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support

New year family events

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It’s been a busy start to the year, with some incredible family events and outings for some of the children, young people and families we support.

We once again returned to Underground Cookery School in partnership with cancer support charity Teens Unite Fighting Cancer, inviting young people affected by serious illness to learn how to cook a delicious 2-course meal from scratch. As always, it was a fun day, filled with much laughter, providing a relaxed opportunity for the young people to learn new skills and then sit down together to enjoy the meal they had prepared. Outings such as these are hugely important for the young people we support as they provide respite and a chance to connect and share their experiences in a safe environment whilst simply being a teenager amongst other teenagers.

We also invited families to join us for visit to see Wicked at the Apollo Theatre in London – a wonderful experience and a lovely way for families to spend time together, allowing moments of escape in to the magical world of the theatre.

Last month our good friends at Mildreds Restaurants welcomed families for a delicious afternoon tea at their London restaurant. This monthly initiative is always such a joy, with Spread a Smile entertainers on hand to add to the fun. Often these afternoons enable children and young people going through treatment for serious illness to meet other families in similar situations. To see the smiles and relaxation makes everything we do worthwhile.

We know that everyone in a family is deeply affected by the illness of a child or sibling. Our outings, events and activities aim to support young patients, their parents, carers and siblings and bring moments of respite, joyful experiences and enduring memories at the most challenging of times.

Thank you to Underground Cookery School, Mildreds Restaurants, Apollo Theatre for helping to spread smiles and make all of our family events possible.

To find out more about our family events, please take a look here or register your interest.

Royal Parks Half Marathon places

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Don’t miss out on your chance to snap up a place on Team Smile for the Royal Parks Half Marathon on Sunday 13 October.

Last year 67 runners joined us to take on the beautiful 13.1-mile course on closed roads and within four of London’s eight Royal Parks – Hyde Park, The Green Park, St James’s Park and Kensington Gardens.

This was our largest team to date including some of our amazing supporters and fundraisers from the Corinthia Hotel, Mishcon de Reya, Hamilton Court Foreign Exchange, Downing LLP, Blackrock and Convex Insurance.

“What an incredible day to be part of. I loved every second of it and running in aid of Spread a Smile made it all the more special. It was an emotional endurance text which I would 100% do all over again.” Natalie Donaldson, Spread a Smile supporter

This year, we’re excited to be returning to this brilliant event and hope that our supporters will get in touch to be part of something really special.

Register today!

Event date: Sunday 13 October
Registration fee: £30
Minimum sponsorship: £500 (excluding Gift Aid)

Course: Gentle undulations but generally flat course, making it fantastic for both beginners and experienced runners.

Please get in touch with Rimi at rimi@spreadasmile.org for a chat or if you have any questions.

Children with Cancer UK partnership

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Spread a Smile is delighted to announce an exciting new partnership with the charity Children with Cancer UK, to help improve the wellbeing of seriously ill and hospitalised children and their siblings and family members through entertainment and events.

Children with Cancer UK will be helping fund Spread a Smile’s in-person and virtual entertainer visits to seriously ill children and young people with cancer in NHS Hospitals. They will also be supporting our summer and winter parties and an annual event for families who have lost a child.

Lucy Jackson, Spread a Smile Chief Executive said of the partnership, “We are extremely grateful to Children with Cancer UK for supporting our vital work bringing joy and happiness to seriously ill children across the country.

“The Spread a Smile team of talented entertainers, including musicians, artists, magicians, singers and therapy dogs, currently supports 31 NHS hospitals and three hospice partners. Thanks to our partnership, we’ll be able to reach even more vulnerable patients and their families during some of the most difficult times of their lives.

“We are very much looking forward to working closely with the Children with Cancer UK team.”

Jo Elvin, CEO of Children with Cancer UK said: “’We are delighted to be partnering with Spread a Smile. The support they provide to children, parents and siblings whilst they are going through the unimaginable is incredibly inspiring.

