Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital Charity supports the children’s hospital for Wales to provide world class care. Not only does the charity provide funding for the most up to date medical equipment, but it funds vital support services like play specialists too – helping children like Fliss battle her locked in syndrome.

On the day she became ill, two-year-old Fliss had enjoyed an afternoon decorating the Christmas tree with her family, but woke in the night screaming and unable to move. Following days of medical observation and tests, an MRI scan detected a swelling on her spine.

Noah's Ark Children's Hospital Charity Fliss and one of the play specialists Kelly laughingDuring the MRI procedure Fliss’ condition deteriorated significantly and she was rushed straight to the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital’s paediatric intensive care unit. With a temperature of 43 degrees she was drifting in and out of consciousness and, unable to move even her eyes, Fliss was completely locked in.

The care Fliss received at the hospital was complex, involving a plasma exchange that initially helped her regain movement in her eyes. But her emotional rehabilitation was just as crucial to her recovery. This kind of support, provided by the dedicated play specialist team, is possible thanks to donations like those made by customers at The Entertainer.

Since November 2015, shoppers at branches of the toy retailer across Wales have been using the digital charity box to round up their card purchases to the nearest pound for charity. In only 18 months, Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital Charity has received £14,000 via Pennies – thousands and thousands of tiny donations (just 50p on average) that have added up to help children like Fliss.

After her initial treatment, Fliss was withdrawn and depressed, clearly shocked by her experience and frustrated at her inability to move.

“But all that changed when the play specialists arrived” says Fliss’ mum, Fran. “They didn’t let the fact that Fliss couldn’t move stop them from getting her active, they just took her hands and she painted and glittered through them. Sue, one of the play team would sit by Fliss’ side for hours humming and one day, keen to communicate again, Fliss started humming back and in no time she was saying Mum again.”

One of Fliss’ play specialists, team-member Kelly, said:

“Fliss is just amazing. She’s extraordinarily brave and has had things thrown at her that even as an adult I couldn’t cope with, but she’s done it all with a grin on her face.”

By July, Fliss was well enough to be discharged to her local hospital and a few weeks later returned home to her family. Despite being very pleased to be back, Fliss still talks about her “buddies” at the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital every day.

Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital Charity Noah's Ark playing Connect 4Just £20 can buy the craft materials that were so vital to Fliss’ rehabilitation, while £70 could pay for 1 bed for 1 hour in the paediatric intensive care unit. Thanks to you, all those micro-donations made over the last 18 months are enough to pay for those craft materials hundreds of times over, or to fund for more than 200 hours in intensive care. And you can keep making those pennies count every time you visit The Entertainer.

To find out more about the hospital’s inspiring play specialist team, visit their website.


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