Human Heart-Warmer Prince Harry Honors Parents of Gravely Ill Kids

The royal hosted a Buckingham Palace party for families caring for seriously sick children

40th Anniversary of WellChild
Photo: Jonathan Brady/PA Images/INSTAR

Prince Harry is spreading cheer yet again.

On Monday Harry hosted a special party at Buckingham Palace for WellChild, a charity that supports families of gravely ill children so they can be cared for at home as much as possible.

Each year, Harry helps honor the charity by meeting with kids at a heartfelt awards show and party. Monday’s party, which honored the group’s 40th birthday, was all about highlighting the love and commitment shown by parents and caregivers.

40th Anniversary of WellChild
Jonathan Brady/PA Images/INSTAR

Among those attending were members of WellChild’s parent advisory group, the organizers behind the #NOTANURSE_BUT campaign. Across the U.K., a growing number of parents are assuming increasingly heavier home healthcare needs for their ill children. The charity released a video showing how one family copes with the struggles they face as they administer complex medical treatments.

“You’ve been able to share your experiences,” Harry told the parents he met. “Now you’re professionals at this. You’ve got to try to share these experiences and help other people. I’d imagine it’s one hell of a decision to say, ‘I want my children at home.’ “

Among the moms at the event was Hayley Smallman, 40, from Liverpool, whose daughter, Holly, has cerebral palsy.

She said after meeting the prince, “One of the best days of your life isn’t it? When you get to have a one-on-one with Prince Harry.

“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.”

Prince Harry has met the pair before when Holly’s sister Ruby was given an award for looking after her by WellChild in 2015.

Hayley said: “Before he actually spoke to Holly, he said to me, ‘How am I best to communicate with her?’ I said, ‘It would be best if you held her hand and talked to her so she could feel you, use her other senses.

“And he gets down on his knee, and he holds her hand.”

Rhian Greenslade, 47, a WellChild nurse, said: “Prince Harry was very friendly. I’ve been a WellChild nurse for eight years and he was just saying how beneficial the role is.

“We talk to parents about the emotional and financial difficulties they face and help prepare them for bringing their children home.”

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Harry also spoke to Sarah Mena, 49, who is a coordinator for the Helping Hands project, which provides house and garden makeovers so children are able to enjoy living at home.

When she revealed she also sometimes has to say “no” to families, Prince Harry told her, “It’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it.”

Sarah later said: “We have to say no to about 80 percent of families so we were just talking about how we could attract more companies to help out.”

WellChild helps more than 100,000 children and young people who are living with serious illness or exceptional health needs across Britain. Harry, 32, has been a patron of the charity for 10 years.

40th Anniversary of WellChild
Jonathan Brady/PA Images/INSTAR

Many children spend months or even years in the hospital because there is no support enabling them to leave. WellChild’s vision is for these children and young people to have the best chance to thrive — at home, with their families.

40th Anniversary of WellChild
Jonathan Brady/PA Images/INSTAR

Harry’s party came as girlfriend Meghan Markle returned to the spotlight during a promotional weekend for her show Suits. Harry, meanwhile, just returned from a brief visit to Sydney, where he launched his 2018 Invictus Games.

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