My name is Ruth and I am a 26 years old Rainbow Fairy!! I originally trained in Contemporary Dance, and then went on to study an MA in Dance Movement Psychotherapy. I have a passion for child development and the therapeutic benefits of moving and dancing, so in running a children’s entertainment company, I have managed to incorporate all of my passions in one! ‘The Giggle Company’ is celebrating it’s 10 year anniversary this year!
Coming from such a big family, and being the second youngest of 5, I never thought we would all end up living so close to one another. We are all based in West London and it is wonderful! I feel incredibly lucky to have such a large, loving and supportive family – they are everything to me.
My younger sister, Grace is severely special needs and is the glue in my family. Although she is unable to walk and talk, she has this incredible ability to communicate through her eyes as well as being very cheeky and intuitive. I have many memories of ‘debates’ around the dinner table as a teenager, and as soon as it becoming ‘tense’, Grace bursting into uncontrollable laughter. Before we knew it, we were all smiling and laughing along with her and had forgotten what we were even debating about to begin with – she puts life into perspective for us all, and definitely taught me the power of spreading smiles…
So you can imagine then, that when Spread a Smile got in touch, it felt like a sign! All these years developing tools working with special needs children, and sharing happiness through entertaining kids can now finally be used to help others – what an honour!
I had my first visit in February 2018, and I don’t think I have ever felt nerves like it. They say anxiety and excitement are the same emotional process, and often it is hard to tell the difference… Well I felt so anxious, yet so excited all in one that I thought I may burst!
However, as soon as I arrived at University College Hospital, and met my first young boy in his bed, time stopped and I was just there, with him, together engaged in the moment and enjoying one another’s company. In a world where we always worry about ‘tomorrow’, this was such a special gift; to spend a few hours being nothing but present, and sharing smiles and giggles with beautiful & brave children – it definitely exceeded all my expectations!
I have to say though, dressed as a rainbow fairy, and covered in glitter, I was concerned the first boy I visited wasn’t going to be interested… I remember looking in my bag at all the ‘girly’ pink glitter I had brought with me and thinking “I’m going to really need to think on my feet here!” Instantly I noticed his Spiderman socks and Avengers stickers on his Ipad (that he was glued to) and luckily, superhero’s are my thing! We started talking about superheros, and before I knew it, we were testing to see who was the strongest and giggling as he beat me nearly every time! Hearing him giggle and seeing him moving around on his bed, when before
he was just lying there, eyes fixed only centermetres from his Ipad screen, I felt so happy! I got him up, moving, giggling and on top of that, I was giggling too!!
After that, every child I visited felt so familiar – the ice was broken. I realised that by simply being present, and engaging with the child’s mood and energy in that very moment was enough! From singing along to Beyoncé to covering smiley cheeks in jewels, I didn’t stop smiling throughout the visit and left with my cheeks actually aching!
I have to say, the best thing about Spread a Smile is the unconditional amount of compassion within the team. Every element is considered with passion and care and it feels so special to be part of something so magical!
When asked what really makes me smile, honestly it would have to be engaging with others. I adore making new connections and learning about people’s stories in life – smiling at strangers on the tube, or talking to the lady behind the counter – moments like that are what make my soul happy! Well, that as well as chocolate and coffee of course! 🙂
I really can’t wait for my next visit to continue meeting the lovely staff, and wonderful children.