Lifelites enhancing lives of terminally ill and disabled children in hospices for fifteen years
Lifelites, the only charity to provide assistive and inclusive technology packages to terminally ill and disabled children in all baby and children's hospices across the British Isles, is celebrating 15 years of its work. The charity invited key stakeholders to a drinks reception to mark this important milestone at a special reception on 14 October 2015. Amongst the crowd were Lifelites’ Trustees, Patrons Peter Bowles and Anita Dobson and supporters including Marathon Mason Ewan Gordon from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Oxfordshire who recently ran from John o' Groats to Land's End in support of Lifelites earlier this year.
Lifelites begun as a millennium project of the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys and became an independent charity in 2006. The charity started off donating computers for children in hospices in England and Wales but since then, it has grown to support over 9,000 life limited children and their families in over 50 hospice service provisions across the British Isles.
Lifelites has kept up with the rapid advancements in technology and tailor each specialist package to the needs of the children. Designed for children with disabilities, the packages include a number of magical items such as specially adapted iPads with grip cases, assistive mice, portable touch screen computers, Eyegaze technology, mobile Magic Carpets and much more, some of which were showcased for guests at the event.
Speaking at the celebration event Chairman of Trustees Lifelites Mike Woodcock, said: 'Lifelites – the small charity with a big heart. It’s hard to believe that it’s been fifteen years since Lifelites started out on its mission of enhancing the lives of thousands of terminally ill and disabled children in hospices across the British Isles. Over time, the charity has gone from strength to strength and continues to provide the most astonishing pieces of technology – some that you will see today and be wowed by – giving children with life limiting conditions a world of opportunities that they would not otherwise have. We must thank the members of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists for their valued partnership providing the original technical knowhow. Also, we must give a huge thank you to our generous donors, without whom we wouldn’t be here today.'
Simone Enefer-Doy chief executive of Lifelites, said: 'From our humble beginnings I don’t think anyone could have quite imagined what Lifelites would become today – that’s the nature of technology. But as time has gone on, we have turned our attention to harnessing the power of technology to enhance the short lives of the young people in hospices. Whatever their abilities we’ve aimed to seek out equipment that can help them escape the confines of their illness, to play with their brothers and sisters, to be creative, to control something for themselves and communicate – for as long as it is possible. Whatever direction we go in from now on, you can bet that technology will help us to continue to give these kids with limited lives unlimited possibilities. The fact that we’ve been able to do this is in no small part as a result of generous support from the Masonic community over the years and we’ll be forever grateful.'
There is a Lifelites project in all 50 baby and children’s hospices across the British Isles. The hospices do not pay anything towards their Lifelites project and all of Lifelites’ work is funded by donations: the equipment, ongoing technical support and training at each hospice costs Lifelites around £50,000 over four years.