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Our Stories

Leah, Ellie and Amelia's Story

Leah, Ellie and Amelia pictured together wearing their tie dye aprons and smiling

No-one can remember when Helium Arts became an excuse for a day out, but they’re glad it did. For sisters Ellie and Leah, the creative arts workshops and camps were a great way to squeeze in a few extra hours with their new best friend, Amelia. For their mums, Helium was a chance to catch-up, take a breath, and just ‘be’.

Read their story

Volunteer Emma's Story

Image of volunteer, artists and children's hands all working on a giant piece of paper. Painting, making shapes, smudging, printing.

Emma’s first experience of volunteering at a Helium Arts community workshop made a bigger impact on her than she could have imagined. She shares her story with us.
When I first heard about the opportunity to volunteer with Helium Arts, I just knew this was for me. I’m studying to be a nurse and have spent time on wards with children who have lifelong health conditions. But I only see them when they’re in hospital for treatment.

Read Emma's story

Jack's Story

Sinead tried to listen, to take it all in. She felt numb with grief. Grief for the future she had imagined for her new family. Grief for the baby whose life would be over almost as soon as it began. Even if they went for open-heart surgery, she knew the odds would be against them. That was eight years ago. Jack’s last operation was a huge success, and he has spent every day since showing the world exactly what he’s made of.

Read Jack's story

Saoirse’s story

a child pouring water in bowl

Saoirse clicked refresh one more time. She couldn’t wait. It was Sunday, and that meant a new art project was about to hit the family inbox. She had loved everything Helium Arts had sent so far, but dressing up as a milkmaid was a definite highlight. Her mum, Sheila, thought it was hilarious – watching her and her sister get the angle of Vermeer’s jug exactly right.

Read Saoirse's story

Paul's Story

Paul didn’t know you could use a salad spinner to paint pictures. He dripped in the colours, put on the lid, and gave it three spins. It was amazing! Paint splatters and patterns danced across his paper plate. He was definitely taking this one home to show mum.

Read Paul's Story

DJ's Story

There aren’t many 8 year olds who know the words ‘Bardet-Biedl Syndrome’. DJ does. They are the reason he has so many seizures, and why the doctors keep testing his eyes. He knows he is going blind. But it was a long time before he was able to say the words out loud.

Read DJ's Story

Tom's Story

When he arrived at Helium Arts, all Tom wanted to do was go home. But we always make sure our spaces are safe, and that paramedics – and parents – are nearby. It worked. For the first time, Tom had somewhere he could go and just be Tom. He wasn’t the boy with allergies here.

Read Tom's Story

Aisling's Story

Aisling held out the beaker for more. It had only taken a few minutes to drain it dry, but she was still so thirsty. Her mum looked down at the empty cup in her two-year-old daughter’s hands. All the signs were there. This wasn’t a bed-time delaying tactic. Her perfect little girl had Type 1 diabetes.

Read Aisling's Story

Shannon's Story

Over the past nine years, 17 year old Shannon has experienced the difficulties of living with a chronic illness while trying to going about her everyday life. At the age of eight, Shannon had her first seizure. At the hospital, she was diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy. She describes her seizures as the ‘funny feelings’.

Read Shannon's Story

Lauren's Story

In an instant, Lauren went from being a normal kid to having to go to the hospital three times a week for dialysis.

Read Lauren's Story

Ailís's Story

In 2017, Helium Arts’ Pop Up Picnic visited family homes in Kildare, bringing a sprinkling of joy, creativity and play to young children with complex needs. One of those children was Ailís, who was born with a rare genetic disorder and has both complex intellectual and physical needs.

Read Ailís's Story

Stephen's Story

Stephen enjoyed his day-to-day life like every child, until he got his first seizure at 13 years old. A short while later, he experienced a second seizure and was diagnosed with epilepsy.

Read Stephen's Story

Sophia's Story

Sophia is 14. This year Sophia participated in a Helium Arts’ project, bringing together a group of teenagers over the course of 2018 for artmaking workshops in partnership with Epilepsy Ireland. The group Sophia worked with all have epilepsy, many with additional needs. They called themselves Electric Feathers.

Read Sophia's Story