Irwin Mitchell Nominates New Charity of the Year
A charity which arranges for entertainers to visit seriously ill children in hospitals across London is set for a fundraising boost after it was selected to be one of Irwin Mitchell’s Charities of the Year.
The national law firm’s annual charity initiative sees staff across 13 of its offices take part in a vote to select a good cause which they can support through both voluntary work and fundraising events.
It is part of work undertaken by the Irwin Mitchell Charities Foundation (IMCF), an independent charity founded in 1997 which has raised more than £1.8 million for charities in the UK and abroad.
This year, the London office of Irwin Mitchell has voted to support the work of Spread a Smile, an organisation founded in 2013 which takes magicians, singers, and many more entertainers into hospitals to bring smiles and laughter to young patients undergoing hospital treatment.
Expert Opinion“As a firm we have always been passionate about doing what we can to support important causes and organisations through both the IMCF and the Charity of the Year initiative.
“Spread a Smile undertakes incredibly important work to bring joy, entertainment & laughter to children who are seriously ill and we are already planning a range of activities across the year which will ensure that vital funds are raised to support its services.
“Helping good causes is a core part of life here at Irwin Mitchell and we are excited about seeing just how much we can do for Spread a Smile and our other chosen
charities across the coming months.” Alison Eddy - Partner
Spread a Smile has taken entertainers and therapy dogs to London hospitals including Great Ormond Street Hospital, the University College Hospital, and St. Mary’s and Evelina London Children's Hospital in recent years, while it is set to use funds raised by Irwin Mitchell to specifically support its work at The Royal London Hospital.
The site specialises in cystic fibrosis, retinoblastoma and gastroenterology and also has a paediatric critical care unit and neonatal unit for babies. As well as regularly sending entertainers to see patients, the charity also offers VIP days out for patients and is aiming to reach 1,500 children and family members at the hospital across the next year.
Lucy Jackson, chief executive of Spread a Smile, said: “We burst into spontaneous applause when we heard Irwin Mitchell will be supporting us in 2019. We are a small charity so every penny raised really will make a difference to us and help us to spread even more smiles to seriously ill children in hospital in London.
“We are looking forward to getting to know staff at Irwin Mitchell and having lots of fun along the way.”
The fundraising boost from Irwin Mitchell colleagues will enable the charity to continue to help children like Trixie, age 9, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour in February 2018. Trixie, who lives in Portsmouth, required a gruelling five week course of radiotherapy in London.
On the first day of her treatment Spread a Smile’s magician, Martin, did some tricks for her and then made regular visits.
Trixie’s mum, Heidi, said: “Trixie is very shy and therefore didn’t like being the centre of attention, but Spread a Smile knew how to provide the right entertainment for her so she felt comfortable.”
Creating positive memories for families is integral to Spread a Smile’s work and during Trixie’s treatment they were able to take her to see several West End shows, including Matilda and Aladdin.
Heidi said: “We now speak of this time as Trixie’s London adventure. Spread a Smile were able to help her see the period in a positive light. She loved her trips to the theatre with Spread a Smile, and was able to share them with her older sister Darcey.”
During her radiotherapy treatment Trixie had to wear a mask covering her face and shoulders. One of the Spread a Smile artists personalised Trixie’s mask for her with stars, rainbows and a Jo-Jo bow, helping to inject an element of fun during an otherwise terrifying and daunting procedure. The decorations, chosen by Trixie, helped reduce her fears of wearing the mask.
Heidi added: “We feel lucky Trixie’s treatment only took seven months in total, and in that time Spread a Smile gave Trixie some amazing memories and helped her stay focused, positive and distracted her from the horror. It made her time in London feel like a fairy tale. The charity is a fairy tale. And children’s lives should be fairy tales. Spread a Smile made such a difference.”