Wear a hat and make a difference – by Lucy Watts (MBE)

In this blog ICPCN’s  Global Youth Ambassador, Lucy Watts (MBE) encourages you to wear a hat on Friday 14 October to raise awareness of children’s palliative care.

On Friday 14th October 2016, ICPCN is holding an event called Hats on for Children’s Palliative Care (Hats on 4 CPC). People are being asked to wear a funky, fun or smart hat to work on the 14th October and buy a sticker to raise awareness of the 21 million children globally who are diagnosed with an incurable or life-threatening condition and who need palliative care. Sadly, few of these 21 million children have access to this care, and this needs to change.

In countries like the UK and US, we have well established palliative care for children, young people and adults alike. People who need it have access to palliative care, at hospital, at home or in a dedicated hospice. I myself benefit from palliative care as a 22 year old young adult, with support from two young adult hospices and a palliative care consultant, as well as a specialist care package which enables me to be cared for in my own home.

Lucy WattsI have a life-limiting, incurable group of conditions and palliative care transformed my life, going from trying to fix incurable conditions to focusing on symptom control and quality of life. Without palliative care, I would not have the quality of life that I do; quality of life that now enables me to be a voice for others, including children and young people with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions, to raise awareness of issues and help improve care and support for others. Quality that allows me to be a Global Youth Ambassador for the ICPCN and work with numerous charities to make a difference.

21 million children with incurable and life-threatening conditions; that’s an enormous amount of children who need palliative care. Developing countries don’t have dedicated physicians, hospices or even access to drugs like morphine in paediatric formulations. Children are left suffering, in pain, with their families facing the burden of care and of dealing with the death of their child, and doing so alone. This needs to change. The effect of palliative care on children’s lives is immeasurable. So please, please support Hats on 4 CPC on Friday the 14th October, wear your hat to work or school and share your photos on social media with the hashtag #Hatson4CPC.

You can make a difference. You can transform the lives of these 21 million children. Everyone can do something, no matter how small, and when lots of people do that small bit, it all adds up and can create change. Change that is vital and urgent, change that needs to happen, change that benefits the 21 million children globally by reducing suffering, giving quality of life, supporting their families and giving these children a good death. You can help us make this change. Together we can make a difference.

Friday 14th October 2016. Wear your hat and think about all the children whose lives you will be impacting upon through this small gesture on this day. Also share them on social media to inspire others to join in and support this event. Remember, together we can make a difference.

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