Fun and family matter to us at Boden – we’re a Great British family fashion brand, after all. So when it came to the business of choosing a charity partner, Starlight Children’s Foundation was the obvious choice. They brighten the lives of children with serious or terminal illnesses and grant once-in-a-lifetime wishes that involve the whole family. It’s all about spreading happiness and creating unforgettable memories – and who wouldn’t want to be involved with that?
To celebrate Mother’s Day – and to kick off our new partnership with Starlight– we invited two families to our London HQ to take part in a special photo shoot. Between shots (and surrounded by a mountain of Boden outfits), we spoke to two amazing women about how they got involved with the wish-granting charity and their plans for Mother’s Day.
“We don’t see ourselves as a family with sick children”
Sue Allen, from East Sussex, is mum to Millie, 17, and Daisy, 11
“I’d never heard of Starlight until my friend, Jane, nominated us. Both Millie and Daisy have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and Millie was also diagnosed with metastatic thyroid cancer last December. People with EDS have a genetic defect in their connective tissue, the tissue that provides support to many body parts such as the organs, skin, muscles and ligaments. The fragile skin and unstable joints are the result of faulty or reduced amounts of collagen. Both girls rely on daily physiotherapy to help manage their discomfort and Daisy is due to undergo major spinal surgery to help support her as she grows.
“We’re very new to all of this but it started last month with a phone call from Starlight, who explained the process. We don’t see ourselves as a family with sick children so, initially, I found it quite difficult to accept – it’s so generous. We are in a difficult position, though, so if the girls can have a lovely treat, I will accept it with good grace.
“The girls’ wish is to go shopping in New York and to see a Broadway show. We’re going in April and it’s going to be the trip of a lifetime. It has changed the whole focus for us as a family and it’s something to look forward to. When you’re having a difficult day – and there are tough moments – we have a cuddle and then we slowly move the conversation to New York. We don’t dwell on the horrible stuff; we just say: ‘Imagine what it’ll be like getting off the plane in New York!’ It’s mind-blowingly incredible.
“The girls were so excited about coming to Boden. It’s been Daisy’s dream to do something like this for a long time – she is so passionate about fashion and make-up. We were worried Millie might not be well enough after her surgery last week, but nothing could stop her.
“This Mother’s Day, we’re going to celebrate on the Saturday, as Millie has more treatment the following week. We’re going to go out for dinner. As long as we’re all together, that’s the most important thing. When you have illness in your life, you forget about the materialistic things and just think: ‘They can’t take away my memories.’”
“It’s been a whirlwind”
Claire Turner, from Kent, is mum to four children, including Stanley, seven
“Stanley was diagnosed with Crouzon Syndrome in infancy. Crouzon Syndrome is a genetic disorder characterised by the premature fusion of certain skull bones. This early fusion prevents the skull from growing normally and affects the shape of the head and face. Stanley has been through, and will continue to go through, invasive surgeries, but he is always so brave.
“We first heard of Starlight during one of Stanley’s many hospital admissions and approached them for a wish. His wish has been approved and we’re going as a whole family to the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida this October. Since being in touch with Starlight, it has been like a whirlwind, we have been thoroughly spoiled and experienced some amazing days out.
“I would never have imagined that Stanley and I would be having a photo shoot and modelling Boden clothes for Mother’s Day! It’s amazing! Stanley is in his element today, dressing up and being the centre of attention. Some lovely memories are being made for us as a family that we will never forget.
“This Mother’s Day, I plan to sit still for a minute and enjoy a cup of tea – I’m sure most mums will relate to this.”
Find out more about Starlight and their incredible work at starlight.org.uk.