By REBECCA OXENBOULD
“It’s hard to explain how difficult it is to have a little one constantly in and out of hospital” says Charley’s mum, Margot. “Life as you know it becomes so much more hectic and exhausting. As parents though, you can’t stop – you have to keep going and deal with it as best you can. It’s difficult for people to understand what you are going through at the time and the effect it has on the family as a whole. It was never just about Charley and what she was experiencing. All of this also had a large impact on Charley’s older sister Samantha. The stress of not really understanding why her baby sister had to go through it, all the appointments she had to be dragged along to and the fun she was missing out on took its toll on her too.”
Charley is now two and a half years old, however she had a difficult to start to life. Born two months premature, little Charley has experienced ongoing health complications due to her early arrival.
As a result she’s spent quite a bit of time in and out of Randwick Children’s Hospital, one of the hospitals where Starlight runs their Captain Starlight program.
“‘I can’t explain how much my husband Peter and I appreciated the Captain Starlights at Randwick. They recognise the impact a sick child has on everyone and parents’ reluctance to leave their child’s bedside. They would visit Charley and convince us to take a break so we could regroup while they entertained Charley. We were happy to oblige comfortable that Charley would be in great hands”.
Captain Starlights are highly trained individuals, skilled at helping seriously ill children, and their families, through some of their most challenging moments – whether it be overcoming the anxiety of surgery, distracting them from the pain of having a burns dressing changed or simply relief from the boredom and isolation that hospitalisation can bring.