“To bring smiles to the families, even on their darkest days, and support their wellbeing is a core value of Children with Cancer UK and we look forward to working together to bring more happiness to those in need.“

The partnership will launch officially on 1 November and will see Children with Cancer UK funding in-person entertainer visits to a number of Spread a Smile partner hospitals as well as virtual entertainer and art visits to children who are in hospital and at home.

Children with Cancer UK will be able to support Spread a Smile in their growth with the aim to increase their number of partners to 38 by the end of the 2023/24, then to 50 by the end of 2024/25. Currently around 50% of the children and young people Spread a Smile support are oncology patients.

Families supported by Children with Cancer UK will be included in Spread a Smile’s Christmas ‘Smile Hamper’ initiative, which sees seriously ill children and their siblings receive personalised gift boxes, delivered to them at home or in hospital and will be invited to meet Father Christmas in Spread a Smile’s virtual Santa’s Grotto. Families will also be invited to Spread a Smile’s annual Winter Party, on 13 January 2024 in Central London and beyond that, Spread a Smile very much looks forward to welcoming children supported by Children with Cancer to other family events including theatre trips and tea parties.

An amazing day at the Royal Parks Half Marathon

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What a brilliant day yesterday with Team Smile for the Royal Parks Half Marathon in London!

67 runners joined us to take on the beautiful 13.1-mile course on closed roads and within four of London’s eight Royal Parks – Hyde Park, The Green Park, St James’s Park and Kensington Gardens.

This was our largest team to date including some of our amazing supporters and fundraisers, our Head of Family Events, Natalie Donaldson, 28 runners from the Corinthia Hotel and friends from Mishcon de Reya, Hamilton Court Foreign Exchange, Downing LLP, Blackrock and Convex Insurance.

“What an incredible day to be part of. I loved every second of it and running in aid of Spread a Smile made it all the more special. It was an emotional endurance text which I would 100% do all over again.” Natalie Donaldson, Spread a Smile Head of Family Events

It was a beautifully sunny day and we loved welcoming and meeting all our runners in our first ever Spread a Smile marquee. Our Co-founders Josephine Segal and Vanessa Crocker and Chief Executive Lucy Jackson were there on the day along with the Spread a Smile team to cheer everyone on.

Thanks to the incredible support and efforts of our amazing fundraisers, over £29,000 has been raised to support our vital work spreading smiles to seriously ill children and young people in hospital.

A huge thank you to all of our runners. We salute you!

Please email Rimi at rimi@spreadasmile.org to join Team Smile for one of our fundraising challenges, including the London Landmarks Half Marathon on 7 April 2024.

Celebrating World Smile Day 2023

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October 6 is World Smile Day and is all about making people smile, through laughter and kindness.

At Spread a Smile we love making people smile every day, but today we have some extra special things planned to help spread even more smiles to the seriously ill children, young people and families we support.

We have a lovely afternoon tea party planned with the team at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) for parents of children on Fox and Rabbit wards. Our amazing friends at Brigit’s Bakery have generously donated 20 delicious afternoon teas for parents to enjoy and two of our talented entertainers will be joining in the fun with music and singing. Our aromatherapist, Priya will also be at GOSH delivering pamper sessions for parents and much needed moments of relaxation and calm. We’re hoping to see many smiles across the hospital from families and the hospital teams alike.

What’s more, Spread a Smile entertainers will be sharing lots of smiles with patients undergoing proton beam therapy at University College Hospital. We really do hope that all of our activities will spread many smiles and bring a little joy.

World Smile Day was initiated by Harvey Ball, a commercial artist from Worcester, Massachusetts, known for creating the iconic smiley face symbol in 1963. He believed that his creation had become too commercialised and wanted to devote a day to genuine smiles and acts of kindness.

