Story

"Following my Rays of Sunshine wish, i wanted to give other seriously and terminally ill children a similar opportunity to me and knew the only way i could do that was to start raising money from my hospital bed!"

Visit: www.sunshineappeal.org.uk for more information!! 

I am Alice Halstead, former wish child and Special Ambassador for Rays of Sunshine. Rays of Sunshine is a children’s charity dedicated to granting wishes to seriously and terminally ill children between 3-18 years old. They enable the child and their family to experience the joy and excitement of doing something they have only ever dreamt of before.

Seven years ago, I was a healthy fourteen year old who was gaining independence and enjoying planning the future ahead however In June 2006, at the age of fifteen, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. 

 

Diabetes was ruling me, not the other way. What I thought was a simple chronic condition had suddenly changed my way of life completely! Within months of my diagnosis with diabetes, I was frequently being admitted into my local hospital with fluctuating blood sugar levels. A normal blood sugar should be between 4 and 8mmols, mine was fluctuating between 0.5 and 39mmols. As a result I would regularly be found unconscious due to low blood sugar seizures and on the other scale, my body acidic due to extremely high sugar levels.

 

The hospital was becoming my home and normal everyday living like socialising with friends came to a sudden halt. Ten months after diagnosis, my condition became life threatening and I was transferred to the Leeds General Infirmary in hope that some answers would be found. Moving away from home comforts and the company of family and friends was difficult and upsetting but I knew it was for the best.

 

A number of blood tests were taken and my blood was sent global. Everything was a risk and a guessing game, there wasn’t anyone out there with a similar problem and that was the difficult part. Time was against us, my body was fighting the insulin I required to keep me alive and although I needed it, it was in fact making my condition worse.

 

A way of removing my antibodies needed to be found and each recommended treatment I had didn’t seem to work. The suggested drugs were becoming more aggressive; stronger immune suppression treatment, chemotherapy or a bone marrow transplant?

 

After a lot of sleepless nights for my consultant, desperately trying to find a way forward an unlicensed drug was discovered which would remove all my antibody making cells and in effect restart my immune system completely but there were no guarantees and the long term side effects were unknown. It was a risk we had to take as there were very few options available.

 

Although the drug removed my antibodies, having the immune system of a newborn baby brought secondary problems; line infections, blood clots and Endocarditis – an infection of the heart valve.

 

Despite it being five years of highs and lows, I was fortunate to be granted a wish by Rays of Sunshine. When I was given my wish pack five years ago by the play leader at the Leeds General Infirmary, not only was I in a state of shock that I would be considered for one but what would I choose – That was the moment I realised how poorly I was. In my naivety, wishes were for terminally ill children who went to Lapland – how very wrong I was.

 

I decided upon my three wishes and we posted the pack to Rays of Sunshine, clinging on to the hope that one day, I would be well enough to enjoy my wish. Within weeks, we were delighted to hear Rays of Sunshine were going to grant my wish to go to London to see The Lion King. Rays of Sunshine wanted to grant my wish as soon as possible but understood I was too poorly to leave the hospital. They are the sunshine that came into my life when there was very little around, My wish was something I could focus on, knowing in time, once my condition improved, I could enjoy my special wish.

 

After a two year wait, I was well enough to leave my hospital bed for the night providing two nurses joined us to monitor my condition. I couldn’t believe it; the time had finally come for me to enjoy my first night away from my hospital bed in two and a half years and for us to spend some much needed time together as a family!

 

After a sleepless night due to excitement, our two day stay in London had finally arrived. Mum, dad, my sister, Laura, two nurses and I were collected from outside the Leeds General Infirmary and taken to the Leeds station were my magical wish began.

 

Knowing everything was organised for us – from start to finish, all we needed to focus on was having a fantastic time and creating those happy memories that mean so much! Even now, as my condition continues to improve, I look back at the photos of my wish and special times with rays of sunshine with a huge smile on my face – they are the happy memories I have of my unique journey, a journey I never thought I would have to go through!

