A few months back, Robert Downey Jr. offered you the Best. Day. Ever. We flew winner Harry down to LA where he suited up and joined RDJ at the red carpet premiere of Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron.
But the best part of this Best Day Ever? The $2 million raised supported Julia’s House, a children’s hospice dedicated to caring for children with life-threatening illnesses, as well as their families. This money is helping them build a brand new hospice, so they can support twice as many children. We caught up with Julia’s House CEO, Martin Edwards, for an update.
What’s the update? We’re so excited to hear!
We found our site for the new hospice! A few days ago our offer was accepted to buy a building in the town of Devizes, Wiltshire, UK. It will be legally ours in a few weeks, then we will start creating the architectural design to convert the building into a bright and lovely children’s hospice.
How did this experience come to be?
We’ve worked with Guy Ritchie before and he spotted the potential to do something with Omaze to raise funds for our hospice appeal and persuaded Robert Downey Jr to help. (Guy directed Robert in his two hit Sherlock Holmes films.) Together they have been awesome!
Tell us more about Julia’s House.
Altogether we care for about 100 seriously or terminally ill children each year, looking after up to eight each day in the building and up to another 20 at a time with care at home. Our new hospice, which we expect to open towards the end of 2017, will serve a similar number of new children, both with care in the building and as a base to run home-care too. Our nurses look after the children at home, especially when children live a long way from the hospice.
We’ve heard this hospice center will have some extra special additions.
Specialist play facilities and toys for very disabled children; arts and crafts; sensory equipment; hoists to move the children around the building; children’s respite bedrooms for short stays (which gives the parents a break); an end-of-life care bedroom; and bereavement support for parents whose child has died. We will also provide special support for the child’s siblings.
And it will be a little bit bigger, allowing us to build a teenagers’ activity room, and a bigger room for multi-sensory therapy (special lights and sounds for sensory-impaired children). It will also be partly open-plan, giving more scope for some amazing artwork features in the interior design.
What can people do if they want to help?
While the hospice is under construction, we’ve got two years to raise some more funds for the nurses who will work there. It costs about $4,000 a month to employ a specialist children’s nurse, so if anyone can help please contact us at [email protected]. Thank you!
Any other thoughts?
Yes. Omaze, you are amazing, and so are Robert and Guy and all of Robert’s fans who helped us. We pledge in return to provide the best possible care to these very seriously ill children. This is our life’s mission. Thank you for being part of it.
Thank you, Martin and Julia’s House! We think YOU’RE amazing and can’t wait to see how the new hospice progresses.