This Christmas, one of the country’s leading children’s hospice charity’s Shooting Star Chase has launched its alternative Christmas advert.
Featuring ten-year-old Summer as she gets ready for a special festive performance, the advert highlights the importance of sharing magical moments with loved ones over the festive period.
Summer, who’s been supported by the charity’s Guildford hospice, Christopher’s, since she was just 18 months old, has a life-limiting condition which affects her heart and lungs. Her condition means she is fed via a gastrostomy tube and is on a ventilator at all times. Throughout the advert, the care routine she has to go through each day is juxtaposed with the magic of her fulfilling her dream to sing on stage.
Wendy and John, Summer’s parents said: “Summer needs 24-hour care, has a ventilator to keep her alive and is fed by a tube, but despite this she makes the most of every moment. She’s incredibly resilient and determined – she didn’t even have a voice until she was four and now there’s not a day that goes by without her doing what she loves most – singing.”
Whilst the main focus of the video is to remind people of the magic of Christmas, it also highlights how the charity’s vital Hospice at Home service helps supported children like Summer and their families. For some families, Hospice at Home care is as simple as helping parents get their child ready for a festive performance or school play, just like Summer, or making home-made Christmas cards. For others, Shooting Star Chase is there to support them through the darkest days by providing end-of-life care.
This year, the charity’s Hospice at Home service has seen more children than ever needing end-of-life care and over the last six months alone, they have provided more than 500 hours of Hospice at Home care to families facing the unimaginable. The team supports families across Surrey and 15 London boroughs with practical and emotional support and nursing care to manage symptoms, and, in the coming weeks, will give many families the chance to spend the last Christmas they have with their child, at home.
Christopher’s, the charity’s Guildford hospice which supports Summer and her family, recently marked its 17th birthday. Over those 17 years it has provided a staggering 136,000 hours of Hospice at Home support. The hospice, which was officially opened by HRH Countess of Wessex, has recently undergone an extensive refurbishment to install state-of-the-art facilities whilst maintaining the home from home environment so loved by the families who use the hospice.
Nigel Harding, Chief Executive at Shooting Star Chase, “As a father of five, I know that for most of us Christmas is a wonderful, magical time of year. Surrounded by family, it’s a time to relax, to laugh and to enjoy each other’s company. Like me, I’m sure you all have your own memories of at least one special Christmas spent with your family. Now imagine how difficult Christmas must be for those families who have a child with a life-limiting condition. So often they simply cannot create the Christmas we all take for granted. At Shooting Star Chase, not only do we support families through heart-breaking moments no parent should ever have to experience, but we help to create a special moment in time that they will be able to cherish forever. We will be helping to create those lasting memories for our supported families this Christmas. I hope this campaign will raise awareness of how we help those families who have nowhere else to turn and convince you to help us provide those unforgettable, magical memories that we know are so precious.”
This is the second time a Shooting Star Chase family has featured in the alternative Christmas advert by Shape History. In 2017 the social change company produced an advert #FirstChristmas which raised awareness about families facing their first Christmas without a loved one.