Rays of Sunshine gave me that boost and determination to continue to fight whatever my condition threw at me! Having a Rays of Sunshine wish granted is definitely one of the best medicines!!

Following my wish, I wanted to give other children a similar opportunity to me and knew the only was I could do that was to start fundraising from my hospital bed! I have met so many lovely families and sadly not all of them are now complete.

Within 3 months of my wish, Alice’s Sunshine Appeal in aid of Rays of Sunshine was formed and in 3 years, I have single headedly raised over £40,000 and also inspired many people to raise money for Rays of Sunshine in which many special wishes have been granted and turned into happy memories.

 

Not only do I hold the very honourable title of their Special ambassador but in June 2011, I became part of the wish team; I am now a Rays of Sunshine Wish Co-ordinator. I am delighted to be part of the wish team and I’m looking forward to welcoming very brave and inspiration children into the Rays of Sunshine family by granting their magical wish. Reading the wish packs of seriously ill children always makes me remember, there is always someone worse off than yourself - these children are the inspiring ones – they continue to amaze me with their courage and determination!

After three and a half years in hospital, I was delighted to be discharged from my hospital bed in December 2010 with a team of nurses to monitor my condition. My health is continuing to slowly improve and I am thoroughly enjoying being back at home and starting to get a part of my life back with Holly, my hypo alert dog!

What difference will make donation make? 

 

Can you help turn wishes into happy memories?

o   £500.00 will grant a wish for Jake to be collected by Limousine, and taken to Legoland to spend a day of fun there!

o   £750.00 will grant a wish for Emily who is confined to hospital to have a laptop to keep up to date with the latest gossip from her friends! 

o   £1000.00 will grant a wish for Liam to go to London to see a West End Show where he will stay in a top hotel and be driven around the city by limousine!

o   £1500.00 will grant Melissa’s wish to go to Alton Towers , spending 2 nights in the Alton Towers Hotel with her parents, brother and sister!

o   £2000.00 will grant Oliver’s wish to go to Centre Parcs with his parents and sister on a 4 night break!

o   £2500.00 will grant Chloe’s wish to go to Disneyland Paris by Eurostar for 3 nights and 4 days!

o   £5000.00 will grant Henry’s wish to go to Disneyworld Florida for 7 nights!

o   £6000.00 will grant Libby’s wish to visit Santa Claus at Lapland for 3 nights with her parents and 2 brothers!

“I am on a mission to raise as much money as I can, however difficult it may be at times, and help Rays of Sunshine turn wishes into happy memories.” Alice’s Sunshine Appeal has held numerous events, check them out and the future events too… Alice's Sunshine Appeal - Events

 

"Life is not measured by the number of our days but by the number of lives we inspire."

 

For more information please do not hesitate to contact me on alice.halstead@yahoo.co.uk

 

Thank you, Alice xxx

Rays of Sunshine's Special Ambassador and former wish child!

 

Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity and make sure Gift Aid is reclaimed on every eligible donation by a UK taxpayer. So it’s the most efficient way to donate - I raise more, whilst saving time and cutting costs for the charity.

So please dig deep and donate now.

 

 

 

Updates 6

I am delighted to announce I am the proud owner of the Most Aspirational Award as part of the Inspiration Awards for Women! I'm sharing this award with all the other seriously ill children because they are the aspirational ones who continue to amaze me with their determination!

24/10/13 16:40

A huge thank you to the ladies section at Scarcroft Golf Club for supporting my appeal and raising £1503.25 to help grant a wish to a child in the Yorkshire area.

