Emilia's Little Heart is a small children's charity who hopes to have a real impact on the experience for children during their time in hospital. We work with the hospital paediatric staff across Kent hospitals and at the Evelina London (Guys and St Thomas' Trust). We help thousands of children every year to cope with hospital by healing through play. We aspire to change their experience by bringing smiles, laughter and fun which aids in their recovery and means they are soon home again.
Emilia's Little Heart is a charity registered in England and Wales. Reg Charity No: 1145863.
Our mission is to emotionally protect children throughout Kent and London hospitals through the provision of play opportunities, fun innovative entertainment and pain distraction tools. They help them cope with their fears and reduce anxiety before and after treatment and procedures. Being able to play enables them to continue at least one aspect of their normal life. Also a relaxed child who feels in control of the situation is easier to treat which inevitably leads to a more relaxed parent.
Meet the people behind the charity, whom are all volunteers.
Founder and Chair of Trustees
When you become a parent, nobody can even begin to explain to you how life becomes a rollercoaster of emotions. I will always be a heart mum, which means that when I had my 21 week antenatal scan and my daughter Emilia was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, (only her right side of her heart working) I learnt very quickly the emotions of being a parent, and had to make decisions about her future there and then. We chose to give her a chance of life and she certainly lived. Our motto for her was “Life is for Living”. We always remained positive throughout her life about her future, and her emotional wellbeing was our priority. We ensured she played, explored and had fun everyday.
When Emilia was in hospital I was there 24/7 and helped the play specialist, school and nurses to make sure that Emilia enjoyed everyday there as best as she could. She really did grow and became a talented, bright and cheeky young lady. Her emotional well being was preserved and I now have many happy memories of her time at the Evelina London hospital. When I thought about that experience I realised how many children who spend time in hospital do not have such a positive time. I decided that the aim of the charity had to support the already good work that is done in hospitals by the very talented play specialists and paediatric staff, in protecting children emotionally. With this, I really feel that I’m giving back for what Emilia was given in life.
My beautiful daughter continues to be the inspiration that guides me through life. I am incredibly proud to be a trustee of Emilia’s Little Heart Foundation and the tremendous work of the charity will make a huge difference to the well being of children who require treatment in hospital.
Emilia’s determination to enjoy life was relentless and her cheeky smile and love for others will stay with me for ever. Her time in hospital was made better by the generosity of others and it is extremely comforting to know that her charity will now ensure that other children get the chance to enjoy a variety of special moments at such a difficult time.
I am fortunate to be a Head Teacher at a Primary School in Kent and Emilia’s spirit drives me on to achieve the very best for all children. To be able to make such a difference to children’s lives is a rare and fulfilling opportunity that I am thrilled to be able to do this, both professionally and in my work for my daughter’s charity.
Rachel, Emilia’s godmother and works as a Senior Staff Nurse at the Evelina Hospital, London. Rachel idolised Emilia and always made sure during the time Emilia spent in hospital that she had many play activities to help her cope with spending so long in hospital. She also made sure she spent time with her, and Emilia loved her dearly.
Rachel has been a nurse for the Guy's and St Thomas' Trust for over 10 years. She liaises with the play specialists and understands the needs of the children from a medical perspective. This helps the charity to provide what is truly needed for the children, and that what is bought is effective in making a difference to their experience and helps them to cope with their fears and anxieties.