One of our children, Jasper, has had a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to interview David Walliams and David Beckham on a Zoom call, thanks to BBC Radio Oxford. This is the second year that BBC Radio Oxford has worked with Helen & Douglas House to give our children the amazing opportunity to be a DJ for an hour and interview famous people and create happy memories for their families to treasure.
Jasper asked to interview David Walliams or David Beckham, but they both wanted to meet him, on an individual Zoom call each, which was such a fantastic experience for him.
DJ for the hour
These wonderful interviews were broadcast on BBC Radio Oxford, from 10-11 am on Friday 3rd July, on the Kat Orman’s show when Jasper took over the airwaves and became a DJ for the hour. Jasper introduced songs, told us why he loves staying at Helen & Douglas House and his parents talked about how invaluable the hospice’s support is to them. Andrea Lambert, our Director of Clinical Services was also interviewed about how we have been helping families at the hospice and at home during lockdown. You can re-listen to the show on the BBC Radio Oxford page.
Jasper is 14 years old and has a muscle wasting condition called Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. He has been coming for short respite stays at Helen & Douglas House for four years. When he visits the hospice Jasper enjoys lots of the activities and said,
‘I like to play pool, play games and go for ice cream and a movie with other kids. Also #Network Saturday has been a great way to spend the day away from my parents and it makes a nice change from being at home. I like the social activities we do and making friends.’
Nicola Jasper’s Mum said ‘We are parents and carers for Jasper as well as working full time. Jasper has a younger sister. Being able to have respite from providing care makes a huge difference and Jasper enjoys staying at Helen & Douglas House. We don’t worry about him when he is there and the hospice has everything he needs for great care, including qualified nurses and carers. We can have a rare chance to relax and have a break, with the added confidence that Jasper is being cared for whilst having a great time.
The services provided by Helen & Douglas House are very special to us. It is the only place that Jasper can stay away overnight that we can be confident that he is cared for and has activities that he enjoys so much. He loves to go there and stay for 4 days/nights at a time. The staff are all qualified carers and nurses and do an amazing job of supporting Jasper when he stays.’
Jasper mentions that he enjoy’s attending #Network Saturdays at the hospice, which provide a day of social activities and games in a supportive environment for teenagers. The Helen & Douglas House #Network Saturdays have been running every other month since Jan 2019. They were set up to create a safe space for the young people in their teenage years who use the hospice to come to socialise and interact with their peers. Disability can cause issues with accessing social activities and the knock-on effect of this can be loneliness, isolation, lack of interest, low self-esteem and confidence.
This youth group is a small step to try to reduce these issues. We do all sorts of activities: art and crafts, team games, quizzes, music, themed days, scavenger hunts, trips out for ice cream, board games, general chat, and we all get together in the middle of the day for a lovely sociable lunch.
Emma Jordan, our Youth Transition Worker said ‘We really love having Jasper at #network. He’s always really chatty, has a real cheeky streak, loves to laugh and has made friends. Jasper joins in with all the activities and particularly enjoys the pool table, playing board games, and he’s a whizz at quizzes. Jasper really enjoys coming along and he has only missed one session.’
It is fantastic to hear Jasper talk to his heroes and talking about why the hospice is special to him. We need your support to continue to care for and support families like Jasper’s, so please, if you can, make a donation to Helen & Douglas House today.