Teddy woke from his coma, Emily continued providing support to his mum while also providing entertainment and distraction to Teddy. She adorned his cot with sensory lights, musical mobiles and homely toys. Emily also brought in different toys, ideas and engaging activities for Teddy at one of his most important developmental stages. A favourite toy Teddy still has with him today was a lion teddy from Starlight which brought him comfort and joy during this overwhelming time.

Emily understands the impact serious illness can have on parents, as well as children. What she does is SO much more than play, both physically and emotionally, it’s transformative in so many ways.

Lily

Right now, there are seriously ill children like Teddy who go without the play resources that can help make their hospital experiences less overwhelming. This makes it harder for Health Play Specialists like Emily to support and care for the families in their wards. This Christmas, Starlight is aiming to deliver toys, books, arts and crafts and immersive entertainment to 300 hospitals who currently lack our resources.

Learn how we’re aiming to deliver play to these children who need it most as part of our #TimeToPlay campaign. Your donations could help us make a difference to the seriously ill children who need us most.