We are extremely grateful for some acts of kindness and support from two of our partners for World Smile Day. Alongside their afternoon tea donation, Brigit’s Bakery will kindly donate 10% from every order placed on World Smile Day. Plus, the amazing team at Mildreds have created a special trio of macrons with all profits from sales this month being donated to Spread a Smile. They will also be adding an optional £1 onto guest bills across their restaurants from 1- 14 October. Find out more here.

We’d like to say a huge thank you to Brigit’s Bakery, Mildreds, our hospital partners and all our supporters for helping Spread a Smile do what we do best, today and beyond.

Meet Cary, Spread a Smile fundraiser

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On Sunday 8 October an incredible 67 runners will join Team Smile for the Royal Parks Half Marathon. One of our amazing runners is Cary Driscoll who is taking on this beautiful run in aid of Spread a Smile. We spoke to Cary about why he is running and his top tips for fundraising!

Why have you joined Team Smile for the Royal Parks Half Marathon?

 “I came across Spread a Smile back in 2018 when a family friend’s daughter received visits from their entertainers in hospital. I was touched by the concept and the impact it has on the child and their siblings and parents. So, I decided to run the London Marathon for Spread a Smile in 2019 and it made the incredible experience even more special. I’m really looking forward to taking on the Royal Parks Half as well.”

Is this your first half marathon?

“I have run the Royal Parks Half Marathon twice before, (too long ago to remember the first one!) and it is my favourite half marathon. The crowds as you run into the Hyde Park entrance after running past Buckingham Palace has stuck in my mind ever since. I can’t wait to experience this again for Spread a Smile.”

How have you found the training?

“I know that my marathon days are past me due to cumulative injuries to different parts of my legs and feet!  I’ve found training challenging as a new and wonderful heel injury called Plantar Fasciitis which makes walking very painful for days after a run.  I’ve been managing this by reducing the amount of runs I do and gratefully I’m good to go for Sunday. Team Smile have been brilliant at supporting and motivating me in my training and when I think of the families I’m fundraising to support, I know it will all be worth it.”

What are you looking forward to the most?

“I’m really looking forward to waving to the Spread a Smile supporters at Mile 9 and even more so at Mile 12! I know they will bring plenty of smiles and cheers to help me along. It’s great to know I’m part of a big team that are behind each other every step of the way.”

Any tips for fundraising?

“Regular, but not too regular social media reminders, concentrating on the incredible work Spread a Smile do. I find it strikes a chord with many people who were not previously aware of Spread a Smile, and even if the publicity doesn’t result in immediate donations, it will plant a seed for later – for your fundraising or someone else who fund raises for Spread a Smile in the future.”

Good luck to Cary and all our runners. We’ll be there to cheer you on!

If you’re inspired and would like to join Team Smile for future fundraising challenges, please email Rimi at rimi@spreadasmile.org – why not take one of our places for the London Landmarks Half Marathon in April 2024? Find out more here.

ICBC Standard Bank

ICBC partnership farewell

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Last week we said a fond farewell to our charity partner for the past five years, ICBC Standard Bank plc.

During this time, ICBC have raised an incredible £90,000 for Spread a Smile through a range of activities and initiatives including challenge events, beehive tours, quiz nights, bake sales, raffles, cricket events and generous donations.

Wenbin Wang, ICBC CEO and Vanessa Crocker, Co-Foudner Spread a SmileOur partnership with ICBC has truly been a catalyst for growth and change at Spread a Smile and we are extremely grateful and proud of everything we have achieved together. Their energy and commitment has been amazing and we were delighted to join the team at ICBC for a farewell event last week to show the difference they have helped make.

“We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to all of our friends at ICBC for going the extra mile to help spread smiles to seriously ill children and young people. Thanks to your hard work, support and generosity, you’ve helped us to reach more families and bring even more joy and happiness into the lives of families during some of their darkest times. Thank you.” Lucy Jackson, Spread a Smile CEO.

 

Please do get in touch with the team at fundraising@spreadasmile.org to find out how you or your company could support Spread a Smile. Thank you.