Prince Harry took some time over the Easter weekend to see how people supported by his WellChild patronage are doing as he checked in with families with seriously ill children during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Duke of Sussex called Craig Hatch and Leanne Cooper, who both live in the United Kingdom, from his new home in Los Angeles. Colin Dyer, WellChild's CEO, and Rachel Gregory, a nurse, also joined the chat.
"The resilience and strength that you guys have is obviously incredible and you must never, ever forget that," the father of one said during the call.
Harry has been a patron of WellChild since 2007. It works to make sure children with serious health issues can receive care in their homes instead of hospitals.
During the conversation, the father of one was told about the difficulties families with seriously ill children have been having during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of those supported by WellChild need special support from carers and workers to give them medical assistance, and some are having a difficult time getting access to key supplies.
WellChild Patron The Duke of Sussex videocalls families of vulnerable children to learn how they are coping during #COVID19.
“Full respect to every single one of you. This is hard on everyone, but it is especially hard on you."
Watch the full video at https://t.co/GWlQkPyEywpic.twitter.com/AIJ5dU9k6H
— WellChild (@WellChild) April 16, 2020
"It's scary," Craig said.
His son, Fraser, lives with cerebral palsy (CP), epilepsy, neuro-muscular scoliosis, osteoporosis, a chronic lung disorder and also has type one diabetes.
"We are frightened because we know that if the virus gets in our house and if Fraser contracts the virus, the implications are quite severe," he added.
Leanne said she and her 13-year-old daughter, Sophie, are concerned about not being able to access crucial care. Sophie has CP, scoliosis, a neurological movement disorder called dystonia and other medical issues. Leanne said she hasn't seen enough about how families with children who have serious medical issues can get support during this time.
"If we're in a position where carers can't come to work because they might be symptomatic, there is no way we would survive when Sophie needs care seven nights a week, seven days a week, 24 hours a day. It is terrifying."
Letter from WellChild CEO to supporters in response to #covidー19uk. We urgently need your help.
We have set up a 'Resilience Fund' to help us continue our work for seriously ill children and their families. Please help. https://t.co/APDIel65U7 Please RT pic.twitter.com/qWixLCmGzQ
— WellChild (@WellChild) March 16, 2020
Harry listened with great empathy and heard all of the concerns, and then took the time to commend the parents on the work they're doing right now. He then asked if he could say hello to Sophie and Fraser and wished them both well.
"This is hard on everyone, but it is especially hard on you," he told the families before they ended their conversation. "I know that WellChild are doing everything they can to support you. Hopefully, through this video we can make it more clear and obvious to government and everybody else that you are in the 'vulnerable' bracket and WellChild needs more help.
"It is really nice to see you all smiling and happy. Keep going, keep the morale up, keep busy, keep being creative, dare yourself to try new hobbies and I hope to see you all again very, very soon!"
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who recently relocated from Canada to Meghan's native Los Angeles, also personally delivered food packages through Project Angel Food this week. It's a "nonprofit organization in Los Angeles County which provides free meals for people too sick to shop and cook for themselves."
The Sussexes dropped off the care packages on April 15, according to one surprised recipient, Dan Tyrell, who was expecting a delivery from the nonprofit to his home in West Hollywood.
"They were both nice and very down-to-earth people," he said to WEHOville in an amusing account of the event. "They had masks on, and they were dressed down with jeans, but very nice jeans.
"I thought that tall red-headed guy looked pretty familiar, and that girl was very pretty.
"Then I saw the large black SUVs with the security guards behind them."
It was at this moment Dan realized who was delivering the care packages!
"If they had given me the heads up, I would have worn my tiara!" he joked.
The couple also donated £90,000 (about $158,000) from their wedding's broadcast profits to Feeding Britain. The funds will help vulnerable children in the U.K.
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