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Playing my part in the CHAS Christmas campaign

Robin House Staff Nurse, Christie Church, who features in our first ever TV advert, shares her experiences during filming and explains why the work of CHAS has never been more important.

I joined the team at Robin House earlier this year, not long before the pandemic struck, so things were very different to how we work now. However, the team have really pulled together and we’ve found new ways of working so we can continue to support the families who so desperately need our help.

When we were asked if we would like to be considered to appear in the first-ever CHAS TV advert for our fundraising appeal this Christmas, I was happy to put my name forward as I agreed with the importance and authenticity of featuring a real hospice nurse who works for the charity.

Being on set during filming was fun and exciting but the storyline hit close to home. Working in a children’s hospice is hugely rewarding but can, of course, be really challenging too. The advert depicts the grief faced by families whose children die young. It is a hard hitting message but it’s important that we don’t shy away from the terrifying reality the families we support deal with every day and face this head on to raise as much funds as possible to help provide the support they so desperately need.

We invited families supported by CHAS to preview the advert before it aired so they could see it for themselves and speak to staff about the campaign. I know it was a difficult thing to watch for many of the families we work with but the overall feeling was that the tone and message of the advert is necessary to reflect what life is like when you have a child who is likely to die young.

Working in children’s palliative care is not always easy but I enjoy being able to support children and their families holistically and being able to make the most heart-breaking time in their life the slightest bit easier by making long-lasting positive memories. Seeing a child and their family enjoy their time together and to be able to support them through that is a real privilege. Without support from the public, I and other nurses won’t be able to continue. This is what the advert cleverly alludes to when I disappear off screen quite suddenly.

I was honoured to be chosen to take part in the advert and represent CHAS. It was such a unique experience and something I will always remember. I know this Christmas might be difficult and look very different for us all but can you imagine how much tougher it will be for children with life-shortening conditions and their families? That’s why it is so important for people, if they are able to do so, to support our campaign and give what they can. At CHAS, we make sure the children and families we support can experience opportunities they may not have elsewhere; opportunities to laugh, to smile and to create memories that will be treasured forever. But we simply couldn’t deliver the service we do without the vital help of organisations and individuals from across the country.

No-one should face losing their child alone and with your support they won’t have to. Thank you.

Yes! I will stand with families facing the death of their child this Christmas!

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