At the start of 2022 I was so moved by something that happened to a member of our team that I felt I must write the following tale:
Once upon a time, there was a Small Person. A very Little Person. They were small because they hadn’t been here for as long as you or I. Like you, they had a family who cared about them, but they were poorly which made them even smaller and made them feel horrid.
They spent a lot of time in a place where Clever People tried to make them Stronger and Better. The Small Person and their family didn’t like it as the Clever People did Horrible Things with potions, needles and tubes and it made them feel frightened and even worse sometimes. New words were said, and the Small Person’s family learnt those Clever Words from the Clever People – not at all what they’d expected to have to learn. They were very Difficult Words.
One day, the Small Person met a Visitor. At first, they were a little shy and afraid that the Visitor was someone else who would do the Horrible Things but began to learn that she was quite nice and very kind. She made the Small Person start to smile.
The Visitor brought the family Stories, kindness and gentleness. The Visitor helped the Small Person think of Other Things than what the Clever People would do to them.
As the Visitor and the Small Person got to know each other better, the Small Person felt able to tell the Visitor which stories were the best. The Visitor gave the Small Person books which included these stories. There was one story which was Brilliant, and the Small Person asked for it again and again. The Visitor repeated it to keep them happy.
Soon, the Small Person knew the Story off by heart. Their family kept sharing the story with them and the Small Person told everyone who came to do Horrible Things that they had to read it before they were allowed to come near. The Clever People smiled and said that they would. The Small Person began to see that the Clever People were really trying to help, even when it didn’t look or feel like it.
Gradually, the Small Person became Weaker and Weaker and Smaller and Smaller but felt Stronger and Stronger inside, because the Clever People were doing what the Small Person liked. Everyone would listen and smile when they were told to read the Brilliant Story and they always did. The Visitor continued to come and made the Small Person laugh and smile, even on days when things were hard. The Clever People told the Brilliant Story again and again….and again!
One day, the Small Person became so, so small that they floated away from their family to a Sunny Happy Place. They could see their family looking sad and heard that they were planning a Sad Party for them. They didn’t like to see the ones they loved unhappy but felt much, much better and no one was doing Horrible Things anymore. They only hoped that they could hear the Brilliant Story once again.
The Sad Party was held on a very Sad Day. The Small Person’s family were hurting but had asked the Visitor to come and tell the Brilliant Story one last time for everyone. This was a Hard Thing for the Visitor to do but she wanted to share the wonder that she and the Small Person had enjoyed together.
The Small Person listened as the Visitor read the Brilliant Story to everybody and smiled as she read the last word of it. It said what the Small Person needed to hear: “Goodnight.”
In memory of the many children with whom we have worked who are now in the Sunny Happy Place.
I hope that this illustrates the importance of the work Henry Dancer Days does in Paediatric Oncology Wards throughout the UK.
If you’d like to support us, and the children we help, please donate by texting STORY to 70560 to give £10 or donate online below.
For a different amount please text HDDAYS and the amount (i.e., HDDAYS5 to give £5) to 70085.
A book costs £5
An individual Story session costs £10
Sessions for 5 children cost £50
Sessions for 10 children cost £100