Simon Cowell pays a visit to Helen and Douglas House

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On 15 April, Simon Cowell, well-known international celebrity and Patron of Together for Short Lives, visited Helen & Douglas House, the world’s first children’s and young adults’ hospice in Oxford, England. His visit helped raise awareness for Children’s Hospice Week which runs from 26 April to 3 May. Children’s Hospice Week is the UK’s only awareness and fundraising week for children’s hospice services and is run by Together for Short Lives, the UK children’s palliative care charity. Simon’s visit allowed him to spend time with children and young adults with life-shortening conditions, and their families, who rely on the hospice for much needed care and support.

During the visit, Simon met with Sister Frances Dominica, founder of Helen House and pioneer of the children’s hospice movement. As a long-term supporter of Children’s Hospice Week, the visit gave Simon a chance to find out more about the origins of children’s hospice services and to see first-hand the vital work that children’s hospices provide. 

He had this to say after his meeting with Sister Frances: “Sister Frances is my real life Superhero, because without her there probably wouldn’t be these hospices. She’s changed the lives of countless people who really needed help. As Patron of Together for Short Lives, it is always a privilege to spend time with the brave families supported by children’s hospices, and today has been no exception. Far from being the dark and gloomy places that some people might think, children’s hospices are bright and happy spaces, providing a lifeline that many families cannot do without. The thought of not having these places is literally unthinkable. Please be a hero in Children’s Hospice Week and help even more families make the most of every precious moment together.”

After chatting with children and families over tea and cakes in Helen House, Simon was particularly interested to also see the facilities in Douglas House, a hospice for young people aged 16 -35 years, including its music room, audio-visual lounge and bar and specially commissioned wide corridors for wheelchair racing! 

Read the full story on the Together for Short Lives website.

Visit www.childrenshospiceweek.org.uk for information about Children’s Hospice Week and ways that you can get involved.

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