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Spread a Smile Smile Hampers 2022

Christmas roundup

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Christmas is always a busy time of year for Spread a Smile because it’s a time when the families we support need us most.
For children and young people battling serious or terminal illness, Christmas can mean time spent in hospital, undergoing treatment and separated from family and friends. It can mean time feeling very very unwell and unable to go out and do the Christmassy things that we associate with the season.
So we make it our mission to bring the magic of Christmas and as much joy and laughter to the children we support and their families. In total, more than 4,500 children will be reached through our Christmas activities and thanks to the generous support of our donors and volunteers, here’s how we’ve done it…
We’ve sent out 700 personalised Smile Hampers containing a total of 5,600 gifts across the UK for children and their siblings. Take a look at our ‘Smile Hamper’ film here.
218 volunteers gave up 763 hours of their time to help pack the gifts and each Hamper was full of gifts kindly donated by our wonderful supporters and hand picked with each child in mind.
The Hampers were delivered by our Entertainers door-to-door thanks to 17 brilliant volunteer taxi drivers who transported us safely between destinations.
We are reaching and supporting all 27 of our partner hospitals through our Christmas activities this year. A whopping 3,500 gifts have been delivered to our hospitals for children on the wards to receive for Christmas.

Spread a Smile Christmas Grotto

Our Entertainers once again joined Santa at the North Pole for our virtual Christmas grotto and over 400 children met Santa online over 10 days. For those children stuck in hospital or bed bound this made a massive difference and will provide lasting joyful memories for the whole family.


We’re running a variety of individual and virtual group sessions in the lead up to and around Christmas to continue to provide joy and distraction during the festive period. Some of our Entertainers will also be visiting Hospitals in person on Christmas Day!
If you would like to help spread some Christmas cheer, please support our Christmas Appeal by making a donation.
Just £25 could help pay for a child to meet Santa in our virtual grotto and receive a special gift. Donate Now

Spread a Smile is proud to deliver all of the above to support our families and hospital partners. However none of it would be possible without our brilliant donors and volunteers. So thank you to…

  • Those who donated financially to support our Christmas activities
  • Those who sent a gift for our Smile Hampers and hospital deliveries
  • All of the amazing companies who donated larger numbers of gifts: Aurora World, Barry M, BlackRock, Casetify UK, Cheatwell Games, Derwent Art, Ginger Fox UK, Hasbro, Hunter Price International, Insurance Claims Accomodation Bureau (ICAB), Lush, Men Kind, OTL Technologies, Rainbow Designs Ltd, Spin Master, Swizzels and Wicked Uncle Toys
  • The volunteers who gave up their time to come into the office to wrap and pack: Caroline Lisberg, Carolyn Klaus, Ged Arnold, Freya Melling, Holly Gardner, Louise Jacobs, Megan McGee, Joshua Saul, Andrew Lobb, Liz Gould, Sarah Lennerd plus teams from the following brilliant companies 1 to 3 Coffee Ltd, BlackRock, Blink, Bregal Milestone, Camp Beaumont, Cedar Recruitment, CJC IT, Hasbro, Hain Daniels, Hilco Capital, JNE Partners, LEGO group, LMAC Group, OSB Group, Sharesy, Texel Foundation and Uncommon.
  • WC Hackney Carriage Drivers, Kinetic IT Ltd and DPD for helping to deliver the Smile Hampers and hospital gifts
  • Santa and our amazing Entertainers for their energy and passion
  • Our NHS Hospital Partners, Hospices, staff and teams for being so brilliant.
Maisie and Thomas

Meet Maisie…

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Maisie’s journey began in January 2021 during the height of the second wave of Covid. After complaining of a stiff neck, an MRI revealed a mass on Maisie’s neck. She was immediately put in a neck brace and blue lighted to King’s College Hospital, where after lots of tests and weeks later, Maisie was diagnosed with Osteoblastoma – a type of benign tumour. The tumour had completely crushed her c5 vertebrae, putting her entire neck at risk.

Maisie underwent 13 hours of surgery at King’s College Hospital to remove the mass and the operation was deemed a success. However, 6 months later during a review in September 2021, the family found out that things had changed and the tumour looked different. Their worst fears were realised when Maisie was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma – an aggressive form of primary bone cancer.

After an 8 week period admitted to Stanmore Hospital for DNA genomic testing, Maisie started an intensive course of six rounds of chemotherapy at University College London Hospital (UCLH) to try to shrink the tumour. Unfortunately, the chemotherapy wasn’t successful, leading to more surgery to remove the tumour which took 23 hours across 2.5 days. In October 2022, Maisie started a 6-week course of daily radiotherapy sessions to treat the remaining inoperable cancer in her neck.

Claire, Maisie’s Mum says: “When we found out about Maisie’s cancer, our world fell apart. We found ourselves living from scan to scan, sitting around in hospitals, watching our young daughter undergoing painful and upsetting surgery and treatments, whilst being separated from the rest of our family. The feelings of helplessness, desperation and extreme worry and anxiety were almost unmanageable.”

Maisie and her Mum

Spread a Smile has been supporting Maisie and her family since her treatment started – initially through virtual one-to-one sessions with our entertainers and also bedside visits from our Therapy Dog, Thomas.  These sessions have given Maisie so much joy and laughter, helping to distract her from her treatment and pain. When she feels well enough, Maisie also joins us for our Spread a Smile outings and experiences. She recently came along for our VIP trip to The Lion King in London and met other cancer patients for a fabulous cookery session and meal with the Underground Cookery School.

“Spread a Smile has helped to brighten our days during some of the darkest times. They are like a breath of fresh air and have given Maisie so much to smile about. They help us to feel normal again and forget what Maisie is going through, even if it’s for a short time. What they do is truly wonderful and I can’t thank them enough for helping my daughter to find happiness amongst the pain.”

Please donate to our Christmas Appeal to help ensure we can continue to support young people like Maisie, spreading a smile when it’s needed most.

Just £25 could help pay for a child to meet Santa in our virtual grotto and receive a special gift

Donate Now

Join our fundraising team

Join our Fundraising team

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Are you a Senior Fundraiser looking for an exciting challenge working alongside a brilliant team?

We’re recruiting for an experienced Senior Fundraising Manager on a full-time, 12-month maternity leave contract.

Click here for the Job Description and how to apply. The deadline for applications is Friday 23 December at 5pm.

We look forward to hearing from you.