Almost 200 seriously ill and disabled children and their families make magical memories at Disney on Ice with the Barrie Wells Trust’s Box4Kids initiative at the O2 over Christmas.

The Trust invited poorly children, and their families, to watch the 100 Years of Wonder over five days, bringing immense joy to many. A lot of the families supported by the Trust will be spending time in hospital over Christmas so having something to look forward to means the world to them. Several young people welcomed were even discharged specifically to see the show.

Children came from 20 local hospitals, hospices, and charities to watch their favourite characters skate from the safety and luxury of an executive box. Children who attended the show suffer from a number of conditions, some treatable, some sadly not. One donated box was filled just with children receiving treatment for the childhood cancer, leukemia. One of the young boys invited, at just six years old, is currently in active treatment for aplastic anaemia, his family referred to the work done by the Trust being what keeps “families like our smiling even in times of crisis”.

A mum who attended the show with her two daughters shared what the experience meant to her family, “thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for the most memorable Boxing Day evening at Disney on Ice. Seeing the girls faces light up with the Disney magic is a memory I will cherish forever. At only 9 years old [my daughter] is just 11 weeks out of her 2nd major brain surgery to try and reduce her extensive syrinx. This fantastic gift gave her an evening to forget and distract from her pain levels in a safe beautiful space at an amazing show. They were allowed to be normal little girls for the day and forget their daily health struggles. This is priceless.” Both daughters have the condition Chiari malformation, where the lower part of the brain pushes into the spinal canal. 

For some families, the health struggles faced by each child differ. One Mum came with two of her poorly children, still leaving one behind at home. “The children had a wonderful time, dancing and singing and made lovely memories. The kids felt safe in the box away from other people as their baby brother only has half a heart and is on palliative care, so the kids are scared of getting germs and passing it onto their brother”.

A Trustee from HOPE, an epilepsy charity based in London said, “an incredibly huge thank you to the Barrie Wells Trust Team for the unforgettable VIP experiences they have made possible for children and their families impacted by epilepsy. Seeing the pure joy and excitement of our young heroes as they experienced the wonder of Disney on Ice is truly heartwarming. From the moment our families arrived at the venue, your volunteers ensured a magical and stress-free experience for everyone. Your commitment to bringing smiles to children’s faces really makes a difference and has created cherished memories that will be treasured forever.”

The sad truth is that there will always be fewer empty boxes than there are sick and disabled children. Every box donated to the Trust is filled with such joy and happiness, and it costs so little to organisations who would otherwise leave it empty or simply host another corporate event. Why not sacrifice one corporate event to fill the space with families desperate to bring happiness to their seriously ill, terminally ill, or disabled child?

These 12 events were a fraction of the 376 VIP events held by the Trust in 2023, ranging from entertainment shows & musicals to Premier and Championship football, Jockey Club Family Race Days, Women’s international football and much more.