As a Great British family fashion brand, Boden is proud to be charity partners with Starlight Children’s Foundation. This season, we’ve created four intergalactic T-shirt designs in support of the charity* and its incredible work.
Starlight grants once-in-a-lifetime wishes to seriously and terminally ill children, and brings fun and laughter to over 500,000 children in hospitals and hospices throughout the UK. So when it came to deciding how best to shoot the charity T-shirts, we knew immediately that we wanted to involve some Starlight families to make it even more special. Fast forward just a few weeks and our Starlight models were ready for their close-up on our space-themed set.
Between shots (and surrounded by cardboard spaceships and piles of glittery stars), we spoke to both families about how they got involved with the wish-granting charity and how it’s helped their family. Follow us behind the scenes – in our humble opinion, it’s out of this world.
THE CHIPUTI FAMILY FROM HASTINGS
Mum Catherine and dad Tapera Chiputi, parents to Samuel, 11, and Ruby, 7. Ruby is in remission from cancer.
CATHERINE: “When Ruby was two she was diagnosed with a brain tumour. It was the size of a satsuma and was near the base of her brain. She was very close to not making it. She had surgery at King’s College hospital in London and at The Royal Marsden Hospital. After surgery she had eight months of chemo. It was very tough on her and all of us. Thankfully, it was successful and she was in remission for eight months. Unfortunately, the tumour came back and needed further surgery and, at the same time, they also found another tumour. Ruby had radiotherapy to her brain and spine at the age of three. She was also on maintenance chemo for 18 months. She has been in remission for a year and a half and what matters to us is that she is here.”
“I heard about Starlight through a friend on Facebook. Ruby has been feeling and doing really well so I thought it was a good time to contact Starlight to try and get a wish granted. Ruby has had a crush on Gary Barlow since she was about two years old so her Starlight wish was to go to one of his concerts and meet him. I wasn’t sure if it would ever happen, but it did and we went to a Take That concert in Hyde Park and met Gary before the performance.”
“Starlight has also provided us with the ability to meet up with other families who have gone through similar things. We can share experiences and stories and there’s a good atmosphere between us. It’s also been great for our son Samuel to meet other families and to play with the other siblings.”
“We couldn’t believe we were going to be on a Mini Boden fashion shoot. When Hermione from Starlight called us we said: ‘You don’t need to ask us again’. I love Boden. What mum doesn’t? I just thought it would be such an amazing opportunity. Ruby has always dreamt of being a model or in a fashion show.”
Ruby, what do you like best about today?
“The glittery shoes and the stars are my favourite. I like stars because they are shiny. If I had my own star I would call it glittery.”
What was better meeting Gary Barlow or being here?
“I can’t decide, they were both SO much fun!”
THE WELLS FAMILY FROM EASTBOURNE
Emily Wells, mum to George, 11, and sister Katie-May, 7, who both have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Emily has two younger children, Poppy, three and Teddy, eight months.
EMILY: “Katie and George’s paediatrician told us all about Starlight and so we decided to refer them both for Starlight Wishes. The children have a condition called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), which means they have chronic pain, chronic fatigue and a variety of other chronic medical conditions which affects them nearly every day of their lives and will continue to do so throughout their lives.
“We’ve been involved with the charity for over a year. Katie-May’s wish was to go to Disneyland. Starlight arranged for the whole family to go to Florida. We were expecting Paris! It was truly amazing. By giving us the wish Starlight enabled us to experience something that we would never have been able to do ourselves. When we travelled to Florida we had help every step of the way, including at the airport. With two wheelchairs and Teddy in his buggy, it’s not usually possible for us to do things like holidays. Jasmin at Starlight organised every detail! We had a week there and the memories we made in that time are wonderful.
“The activities took the children’s minds off their pain and because the weather was so good they felt really well. With a joint condition, the UK isn’t always the best place to live and our time in Florida made us think that living in a hotter climate would be a very good idea!”
“George’s wish is to have a hot tub in the garden. This will not only really help with his pain, but it will be something he can enjoy with his friends!”
“We feel very lucky to be at Boden today too. It is such a lovely opportunity for the children. We’ve never actually had any professional photographs taken so it’s really nice to have for the memories. It’s also been great to meet another Starlight family.”
For more information about Starlight Children’s Foundation and how you can get involved, please visit STARLIGHT.ORG.UK.
* For every purchase made, Boden will donate £1 to the charity. Selected colourways only. Fundraising period: 3rd October – 30th November 2016
See more in our Starlight feature ›