The Difference We Make
In 2019, our 24 Giggle Doctors and 10 trainee Giggle Doctors visited over 23,000 children across England. Parents tell us that a visit from a Giggle Doctor can be the first time they hear their child laugh in a very long time. The stories below show just how much of a positive impact our visits can have had on children facing health challenges.
Read about Maisie’s story here as told by her Dad, Sam
‘When Maisie was three years old, she was admitted to Addenbrooke's Hospital with a serious bacterial infection. Maisie was treated on high dependency for ten days and it was touch and go for a lot of this time. However, when the medical team treating Maisie changed her medication, she started to make improvements and was able to go the play room. It was there where she first met Dr Fab – she played her musical instruments and not only kept Maisie entertained, but it also us, her parents. This made a huge difference to Maisie's mood for the rest of the day and really helped to pull the tension away.
Maisie is now 11 years old and she's had a challenging few years with her complex health needs with many visits to hospital. Eight years on, Maisie still fondly remembers the visit by the Dr Fab and she hopes to see her again soon in hospital.
Read about Lily’s story here as told by her Mum, Mary
‘Lily was feeling really low, she was on her 46th days in hospital and missing everything about home! Dr Dotty and Dr Easy Peasy appeared at the door and engaged Lily based on her own possessions. They spotted photos and talked about them to Lily. There was lots of silliness, dancing, gymnastics and blowing bubbles into bubbles! Lily loved them – she was smiling, laughing and actively taking part.
What made the visit really stand out was the personal touch. The Giggle Doctors remembered Lily was a gymnast and based the whole visit around their super silly gymnastic routines. They were hilarious! I especially appreciated that Dr Dotty and Dr Easy Peasy pitched their silliness to Lily’s age knew to back off when Lily was starting to find it difficult to interact.’
‘Staying in hospital is pretty boring and sad but when the Giggle Doctors appear you forget where you are and that you feel rubbish. It is my favourite time in hospital.’
Lily, during a stay in hospital aged 16
Read about John’s story here, as told by his adoptive Dad, Steve
‘In January, we spent a week on the children’s ward at Southampton General Hospital with our 7-year-old adopted son, John. In the last 18 months, John has been diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder. John was linked to an EEG machine 24 hours a day and could not leave his room where he was alone. Staff attempted to engage with him and as expected got limited responses. I was aware of what interested John and tried these. Though being in the same room day in, day out, these soon lost their novelty. Unexpectedly, we had a visit in our room by Dr Ding Dong and Dr Dotty, they attempted initial engagement and got limited responses.
When I mentioned that John likes Harry Potter, Dr Ding Dong and Dr Dotty latched onto that straightaway, got their Hogwarts Express whistle out and announced their arrival on the train. John sprung into action and with a magic spell, turned both Giggle Doctors into Ron Weasley and Hermione Grainger.
The next half-an-hour was filled with John leading both Giggle Doctors around his room, with me following making sure his electrical wires linked to the EEG machine did not tangle everywhere! Through active involvement by the Giggle Doctors, John directed everyone through various Harry Potter movie adventures, doing spells, battling baddies and saving the day. Both the Giggle Doctors were absolutely amazing at playing their parts. It was great to see and experience John being so immersed in a fun-filled period of time, and genuinely engaging with those around him.
It was an emotional experience to see John really enjoying his interaction and visit. It was the highlight of the week, which I’m very grateful to have received and been a part of.
John was so absorbed in the performance that the Giggle Doctors, after numerous attempts, had to prise themselves away to leave on the Hogwarts Express. I hugged and thanked Dr Ding Dong and Dr Dotty outside the room and relayed how amazing they were, and the difference they had made to John’s week.’
Dani’s story, as told by his Mum, Flavia
‘Dani went into Manchester Royal's PICU when he was about 9 months old. Complications in his bronchiolitis meant he had a collapsed lung and the other one was strained, at half its capacity.
It was a very scary time, but he was so brave and has such a thrive for fun, that he just enjoyed the good moments. During the bad moments, l was there to hug him tight, so he made the most of the cuddles.
He was bemused and happy, with the songs the Dr Bananas played on his ukulele. Thank you very much for these acts of kindness. He really lifted up our moods.
I think the fact that l remember Dr Bananas says a lot about what the Giggle Doctors leave behind.’
Dani, after leaving hospital
Ellie and Sarah talk about their experience of Virtual Visits and Giggle-a-Grams