A cup of tea with Lucy Stafford
Hi! My name is Lucy Stafford, I’m 17 years old and the founder of a project called Hospital Love Bundles, where care packages of hospital essentials and treats are send to 13-21 year old across the UK facing long and/ or frequent hospital stays.
I just so happen to have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. Ehlers Danlos Syndrome is a connective tissue disorder that causes potentially very serious, multi-systemic complications due to a faulty production of collagen.
Over the past year in particular, I have spent much more time in hospital than a teenager should. This is mainly as a result of gastrointestinal failure, which on my most recent admission of the past 5 weeks has required intravenous nutrition (TPN). Everybody’s hoping and praying that this is a temporary setback, but only time will tell with the unpredictable nature of Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.
This admission was my first time on an adult ward, as my care has been transferred from paediatrics. It has highlighted to me the unique difficulties of being so unwell at this age. Of course, nobody should face harsh, risky treatments and long periods of time in hospital at any age, but being a young person and being unwell presents it’s own struggles.
At this age, our peers are growing in independence and learning to stand on their own two feet, while we are often more reliant than ever on others for basic care. Others are dreaming of university and their first jobs, but unwell young people cannot ignore the fact that they do not know how their conditions will progress. Regularly missing out on education and seeing friends can make a young person isolated, particularly when they need support the most.
That’s why I started Hospital Love Bundles on my latest admission. I wanted to do something that makes a hospital room a bit brighter, and a young person a bit more comfortable. While it doesn’t take away treatments and time away from home, I hope it provides a small something to cheer up an unwell young person and remind them that they are never alone in their fight.
In just a week, I have received incredibly kind donations from both individuals, as well as products from businesses who are kind enough to give their beautiful, spare items. I have sent out almost 20 Hospital Love Bundles to young people across the UK, who are in hospital for a wide range of mental and physical health reasons. The response has been truly outstanding.
If you or somebody you know is eligible to receive a care package, please do take a look at our website and make an application. I’d love to provide a treat for someone who is, I’m sure, incredibly deserving of it. If you have any spare, small items appropriate for care packages that you’d like to donate, they would be very warmly appreciated and please contact me via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to arrange this.
To find out more, please visit the website: www.hospitallovebundles.com or follow the journey on Instagram and Facebook (@hospitallovebundles). I can’t wait to see where this project is going, I have big dreams of helping as many young people as possible!
Many thanks and best wishes