At the beginning of 2023, Jasmine and her family’s world changed forever when Jasmine was diagnosed with cancer.
Jasmine’s Dad Anthony said, “She had been complaining of double vision and sore eyes, so was referred for an MRI to be on the safe side. It seemed standard procedure – she had the scan and we went home. But a few hours later the phone rang and we were given the earth shattering news that Jasmine had a brain tumour. Words cannot describe the pain and anguish we felt then and what we are living with every minute of every day.
“After a second MRI at Oxford Children’s Hospital, we found out that the location of Jasmine’s tumour was extremely rare. There was no option to operate and there was a low survival rate. At best, Jasmine has 12 – 18 months before the tumour grows to the extent that she is taken from us. We sat in the Consultant’s office and wept desperate tears at the thought of losing our Jasmine.
At the end of February 2023 Jasmine started a three-week course of radiotherapy sessions at University College London Hospital (UCLH). It was during her fitting for a radiotherapy mask that the family first met Spread a Smile.
“One of the Play Specialists at UCLH mentioned that the Spread a Smile artist, Marina could help ease the process for Jasmine by painting her radiotherapy mask. Marina chatted to Jasmine, asking what she would like and Jasmine chose unicorns, puppies and LOL dolls. The mask looked incredible and it really was an amazing thing to do, bringing some positivity and joy and helping to reduce the stress and fear around a very difficult time. It made it more child friendly.”
The family moved to London whilst Jasmine underwent radiotherapy and signed up to as many Spread a Smile activities as they could.
“Jasmine – our Warrior Princess – would always put a brave face on things and yet behind closed doors, we would see her vulnerability and how difficult and overwhelming what she was going through was.
“Meeting the Spread a Smile entertainers – the magicians, the therapy dogs and the singers helped to take away the fear of the unknown and made that time in hospital so much easier. Just to do something that was about fun and laughter and for her as a child helped to reduce anxiety for everyone.
“For us parents, Spread a Smile helped to distract from the emotions and fears we were trying to hide from Jasmine. There were days when I struggled to look at Jasmine without crying, but when the Spread a Smile team were there, making Jasmine laugh and happy, it also helped both me and Jasmine’s Mum stay positive. We were able to focus on watching Jasmine enjoy the moment, the magic and the fun and not let fear and emotion take over.
“Jasmine loved meeting the therapy dog and also loved going out of hospital with Spread a Smile to meet other children going through similar experiences for afternoon tea. She came back buzzing about who she’d met and what she’d done. It was such a release.
“Laughter and smiles are contagious, so when Jasmine laughed, we laughed too and it was a relief to see her less stressed and worried. Spread a Smile helped to make light of a very dark situation.”
Please help ensure we can continue to support children like Jasmine and their families by donating today. Thank you.