Rallying up giggles with Theodora Children's Charity

After what was thought to be a minor car crash, 14-year-old Rosa didn’t seem to have any serious injuries. Later, whilst walking with her mum, Sadie, Rosa’s legs stopped working and she had to be rushed to hospital. Worried and upset when Dr Easy Peasy stepped on to the ward, Sadie didn’t really want to be visited by a Giggle Doctor. Sadie kindly agreed to share her story…

“My daughter Rosa was in the back seat when a car crashed in to the back of the car behind, that then crashed in to us. After the accident, she said her back was a bit sore, but that was it and we didn’t think anything of it.

The next day at school, the pain got worse. We went to see a doctor, who recommended we take her for a scan. At the hospital, they didn’t think she had a broken back, so didn’t scan her and we were sent home. Then one day she could barely move and had to take the day off from school.

When I came home from work, I encouraged her to go for a walk with me to keep her mobile. Around 500 metres from the house, her legs just seized up, her body was shaking and she couldn’t walk. My husband and son came and carried her back to the car so that I could drive her to the hospital.  

They kept her in for six days to try to work out what was happening. It turns out she had pre-existing slipped disks and the whiplash caused by the accident had caused her body to shut down when the back pain kicked in. The doctor said it was the most severe case of whiplash he’d ever seen and she still has relapses. She will recover, but they can’t tell us how long it will take.

On the ward, we felt sad for all the other sick children and my daughter got really upset. When you’re on ward with a lot of sick people around you, you’re right in the thick of it. You feel sorry for them, you feel sorry for yourself and you just think, “I don’t want to be here.”  

When we saw Dr Easy Peasy come on to the ward, I was thinking “please don’t stop, we’re really not in the mood”. Thankfully she did stop and changed the whole mood for the three of us. It was wonderful.

It was fantastic how she spoke to parents on an adult level, then quickly changed to Rosa’s level, who was 14 at the time, and then she moved on to the little boy opposite, who was 3 or 4 years old. You can definitely see the change and the happiness that the Giggle Doctors bring to the ward.

Dr Easy Peasy changed our whole outlook. It takes the child out of the situation and makes them forget everything. She was very nice and funny and both me and my husband felt so glad that she stopped. We didn’t speak to each other, but we were both thinking “please don’t stop, please don’t stop” when she first arrived. How wrong we were.”

Sadie and Rosa’s encounter with Dr Easy Peasy was facilitated by Theodora Children’s Charity. Believing that all children deserve laughter, Theodora Children’s Charity provide trained performers, called Giggle Doctors, to hospitals, hospices and specialist care centres. Using music, magic and storytelling, Giggle Doctors transform a child’s hospital visit, which can be a stressful and frightening experience, to one filled with laughter and fun.

Annually reaching over 33,000 children in 21 hospitals, Theodora’s received funding from the Wimbledon Foundation Community Fund in 2017 to provide fortnightly visits by two Giggle Doctors to the children’s ward at St George’s Hospital in Tooting.