The Royal London Hospital Eye Club

Partner Focus – The Royal London Hospital

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This week’s ‘Partner Focus’ features The Royal London Hospital in East London which includes one of the largest children’s hospitals in the UK. It’s specialist Eye Treatment Centre is the only centre in the south of England (and one of only two in the country) that can screen, diagnose and treat Retinoblastoma (a form of eye cancer).

Spread a Smile has been supporting staff and children and young people on the wards for a number of years. Alongside regular in person bi-monthly visits from our entertainers and the usual treat drops and online offering, we recently supported their ‘Eye Club’ and ‘Sib Squad’. The club welcomes children with artificial eyes so they can meet, make friends and learn how to look after their eyes.

We spoke to Gemma Melisi, Play Specialist at The Royal London Hospital about how Spread a Smile is supporting these amazing children initiative.

What is your role as a hospital Play Specialist?

“A Play Specialist uses therapeutic play to support and inform children and young people during a hospital visit, helping them to cope in an environment that can be quite scary. Through play, we give children an outlet to work through their anxiety and stress. We use friendly and comforting toys and medical equipment to help children through unfamiliar events and help to provide distraction during procedures.

“I am based in the Retinoblastoma (RB) service and support children who have RB. Sometimes a child might need to have an artificial eye and through play we aim to make this easier for the patient and family, including a sibling day called ‘Sib Squad’ where we help create positive memories by making scrapbooks.  

How does Spread a Smile support your work?

The Royal London Hospital Eye Club

The Royal London Hospital Eye Club

“Spread a Smile send in their amazing people and entertainers to help support the children at Eye Club. The children had so much fun with the Spread a Smile team and really enjoyed the day.

“I love working with Spread a Smile and everyone always looks forward to their visit. They bring so much joy to the children, families and wards and offer a great distraction to a hospital stay/visit.  Spread a Smile always brings that smile! They allow the children and staff to escape from what can be a really difficult time. We really can’t thank Spread a Smile enough for your support. Keep up the amazing work and we can’t wait to do it all again soon!”

Please help us continue our vital work spreading smiles to children in hospital by donating today. Thank you.