The difference we make
Whilst we continue to face challenges due to Covid-19, the last year has also been an exciting one as we’ve embedded Virtual Visits and Giggle-a-Grams into our work alongside the visits we’ve been making in person to hospitals, hospices, and specialist care centres since 1994.
Children receiving treatment in hospital or at home are often isolated from their peers to help keep them safe, and this means they miss out on vital opportunities for play and fun. Our highly trained team of Giggle Doctors help these children, bringing play, music, magic, laughter and imagination to them wherever they are.
Giggle Doctors help to reduce children’s stress levels and feelings of isolation, give them a greater sense of control, improving their mood and their level of playfulness.
Click here to read more about our impact, Giggle Doctor training, and supporting evidence in our 2021 Impact Report
The impact of meeting Dr Dotty and Dr Ding Dong on John, 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.’