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Siblings Day 

“I have a family history with Shooting Star, as my brother had a brain tumour and passed away in 2006. For half of his illness, Shooting Star helped me and my family and continued to be there for us after he died. I had therapy at Christopher’s, my mum also had therapy and I went to Siblings Days, which I loved.

“I was inspired to volunteer because of the link to my brother. Shooting Star has always had such a special place in my heart. I have volunteered for other charities too, but with Shooting Star, it feels amazing to volunteer for this charity because it’s so important to me.

“After I finished university, I applied to be a Care Support Volunteer at Christopher’s. I assisted the care staff with whatever tasks they needed help with, which was quite varied.

“Following Covid, I then jumped at the opportunity to become a Siblings Day volunteer. I started this year and my first event was the Messy Feelings Siblings Day. I wanted to volunteer at the bereaved day because I feel the most connected to the children, as I have a similar story to a lot of them. It was a really fun day, with varied activities, including creative aspects as well. There was a musical session, which I think is a crucial tool to talk about emotions and grief. I have also been to the Rugged Earth Adventure Centre for another Siblings Day, which was pure fun for all of them.

“It feels so vital to have Siblings Days to prioritise these children who have been through such a huge ordeal and who may not have been the focus in their families because they are going through significant trauma. These events are so well tailored to children, making it the most amazing day for them to make happy memories. For some, they perhaps don’t feel they’ve been able to make many happy memories recently. I see children come in shy, scared, nervous and even sad about leaving their parents. Towards the end of the day, they come out of their shell and embrace the day to whatever level they’re able to or willing to. It’s incredible to see and it’s a credit to the Shooting Star staff who organise the days.

“For anyone thinking of volunteering, just go for it. At Siblings Days, everybody is so welcoming. Hannah, who organises the events, is very warm, kind and caring. It’s a positive and loving place to be. I was really nervous about my first Siblings Day because I didn’t know what to expect, but I felt so settled quite quickly and embraced the day. It’s such a rewarding thing to do.

“By volunteering, I am able to connect with children who have gone through something I’ve also gone through. There’s something when you go through trauma like this; when you meet other people who have also been through something similar, there’s something in your soul that just connects. It feels really beautiful and important, but that’s not to say you must have this life experience. I think making connections with these children is so beautiful.”