Help children living with illness continue to grow and flourish
For children and young people, living with a long-term illness often means missing out on normal activities. The mother of Sophia, a teen participant on Helium’s programme, told us,
“For kids, long-term illness has a huge knock on effect on your confidence and self esteem. You’re in hospitals, you’re with doctors, you’ve always got appointments, you have to be places no one else has to be, you have to hear things about yourself that other kids don’t have to hear, you have to deal with things that most kids luckily get through life without and they need somewhere to be able to release all this.”
Through the kindness of our supporters, Helium offers a meaningful outlet and community of friends for children of all ages, where creativity is the common factor, not illness. This year, five times more children connected to our programme than ever before. See our favourite moments in photos here:
Helium’s creative programme in the community
This February, participants on our community programme premiered Home Sweet Home, a short film created by teenagers with experience of cancer. This was Helium’s fourth collaboration with CanTeen Ireland, the national teen cancer support group. It’s been an inspiring journey to see the evolution of the creative projects developed by CanTeen members over the years. Their art has grown to reflect their lives in new and creative ways. One of their earlier short films, Mythbusting with CanTeen, created in 2014, was a direct response to some of the misconceptions people have about people with cancer. Home Sweet Home, was an artistic metaphor for the experience of cancer. While there is no mention of cancer in the film, the teenagers drew on their shared life experiences to create a story centred around an apocalyptic event. CanTeen member, Ashleigh told us:
“The whole story – everything’s fine, the apocalypse and after it – it is like us going through cancer: that normal, that beginning, nothing’s wrong and then the apocalypse comes in. That’s like being told you have cancer, you have to go through treatment. And then when you get off your treatment, it’s like that new beginning, that new normal, where you can do all those things you could do before treatment again. But you have a different mindset basically to everything you do in life; nothing’s the same yet it is. Because [the work] tells our story in a completely different way, we have a connection to it.”
Bring the Powers of Creativity to more families this Christmas…
This year, through contributions from supporters like you, 1,600 children like Ashleigh have participated in our programmes, connecting to a community of friends through the creative process. As many more families access our programmes, many more would like to get involved. Right now, we have hundreds of families in all corners of Ireland on our waiting lists.
Will you help us bring the powers of creativity to these families in 2020?
- €150 funds a professional artist to support one more child in our community programme for minimum 6 weeks.
- Any amount you can contribute will go towards expanding the reach of the programme.
- Or can you donate €21 a month for one year? All donations over €250 make Helium eligible to claim tax back of 31%, For every €250 you donate, we will receive an additional €77.
The Helium Arts Creative Health Hub programme works between hospital clinics, community and online settings and takes an “arts on referral” approach, where families we meet in hospitals have the opportunity to be referred onto our community programme. The Creative Health Hub online programme provides opportunities for those most marginalised by serious medical conditions to connect creatively through an virtual system. Medical cover is provided in all of our community work, so children can participate worry free.