Thanks to Coventry Building Society’s backing of the Foundation’s Coronavirus Resilience Fund, Shine A Light Support Service, who provide support to families affected by cancer, received £2,000 to fund their ‘Shiny Hampers of Support’.
Shine A Light has lost 80% of its funds due to a lack of community fundraising since the pandemic. The grant from the Foundation has been a lifeline.
Families received 46 hampers over three months which were filled with themed activities, enabling them to take part in virtual activities on Zoom.
Hampers were delivered by volunteers to each family’s doorstep and Sam Schoolar, a survivor of childhood cancer and Founder and Volunteer CEO of Shine A Light, said:
“It’s those conversations on the doorstep that reveal things like the experience of a child that’s still receiving treatment.
“Our families are used to going into clinics and seeing other families, at the moment they’re being chaperoned into a room as soon as they arrive for their appointment and not seeing anyone.
“They don’t get to have any kind of communication with any of the families apart from the service we’re providing. There’s nothing else like this out there in Coventry and Warwickshire.
“One of the big side effects of the pandemic is the lack of support for families during those last months with their sick child.
“We’ve had a few families that have lost their child while in hospital and choosing which parent will spend those last days with their child and deciding who says goodbye through a video call or through a window.”
Thanks to the packs, and the virtual activities, families have welcomed the opportunity of respite. One family supported through Shine A Light commented:
“At a time where we can’t see people and do things, we’ve really valued receiving the hampers and treats. The smiles were absolutely priceless every time we received one.
“We loved getting together on the zooms when we could in-between Emmy’s treatment and being poorly. It was communication with the outside world that we missed and we really enjoyed listening to the children laughing and having fun, it truly was the best sound to hear.
“We cannot thank Sam and the team enough for giving us these memories.”
Sam filled us in on what the sessions entailed:
“We’ve managed to do pumpkin carving sessions by providing pumpkins and carving kits, toffee apple making sessions, virtual parties, quizzes with prizes, a bonfire night where we provided families with hot dogs and sparklers. We’ve managed to do so many activities that we wouldn’t have been able to do without this funding.
“A lovely result for us is we’ve found that the community has stayed engaged and we’ve been able to keep having our families communicating, so while the kids have been doing a craft session, we’ve seen both kids and adults talking to each other and asking how they are.”
Sam finished on a positive note:
“Our charity is completely run by volunteers, we have absolutely loved being involved by putting the hampers together and delivering them, it’s just been so uplifting for us all.”
Watch the Shine A Light hamper process here.