"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 Children’s charity was formed in 2003 to grant the wishes of children who are living with a serious or life threatening illnesses between the ages of 3 and 18 who live in the United Kingdom. There is currently 49,000 children and young people in the UK living with a serious or life limiting illness, this figure is increasing every year. Rays of Sunshine believes every child deserves to experience happiness and a chance to put their illness on hold – even if its just for one day!
Let me take you back ten 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 One Diabetes. 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 0.5mmols and 39mmols. As a result I would regularly be found unconcious 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 my diagnosis my condition became life threatening and I was transferred to the Leeds General Infirmary in hope some answers would be found. The results showed my body was fighting the insulin I require to keep me alive. Although I needed the insulin it was in fact making my condition worse. Everything was a risk and a guessing game, there wasn't anyone out there with a similar problem and that was the difficult part. My health was deteriorating and each new treatment failed to work.
Eventually I was given an unlicensed and high risk drug with unknown side effects. It was a risk we had to take as there were very few options available. Fortunately the drug proved effective and after a three continuous year stay in hospital, I was delighted to be discharged from my hospital bed with a team of nurses to monitor my condition overnight. 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 Medical Alert Assistance Dog.
Despite it being years of highs and lows, I was fortunate to be granted a wish by the children's charity Rays of Sunshine. When I was given my wish pack my eight years ago by the play leader at the Leeds General Infirmary not alone 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 naivity, 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!
Anyone who has seen the impact a wish can have on a sick child and their family understands the power of a wish. For an ill child having their dream come true benefits them in all sorts of ways. My family and I know only too well the positive impact a wish can have when living with a potentially life threatening condition. Without Rays of Sunshine my wish to go to London to see the Lion King would never have come true. Rays of Sunshine gave us a worry free experience that wouldn't have been possible without their help. My wish gave me that boost and determination to continue to fight whatever my condition threw at me and we have always said it was like 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 was formed and in over 5 years, together with the help of family and friends we have raised over £50,000 for Rays of Sunshine. In 2010, I became Special Ambassador and Wish Coordinator for the charity in which I am fortunate to be able to see the impact a wish can have on a seriously ill child. I know how important it is to have a wish granted but for you to appreciate the difference this charity makes to thousands of seriously ill children, you need to see their faces as their wish is granted and the video on this page will hopefully give you a small insight into that. These children are the courageous and determined ones in the world we live in today. Every child has a wish but some don’t have a lifetime to pursue them, they have years, months, days.
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
“We don't always have a choice what happens in our lives but we do have a choice to make a difference to what really matters.!
Thank you for reading my page and donating to Rays of Sunshine. However big or small, your donation makes a huge difference to the lives of thousands of seriously ill children in the United Kingdom.
Thank you, Alice xxx
Rays of Sunshine's Special Ambassador and former wish child!
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