The X Factor
We’ve got The X Factor
We’re thrilled to announce that profits from this year’s winner’s single – The Power of Love by Dalton Harris (feat. James Arthur) – will once again be donated to Shooting Star Children’s Hospices, alongside Together for Short Lives. During The X Factor final show, supported mum, Sarah, bravely told her daughter Olivia’s story.
When 11-year-old Olivia was born it was clear to the doctors, and parents Sarah and Ben, that all was not right with their little girl. Instead of heading home in a flurry of excitement with their new baby, Sarah and Ben had to spend the first few weeks travelling back and forth to hospital, whilst Olivia underwent numerous tests. “I felt numb when we went home from the hospital without her,” said Sarah. Olivia was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, due to lack of oxygen from birth. Severely brain damaged, Olivia also suffers from epilepsy, has a visual impairment and is fed via a gastrostomy.
It wasn’t until Olivia was four years old, following numerous bouts of pneumonia, that they were referred to Shooting Star Children’s Hospices. With a new addition, brother Charlie, the hospice was a welcome support and lifeline to the family.
Olivia requires round the clock care. At night she is often unsettled, can get upset and struggle to sleep, so the respite breaks offered by Christopher’s, the charity’s Guildford-based hospice, is vital for the family. Over the past seven years, Shooting Star Children’s Hospices has also allowed them all the chance to spend time together as a family of four. Sarah said, “We love the activity days that Shooting Star Children’s Hospices puts on as they’re great for Charlie and Olivia to spend time together – Olivia has a very cheeky personality and often giggles when Charlie is doing something silly!
“Olivia also loves the Sensory Room and the Hydrotherapy Pool is amazing as it enables us to have family swims. Shooting Star Children’s Hospices really is somewhere we can enjoy special moments together, knowing Olivia’s in a safe and comfortable environment.”
It costs £10 million a year just to maintain our current level of care and less than 10% of that income comes from government funding, so we rely on our supporters’ generosity.
Text SSCX18 £10 to 70070 to donate £10 to Shooting Star Children’s Hospices, or donate using our secure form below.
Shooting Star Children’s Hospices is very grateful to have been supported by The X Factor for a number of years, thanks to the involvement of our Vice-President, Simon Cowell. As well as benefiting from proceeds from the winner’s single, the families we support have been able to get The X Factor experience up close and personal.
Some supported children have been able to visit the set and even take a spin in the famous judges chairs. Other children at our hospices have received surprise visits from The X Factor contestants in previous years.
Here are a few of the supported children who have had their stories told on The X Factor over the years…
16-year-old Josh was fit, sporty and unassuming. He’d had no significant health concerns, until one day the family’s world came crashing down. Josh was diagnosed with Clear Cell Sarcoma, a form of cancer so rare that it does not show up in routine blood tests. Given only a few weeks to live, and with hospital becoming an increasingly stressful place, the family were told about Shooting Star Children’s Hospices. Josh’s Mum Caroline said: “Josh and I were taken by ambulance to the hospice. The moment we arrived at the hospice everything changed. We were given a lovely room, and the atmosphere, support and warmth resonated from every area of the building. The surroundings at the hospice are beautiful, with such incredible attention to detail and care beyond words. It was such a comfort to us. Josh made friends with other children being cared for by the hospice and the family accommodation gave me the chance to catch up on some much needed sleep, knowing he was being looked after by the care team. I had barely slept in weeks and they almost dragged me upstairs to get some rest, but they were doing it because their support goes beyond the medical care for the child; they look after the whole family.
“We managed to take Josh home for Christmas Day but were back a few days later because he was deteriorating quite quickly. Just before New Year’s Eve we were told Josh would likely pass away by the end of the week. He was drifting in and out of consciousness, and despite courageously rallying a couple of times, he passed away a few days later surrounded by his dad, his sister Ellie and myself.” Read Josh’s story
Ruby has a number of complex medical conditions that leave her in constant pain. As she has no defined condition it makes her symptoms very complex to manage. In 2016 then 12-year-old Ruby, and her family, had the chance to go behind the scenes at The X Factor in the run up to the grand final.
“It was so special,” said her father Vic. “When we came out Ruby said it was the best day she’s ever had; basically the best day of her life. It’s what Christmas in your wildest dreams for a 12-year-old would look like!” Mum Nicki added, “For me as a mum it was amazing to see her there. It was just escapism, which is so important for families like ours – it was a chance to live in a different bubble for a while, which is so beneficial. We think it’s fantastic The X Factor are supporting Shooting Star Children’s Hospices like this. Ruby says Simon Cowell is a lovely man!” Read Ruby’s story.
Zoë was born with a genetic bone dysplasia abnormality called OSCS. At birth she struggled to breathe, so much so that she was clinically dead for six minutes while the doctors tried to secure her airway. She had a tracheostomy fitted, which she still uses to breathe. As if this wasn’t enough, Zoë has a second rare life-threatening condition called Moyamoya. Moyamoya causes restricted blood flow to the brain, meaning Zoë gets chronic headaches and mini strokes, which are exhausting for her and means she often ends up in hospital on a drip for pain relief.
Zoë’s mum Britt explains that Shooting Star Children’s Hospices have been a constant throughout. “They’ve been our knight in shining armour whenever we’ve had a crisis – only last year they took us in as an emergency stay for 3 weeks while we were having building work that was compromising Zoë’s health – but the support hasn’t stopped there. Because of Shooting Star Children’s Hospices we’ve been able to not only cope, but have a life and enjoy it.”
Zoë, who is supported by Shooting Star Children’s Hospices’s Hampton-based hospice, Shooting Star House, met her favourite singer, Rita Ora, and even tried out The X Factor stage during her studio tour. Read Zoe’s story.