Duchess Kate urges families to make the most of their time together in open letter for Children’s Hospice Week

By Zach Harper

Duchess Kate has written a heartfelt open letter as part of Children’s Hospice Week in the UK. In it, she urged families to make the most of their time together.

The week takes place from June 17-23, and its theme this year is “Moments that Matter.” Kate is a patron of East Anglia Children’s Hospices (EACH), and has been outspoken about children’s mental health through her work with other patronages. The week aims to raise awareness and support for families whose children are seriously ill or have a terminal illness.

In her letter, Kate pointed out that the facilities help families stick together through difficult periods.

Kate had fun painting with some kids during a visit to an EACH hospital in 2017. Photo: © Adrian Dennis - WPA Pool /Getty Images

“Children’s hospices provide vital sanctuaries for those experiencing the very toughest of times,” the mom of three wrote. “They help families and carers build life long memories that are poignant, happy and often filled with laughter.

“Whether through specialist play aimed at deepening relationships between children and families, or through art and music therapy that helps young people express themselves and release their thoughts and feelings – the work of organisations like East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices can set a truly heartwarming example to us all.”

According to a press release, the week aims to “challenge the misconception children’s hospice services are scary” and show the public how “services that bring families together… build memories, provide the best care and support, and… create moments that matter.” The week is organized by UK charity Together for Short Lives, which helps support children with “life-limiting conditions” and their families.

“[These services] provide a lifeline to children and families for however long support is needed and I hope that others join me in thanking them as we shine a light on their work during Children’s Hospice Week,” Kate continued in her letter. “The theme this year is ‘Moments that Matter.’ It aims to make the most of the very precious time that those using hospice services have.

Kate receives a program while attending a staging of 42nd Street put on by EACH in 2017. Photo: © Steve Parsons/AFP/Getty Images

“Throughout the week we will hear amazing stories from families facing the toughest of futures. I hope that they will inspire each and every one of us to similarly make the most of the time we have with our own families, by ensuring every moment matters and that we create memories that last forever.”

Andy Fletcher, CEO of Together for Short Lives, said Kate’s message will go a long way in spreading awareness about what children’s hospices do and how they help young people and their families.

“We are thrilled that Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge has sent a personal message of support for Children’s Hospice Week 2019, shining a light on the vital role hospices play in building life-long memories for children, young people and families,” he said in a statement.

“The Duchess’s words, and her support over many hears, help to challenge perceptions about children’s hospices and to show they are happy and inspiring services that offer a lifeline to families through the very toughest of times.”

MORE: Duchess Kate speaks passionately about her addictions advocacy in rare speech

This is Kate’s second health care-related action in the last week. On June 12, the Duchess of Cambridge stepped out for the Action on Addiction gala, and made a speech detailing the importance of the charity’s work.

“I’m hugely passionate about the support it provides, especially for parents, children and families who suffer from, or through, addiction,” she said. “And in some ways, it was the catalyst for my interest in early childhood development, too.”

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