When you run your own business you can literally receive emails from anyone.
Over the years I have been invited to cast the original cast of Star-wars, cast pork-pies for Channel 4 and many other weird requests. This unpredictability is one of the things I love about being in business. It keeps it fresh and I look forward to looking in the inbox most mornings.
Just before Christmas I received an email from The Birmingham Children’s Hospital asking me to go and train the family support workers to take castings for the poorly children. They had received funding from one of the parents who had managed to raise a whopping £100k and she wanted to put it towards something tangible. They felt that memory making was so important. At the moment they simply gave little plaster imprints which were not really fitting in the situation. They wanted to give something quite high end and something that the family would cherish forever.
They found The Keepsake Co and invited me to go and train them in the art of baby hand and foot castings and whilst I was nervous (and stayed nervous until it was all over!), I agreed and set about preparing to travel to Birmingham to train these 5 incredible ladies.
After a rather long journey and arriving with 3 minutes to spare I was greeted by the most lovely of ladies. Sally, who welcomed me, took all of my kit on a trolley and then came and met me at the car park.
As soon as I saw her I felt at ease and knew I was going to have a wonderful day sharing something which is so close to my heart. Baby 3D Castings is how it all began for me over 16 years ago and is one of the most precious keepsakes you can own.
During the day we had news that one of the children they had been caring for had passed away and I have to say that it seemed to be so normal for them. Not in a cold way, but this was something that happens every day and it must be an incredibly hard job to have. They have to support families through something which they really should never have to face. My heart went out to the family and to these ladies.
We also had some little ones come and join us as models, a sister of one of the patients visited us and LOVED being cast. She wanted us to do one of each hand and foot and was so patient and sweet. She was 3. I commented on how well behaved she was compared to my threenager and the ladies informed me that it was something called hospital syndrome. This little girl had spent the last year or so in hospital while her Mum attended to her sibling and they said that when you spend so much time by a bedside you learn to sit and be quiet very quickly. They said it made them so sad when they saw little ones which were so well behaved as it was a sign of what they had been through. They were talking about her brother being discharged very soon so I bet they can’t wait to get their family back home together.
We were also joined by a little one year old who had celebrated her birthday the day before. She was getting ready to go home now and had spent her entire life in this hospital. She was so smiley and the cutest little girl you could picture, despite having lots of wires around her in the pushchair.
What also surprised me were the Mums. How incredible they were. How strong they were and how buoyant they were. I am sure some of this was down to these incredible ladies who look for ways to make their experience as comfortable as possible – from taking the siblings out for ice-cream to making them laugh through all of the pain they must feel each and every minute that passes.
WE had some lovely results from the day and they were all so excited to have learnt to do the castings properly.
The whole day has left me totally inspired and as a result will be looking at ways for me to bring in a way of supporting initiatives like this via The Keepsake Co. I have loads of ideas (no surprise there!) but need to make sure it is simple and has the potential to make a real difference.