Harry praises work of parent carers at palace reception
The Prince was marking the 40th anniversary of charity WellChild.
Prince Harry praised the work of parent carers and their efforts to support one another as he hosted a reception at Buckingham Palace.
The Prince met parents who had opted to look after their sick children, at the event, marking the 40th anniversary of charity WellChild, and commented on how they had become care “professionals” in their own right.
The charity, of which Harry is a patron, helps seriously ill young people be cared for at home instead of hospital, wherever possible.
Speaking to parents in the Centre Room of the Palace, Harry said: “I imagine it’s one hell of a decision to say I want my children at home.”
Among those at the reception were parents behind the #notanurse_but campaign, which aims to give a voice to those juggling the demands of caring for a sick child.
Leanne Cooper launched the initiative in 2015 supported by WellChild to “lift the lid” on the number of families providing home care, using video diaries and social media.
Ms Cooper, whose young daughter Sophie has severe cerebral palsy, said: “Prince Harry actually asked me where to find the Not A Nurse videos so I pointed him in the direction of the WellChild website and the YouTube channel.
“He was asking really what the message was and it’s that we want to highlight the amount of medical care families are doing at home and then to hopefully make positive change for families, to get them the right support, so they don’t reach crisis point.
“All of our children want to be enjoying life, taking part, going to school, being part of society. But we have to help them to do that.”
Hayley Smallman, whose daughter Holly has cerebral palsy and other medical needs, said she had been “giddy with excitement” ahead of the reception.
“One of the best day’s of your life isn’t it, when you get to have a one-on-one with Prince Harry, have a little chat with him,” she said.
“Our normal routine is so far away from this world and to be invited to Buckingham Palace for the day – it’s just elevated us completely. All week we have been giddy with excitement.”
She said Prince Harry had praised the “valuable” contribution of parent carers and the way their expertise is feeding back into local services.
After their conversation, she also recalled the moment Holly, who is visually impaired and in a wheelchair, met Harry at the WellChild awards and highlighted his empathetic approach.
“Before he actually spoke to Holly he said to me – how am I best to communicate with her? And I said it would be best if you held her hand and talked to her so she could feel you, use her other senses. So he gets down on his knee, and he holds her hand.”
The 40-year-old, from Liverpool, said her daughter was “life-limited” because of her health problems.
She said: “I know I won’t have her for a very long time. So the time that I have for her, I know that we need to make that time count. And that’s what we are doing every day with this campaign.”