Joshua Smith

Joshua's fundraiser for Variety, the Children's Charity

Fundraising for Variety, the Children's Charity
raised of £1,000 target
Cold for a Cause: Josh’s Ice Bath Challenge for Variety
Variety, the Children's Charity

Verified by JustGiving

RCN in England and Wales 209259, Scotland SC038505
We fund specialist equipment & fun days out to help disabled and disadvantaged children


Josh Smith (32) from East Sussex has embarked on a unique challenge of taking an ice bath every day for a year, all in the name of charity.

Now over halfway through his challenge, Josh is braving the cold to raise funds for Variety, the Children’s Charity, while also spreading messages of positivity.

He has been sharing videos of his ice baths on social media, accompanying them with uplifting messages such as “Keep those big smiles on faces,” “Big love, you beautiful people,” and “Keep your eyes peeled for all the great opportunities the day has to offer. Look for the positivity and you’ll find it.”

Josh decided to fundraise for Variety after his daughter, Esmie (7), was hospitalised at King’s College Hospital in March 2023.

About a week after contracting chickenpox, Esmie fell seriously ill, but her condition was initially dismissed, and the family was sent home with instructions to give her Calpol. The next day, under GP’s instructions, Esmie was rushed back to the hospital, where it was discovered that her left lung had fully collapsed and her right lung was half compromised. Along with chickenpox, Esmie had Rhinovirus, Strep A, and had developed Sepsis.

Josh recalls a particularly sensitive moment: “We had to sign a piece of paper that I’ll never forget, giving permission to the doctors, whom we are so very thankful for, to proceed with a life-saving operation that could go one of two ways. It’s hard to say the other option.”

Esmie was then sent to King’s College Hospital, children’s intensive care unit, for the superior support that was needed, with her mum and dad by her side. Laura, Esmie’s mum, did not leave her side, staying day and night and remaining equally as positive throughout the ordeal.

Josh said, “The nurses performed a miracle, and we will forever remember the efforts they put into our little girl, treating her as if she were their own. This dedication was a beacon of hope and strength for our family during the most challenging times.”

For the first couple of weeks, the family felt helpless as they watched the life support machines keep their little girl alive. Each day, they hoped Esmie would open her eyes and take over the breathing on her own. Then, after a few weeks, they started seeing signs of her breathing independently. “Is that her own breath?” they would ask the nurse, marking the first sign of progress.

The moment Esmie finally awoke was nothing short of miraculous. However, this joy was tempered by a period of shock, as Esmie needed time to adjust and recover before she could speak. When she finally did, one of her first utterances was heartbreakingly poignant: “Daddy, my smile is broken.” This moment, though filled with mixed emotions, underscored the resilience of Esmie and the journey ahead for her and her family.

Yet, hope and joy were soon to follow. When extended family visits were allowed, Esmie’s big brother Harvey came to the rescue. With the effortless love only a sibling could bring, Harvey managed to elicit the first smile from Esmie since her awakening. This significant milestone was a moment of pure elation for everyone, marking a turning point in Esmie’s recovery.

Esmie’s brother, Harvey, was the first to make her smile after she woke up

In true Joshua style, he decided to continue spreading positive messages after Esmie’s recovery. He said, “I decided to do an ice bath challenge because, prior to Esmie getting ill, I was on a positive journey as such with growth books and meditating, which helped me out a great deal. I genuinely believe I would have been in a whole world of trouble if I hadn’t shifted my mindset prior to Esmie getting ill.

“So when we got out, I thought to myself, ‘what can I do to make sure that if anyone else has to go through this, they’re in the best frame of mind possible to be ready for it?’ So I thought I’d jump in this ice bath and say a positive message on the video and try to help people get themselves into a good mentality, keep a high energy, keep a high frequency, and get some good from it.”

After the exceptional care both Esmie and her parent’s received at King’s College Hospital, Joshua decided to give back by fundraising for Variety, the Children’s Charity when he spotted the charity’s logo at the hospital when delivering Christmas gifts to staff and patients on Esmie’s ward.

Josh remains committed to spreading positive messages and supporting Variety, the Children’s Charity, inspired by the exceptional care and support Esmie and his family received during their time of need. He continues his ice bath challenge with the hope of raising awareness and funds to help other children and families facing similar challenges.

A big thanks you for all donations made!!

It’s big smiles on faces you beautiful people ❤️

About the charity

Variety, the Children's Charity

Verified by JustGiving

RCN in England and Wales 209259, Scotland SC038505
Variety, the Children's Charity, is dedicated to improving the lives of children who are disabled or disadvantaged. Our objective is to increase their independence, level of confidence and self esteem. We also aim to improve physical health allowing them to spend more time with friends & family.

Donation summary

Total raised
+ £344.66 Gift Aid
Online donations
Offline donations

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