Just a week before Christmas, Anita (our founder) and Natasha (another founding trustee) set off on a long journey around the South East to deliver gifts to a variety of children & families.

First stop was DJC Cars in Newington. Dan is a regular supporter of My Shining Star, and on this occasion he kindly lent the charity a VW Caddy to be able to transport all of the gifts safely.

First stop was Anita's house where lots of toys and hampers had been stored. Many were gifted by Heart FM or funded by Tesco Bags of Help. The van was loaded up and off Natasha (driver for the day!) and Anita went to the first of their three big stops; Dolphin Ward at the Medway Maritime Hospital.

Once the 'elves' arrived, after parking up and doing several trips back-forward to get all of the relevant gifts, they were met by the wonderful Ann McKinnon (the play therapist who spent a lot of time looking after the lovely Ruby whenever she was there).

Ann stored some hampers for oncology families that were expected in over the Christmas period, and Anita & Natasha also had the pleasure of meeting the gorgeous Callum and his dad. Made even better by the fact that while the 'elves' were there the Drs visited and said he was safe to finally go home (hopefully for Christmas!)

From there, it was off to Bluewater for another visit to the wonderful Heart FM crew at The Giving Tree. Once more they surprised Anita and Natasha with way more gifts than expected, including some truly beautiful teddies from the Disney Store (some of which were given to the charity itself as mascots), along with gifts designed specifically for teenagers, as it was requested that Anita and Natasha were able to provide something special for the Teenage Cancer Trust ward at their final stop for the day.

After a quick stop to load up the goodies and a quick bite to eat, it was then the longest part of their journey to the Royal Marsden at Sutton, where they met up with the lovely CLIC Sargent workers inside the Oak Centre for Children.

The relationship with CLIC Sargent was fairly new for My Shining Star at this point, so it was lovely for the trustees to finally meet face-to-face with some of the support members on the team, as well as being able to deliver many presents for families in need. Some went to families who were in throughout the entire Christmas period, and some for children who were out-patients in for treatment on/off.

When they arrived, Anita and Natasha also requested to see the lovely 11 year old Isabel, a girl local to our charity home (please see her story on the website!). After receiving permission from Isabel and her mum, they donned the relevant protective gloves & aprons and went in to say hello.

It was an overwhelming experience that will no doubt stay with Anita and Natasha forever; just a glimpse of what months in isolation must feel like for a child like Isabel. Being able to bring some Christmas cheer and support was invaluable and really helped to show why My Shining Star exists and is needed.

The Royal Marsden is truly a humbling place; sad and happy at the same time. The staff are all incredible, true miracle workers, but seeing children there over Christmas was heartbreaking for the 'elves'.

My Shining Star plan on making this a yearly trip, hopefully it will grow each year and more & more families and children will benefit from the elves. My Shining Star cannot thank all of our supporters and these wonderful companies for allowing Anita and Natasha to do this xx

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