Two months ago, many Hills District Mums voted for Ward Angels to be our charity partner for the coming year. Here’s some more information on this amazing new charity and the stories behind how it came to be.
Josie Dincel hasn’t had the easiest road over the last year. Her daughter was hospitalised at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead every month with one horrific stay in the Paediatric Intensive care unit. The time spent in hospital had a profound impact on her and Ward Angels was created as a way to give back to The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, especially the staff who took care of her daughter so well. Josie explains:
They were the hardest moments of my life and also the times when I witnessed and experienced the most incredible generosity of human spirit. Life in hospital is so incredibly hard. Every time I would come home my mind would spin with ideas on how to make life easier for people while in care. I then realised that the best way to find out how to make things better was to speak directly to the staff. Every time we were admitted I would interview the staff about all the things they wished they had on hand to make life better in hospital; things that aren’t usually covered by the budget and not usually donated by people. I soon learned that the items they longed for were mostly comfort items that would be easy for people to donate but nobody knew they were needed.
Josie’s initial idea was to create a Facebook Group to just give the staff at Westmead a big virtual hug. People could leave message of thanks to the amazing staff. But, it didn’t take long for this incredible mum to decide to do more. The Facebook Group quickly turned into a forum used to connect the needs of the hospital and Ronald McDonald House with the people who desperately want to help but don’t know how.
Soon after starting Ward Angels I realised that there are thousands of people like me, with stories of their own, who want to give back in some way. It’s a beautiful thing to be around every day and the only reason Ward Angels is successful in anything it does is because of the incredible collective kindness of our beautiful group members.
Ward Angels has done some amazing things already. The main part of their work involves liaising directly with the hospital fundraising team, the volunteer coordinators, department heads and Nursing Unit Managers to ascertain exactly what items would benefit the patients and families the most. They work with the staff to create “wish lists.” Every wish list is different and could ask for anything from new furniture for the parent’s lounges, therapy equipment and large ticket items like TVs to colouring books and pencils, socks and underwear or bottles of bubbles to help the nurses and doctors to put smiles on the faces of children during their scariest moments. In addition, they donate their time and resources to run events that give joy and comfort to the patients and families in care.
One such occasion was their gorgeous Mother’s Day event for the mums staying in accommodation. Josie explains the inspiration behind the day:
The mums who stay here spend every day of their life watching an illness rip through the bodies of their precious child. They spend their days going to appointments, treatments and therapies, dispensing medications and watching the drastic side effects take their toll, staying strong no matter what so their precious babies don’t have to be. They do all of this while away from their homes and families. These women feel so guilty indulging in anything that gives them pleasure or rest because of what their child has to endure. Most of us at Ward Angels are mothers and our hearts break every time we think of the realities these women face. We can’t take away their child’s illness but we wanted to do anything we could to give them a mental break for a day. A day to be taken care of and celebrated. These women deserve it.
After a vote on the Hills District Mums Facebook Group, Ward Angels was chosen as Hills District Mums’ charity partner for 2015/2016. This is a great opportunity for the new charity to spread the word about what they do, and hopefully raise some funds along the way! The first opportunity came in the form a wine and food evening in July hosted by the fabulous and incredibly generous Epping Club.
It was a bustling evening with lots of mums and members of the club partaking in an array of delicacies (think oysters, chocolates, cheeses and more) and a tipple or three or more! Everyone dug deep and raffle tickets sold like hotcakes with a huge $8174 being raised for Ward Angels on the evening!
Are you inspired and do you want to get involved?