Dr. Simon Parke, Consultant Paediatrician, Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital
29 September 2016
Dr. Simon Parke, a consultant paeditrician, talks about the positive effect he's seen wishes have on his young patients.
Dr. Parke has worked with many children facing life-threatening conditions, and provides day-to-day care as they go through their treatment. He's seen the impact wishes have - and gives his expert, medical opinion on why they're so important.
Dr. Parke explains how life-threatening conditions cut children off from normal activities, leaving them isolated and lonely. He talks about the unpleasant treatment children must go through, meaning they miss out of precious moments in their childhood that other healthy children get to experience.
Dr. Parke has seen first-hand the huge negative impact a diagnosis with a life-threatening condition has on a child and their family, saying:
The world can seem like a very dark, very black place for the child and their family.
How wishes help
Wishes helping during treatment...
Dr Simon Parke said: "In my experience children who go through the treatment with positivity, with things to look forward to, with things to make the experience more tolerable for them, seem to cope with their treatment better seem to spend less time in hospital."
Hello, my name is Hannah and I have worked for nearly 2 years as a nurse on the Children’s Oncology Ward at Southampton General Hospital. Our ward treats children aged 0-16 years diagnosed with a range of conditions, specific to Haematology and Oncology.
Although we try to make sure our ward is a very happy and positive place, the children that we look after every day are often very poorly. Their treatment regimes are long and gruelling and really take their toll both physically and emotionally on our patients and their families.
The medicines we give the children to help fight their disease will in themselves make them feel poorly, often causing them to lose their appetite, energy and hair. We never know how each child is going to react to the treatment we give them – hence the treatment journeys for each patient can be very unpredictable and scary.
Despite being poorly, most of the time our patients just want to forget about their illness and have fun like any other child their age. Make-A-Wish helps to facilitate this, giving children an opportunity to create amazing memories which they and their families will cherish forever. Knowing they are going to be granted a Make-A-Wish experience really gives the child something to look forward to, helping them get through tough times.
Donna is a paediatric nurse working in Walsall - here she talks about the impact that wishes have on her patients.
I have been a qualified paediatric nurse for 14 years. I work in Walsall on a general children's ward.
I got into nursing because my own brother was disabled and I appreciate how much pressure there is on a family when a member of the family is so ill. I understand how special you feel when your wishes come true as we won a family holiday to Florida. Years later I still recall the tremendous happiness and joy. My heart skips a beat when I think about how lovely that act was.
My job is amazing – recently I have had some severe health problems, and I almost lost my life. I have clawed myself back to fitness and hope to go back to work soon. My favourite part of my job is seeing a family go home after a particularly stressful time. Nursing gives families hope and support and I am so grateful to be involved in the lives of children and their families – children who never fail to surprise me or make me smile.
Make-A-Wish UK is a truly astounding charity, and has a huge place in my heart. There is something magical about being involved in granting wishes. The child and the family are in the centre of the process. They are made to feel special and the whole process is a miracle – there’s almost a sense of it being unbelievable or unimaginable, yet it is very real.