The Duchess of Cambridge has praised the way children’s hospices are able to bring “joy, fun and play” to seriously ill children "no matter how short" their lives may be.
In a message to mark Children’s Hospice Week, Kate said that, as well as providing vital expert care, the UK’s 54 children’s hospices were a "vital lifeline" for families dealing with the "toughest of times".
The duchess has been royal patron of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) for 10 years and said she had been privileged to see their “incredible work” first hand.
Children’s Hospice Week, from June 20-26, is organised by Together for Short Lives, the UK charity for seriously ill children and families, and is the only week dedicated to raising funds and awareness for the services across the country.
Kate said: “For any parent, coming to terms with the news your child has a life-threatening condition and may die young is heart-breaking and incredibly frightening.
“Families can often feel isolated, but having the support of a children’s hospice means they don’t have to face that future alone.
“Every day, the UK’s 54 children’s hospices are a vital lifeline for families caring for a seriously ill child, and over the last 10 years I have been privileged to see first-hand the incredible work they do.”
She added: “This year, the theme for Children’s Hospice Week is ‘For the Children’, reminding us all that as well as providing expert care, children’s hospices bring joy, fun and play to brighten each day and help families make the most of their lives together, no matter how short.
“This Children’s Hospice Week, I hope you’ll join me in celebrating the extraordinary work they do and thank them for the life-changing care and support they provide to children and families going through the toughest of times.”
Andy Fletcher, chief executive of Together for Short Lives, said: “As the duchess says, hearing the news that your child will die young is heart-breaking, and families often tell us they feel isolated and alone, and just don’t know where to turn to for support.
“That’s why children’s hospices are so vital. Everything they do is ‘For The Children’, helping families make the most of every moment, whether that’s for years, months or only days.”
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