On the Thursday before the Easter weekend, we held a Teddy Bears Picnic at The Square for patients and siblings- and it went down a treat!
Designed for children aged 0-7, including patients and their siblings (as well as bereaved siblings), our Project Support Worker Vicky created a whole afternoon of fun. The afternoon included a range of bear-themed arts and crafts, sensory activities such as playdough-making and even porridge-making for Goldilocks’ Three Bears!
The children had fun with the bubble machine, played pass the parcel, pinned the nose on the teddy, and everyone took their very own teddy home!
Of course, a picnic can’t be a picnic without plenty of treats. Whether it was picnic sandwiches, iced buns, Pom Bear crisps, strawberries or vegetable snacks, there was lots for the children to snack on whilst playing the games.
Some of the parents who accompanied their children to the picnic kindly shared some words on why project support work such as this event is important to them.
One dad, whose child is currently being treated at Leeds Children’s Hospital, said: “We all really enjoyed the Teddy Bears Picnic. It was great that Candlelighters organised an event aimed at younger children. We brought our toddler along and she loved it- particularly the sensory play with the porridge oats! It was great for her to have fun with kids her own age without us having to worry about spreading or catching germs as all the other parents there were Oncology parents and clued up on infection control and prevention. We’re normally reluctant to attend ‘normal’ parents and toddler groups for fear of catching germs and bringing them back to our immunocompromised daughter.”
Another parent said: “We really enjoyed the Picnic. It gave our daughter the chance to socialise with children her age in a safe environment. The benefit of future groups would be that patients and siblings can have the usual toddler experiences, but with the assurance of knowing that parents are aware of when to avoid going, because of colds or other illnesses. Plus the parents can speak with others in a similar situation and get a chance to catch up- which they may not get to do on the ward as it can get manic.”
Project support work such as this is a key part of the impact Candlelighters can have on helping making the unbearable bearable for families affected by the different stages of children’s cancer. Only days before the Teddy Bears Picnic, we received a £82,400 grant from Global’s Make Some Noise– some of this grant will go towards funding dedicated project support work such as events like the Teddy Bears Picnic, allowing families a chance to meet together to support each other.