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Getting to know: Our Charity Partner, Rays of Sunshine

THROUGHOUT JULY AND AUGUST D&D LONDON ARE PARTNERING WITH RAYS OF SUNSHINE, AND HELPING THEM RAISE FUNDS BY ADDING A DISCRETIONARY £1 TO YOUR LUNCHTIME BILL AS PART OF OUR ‘LIVE YOUR LUNCH BREAK’ CAMPAIGN. THE DISH CAUGHT UP WITH THE CHARITY RAYS OF SUNSHINE TO FIND OUT MORE.

How did Rays of Sunshine begin?

There are currently 49,000 children in the UK living with a serious or life-limiting illness, many will not reach adulthood. This figure is increasing all the time. Rays of Sunshine children’s charity was formed in 2003 to brighten the lives of seriously ill children (3-18) and their families across the UK by granting wishes and providing ongoing support within hospitals.

Mermaid flies in from Los Angeles for Rays of Sunshine’s 3000th Wish

What is a wish and how are you different from other ‘wish granting’ charities?

Wishes are as unique as the child themselves. Wishes give children the chance to put their illness on hold and experience something they could have only dreamed of. Wishes bring joy and hope to the whole family and provide them with treasured memories.

Once a child has a wish granted they become a part of the Rays of Sunshine family and continue to be the “good news” in their life by staying in touch, inviting them to events, outings and experiences.

Denis Law opens a garden with Rays of Sunshine at the Manchester Children’s Hospital.
IMAGE COPYRIGHT: Jon Parker Lee Photography Ltd.

We recognise the strain placed on children when their brother or sister is living with a serious illness. Our sibling focussed events provide the opportunity for children to share experiences, learn skills and meet other children living in similar circumstances. Our parent events provide them with the chance to meet with their peers and form support networks.

Rays of Sunshine’s work creates a positive distraction, reduces isolation, improves self-esteem and creates precious memories. Every day of the year, Rays of Sunshine gives brave and deserving young people the chance to put their illness on hold and enjoy a moment of escape.

What are the top/biggest wishes you have granted?

Since we formed in 2003 Rays of Sunshine has granted over 6,900 wishes. Whether a child wants to be a princess or a fireman for the day, go to Disneyland in Paris, visit Santa in Lapland, own an iPad, meet their favourite celebrity or even a ‘real life’ mermaid, we work hard to make that wish come true.  Each wish we grant is special and unique.

How many requests do you get a month/year?

Since 2011, Rays of Sunshine has seen a 100% increase in demand for our services. On average we receive 100 wish applications every month and visit eight hospitals across the UK.  In 2018 we touched the lives of over 30,000 seriously ill children and their families.

What do you like most about your jobs?

Anyone who has seen the impact a wish can have on a seriously ill child and their family understands the power of a wish.  A lot of people probably think that working at Rays of Sunshine would be upsetting but it’s the exact opposite. It is an honour to be a part of that child and family’s time when they get the chance to experience something so special. Every day we are reminded of the profound effect that we’re having on the lives of our beneficiaries.

Rays of Sunshine Visit Children in Manchester’s Children Hospital – 20th march 2018.

What kind of events/activities do you do to help fundraise?

We receive no government funding which means the more funds we raise the more lives we can brighten. People can take part in a campaign, like the D&D Live Your Lunch Break Campaign where a discretionary £1 will be added to your lunch bill and donated to Rays of Sunshine, or take part in a dedicated event, like:

On Saturday 31st August, Bluebird Chelsea will be playing host to an exclusive yoga class and workshop with Hannah Barrett (@yoga_girl_london). Tickets are £20 with £5 being donated to Rays of Sunshine.

There are many ways people can get involved with Rays of Sunshine, from fundraising, taking on a personal challenge like a sky dive or running a marathon, nominating us as a school or business’s charity of the year, or even volunteering their time to help us bring sunshine to hospital wards.

For more information, please visit, www.raysofsunshine.org.uk, or email info@raysofsunshine.org.uk.