12/06/13 21:41

Well I can't believe I am writing this for the second time this year! I am delighted to announce I have been awarded with Stray FMs Charity Fundraiser of the Year Award! I am absolutely over the moon! Thank you to everyone for supporting me through my unique journey xxx

13/05/13 10:46

Delighted to have been awarded with Outstanding Commitment to Fundraising Award - thank you Rays of Sunshine for inspiring me to make a difference & to all of you who have supported me through my fundraising journey! I can now call myself an award winner! xxx

14/04/13 12:31

Thank you to Skipton Golf Club Ladies section for raising £730.18 for my appeal and for helping grant magical wishes!

02/03/13 14:43

Raising money for

Rays of Sunshine Children's Charity

Rays of Sunshine Children's Charity

Charity Registration No. 1102529

Rays of Sunshine Children's Charity exists to fulfil the wishes of children, between the ages of 3-18 in the UK, of any race or gender who are terminally or seriously ill. It also buys equipment for these children and support the hospices, hospitals and specialist schools that care for them.

Donations 152

You are an inspiration!

Donation by Anonymous on 28/11/13

£20.00

Donation by Anonymous on 13/11/13

£9.36

+ £2.34 Gift Aid

Fantastic work you are doing...

Donation by Anonymous on 10/07/13

£30.00

+ £7.50 Gift Aid

I've read everything about you and you're an inspiration to mankind

Donation by Anonymous on 03/07/13

Donation by Anonymous on 12/05/13

£10.00

Donation by Anonymous on 12/05/13

£10.00

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It was a pleasure to meet you & your parents at the awards. Congratulations again, and thanks for your lovely card. Good luck with your fundraising!

Donation by Melanie (JustGiving) on 30/04/13

£20.00

+ £5.00 Gift Aid

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Happy Birthday Alice ...AP x

Donation by Pat Houghton on 22/04/13

£20.00

+ £5.00 Gift Aid

Donation by Nigel Mason on 11/01/13

£250.00

A great cause, keep up the good work. XX

Donation by Gary Jamieson on 11/07/12

£100.00

+ £25.00 Gift Aid

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Congratulations on everything you've done so far, you really are an inspiration

Donation by Anonymous on 05/07/12

£20.00

+ £5.00 Gift Aid

Donation by Anonymous on 05/07/12

£10.00

+ £2.50 Gift Aid

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Just watched a re-run of You Deserve This House. You're an inspiration.

Donation by Anonymous on 05/07/12

£10.00

+ £2.50 Gift Aid

Donation by lee chadowitz on 07/05/12

£20.00

+ £5.00 Gift Aid

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Happy 21st birthday Alice! A little something towards all the amazing work you do, love Taba & the boys xxx

Donation by Tabitha Botting on 28/04/12

£10.00

+ £2.50 Gift Aid

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Happy Happy 21st. Well done for the amazing ball. Many many thanks xx

Donation by Rachel Wright on 22/04/12

£20.00

+ £5.00 Gift Aid

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Congratulations! Happy birthday and well done with all your charity work. From Annie & Pete Denton xxx

Donation by ann denton on 22/04/12

£20.00

+ £5.00 Gift Aid

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Happy 21st Birthday Alice. Here's to granting more magical wishes for Rays of Sunshine. Love Katie Xx

Donation by Katie Lockyer on 22/04/12

£20.00

+ £5.00 Gift Aid

text donation

Donation by Anonymous on 21/04/12

£5.00

text donation

Donation by Anonymous on 21/04/12

£5.00

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Donation by Anonymous on 21/04/12

£10.00

+ £2.50 Gift Aid

Donation by Ian & Isobel Allard on 21/04/12

£25.00

+ £6.25 Gift Aid

text donation

Donation by Anonymous on 21/04/12

£10.00

text donation

Donation by Anonymous on 21/04/12

£4.00

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Donation by Simon Hall on 21/04/12

£10.00

+ £2.50 Gift Aid

Donation summary

  • * Online donations£3,946.36
  • Offline donations£44,981.64
  • Text donations£92.00
  • Total raised£49,020.00
  • Gift Aid£728.25

* Charities pay a small fee for our service. Find out how much it is and what we do for it.