Starlight was co-founded in 1986 by British actress Emma Samms and her cousin Peter Samuelson.

When Emma was nine, her younger brother Jamie became desperately unwell with aplastic anaemia, at that time an incurable illness, and just few months later he tragically lost his battle against the disease. This understandably had a devastating effect on Emma and her family.

Some years later, she visited a young boy in hospital called Sean, who was seriously ill with a brain tumour. He and Emma became great friends and one day as they were chatting Sean told Emma that his dream was to visit Disneyland. He was desperate to go and Emma realised she could fundraise and make his dream come true.

Emma was deeply moved by the positive effect fulfilling his wish had on Sean and his family: “For me, it wasn’t just the look of pure joy and excitement on Sean’s face, but the look on his mum’s face as she watched Sean having the time of his life.”

It was then that the idea of Starlight was born; a charity that could help other seriously and terminally ill children and their families enjoy and treasure the wish of a lifetime, no matter what the future holds.

Starlight now supports children with every possible illness; leukaemia and other cancers, heart disease, cystic fibrosis and other genetic conditions, as well as more routine childhood illnesses and accidents that require hospitalisation. Starlight delivers services into the heart of local communities nationwide.

Follow Emma on Twitter: @EmmaSamms1