Prince Harry wrote a deeply personal message as patron of WellChild for the charity’s 2019-2020 report. In his letter, the Duke of Sussex paid tribute to the speedy reaction and tireless efforts by volunteers and staff at the charity in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, which allowed WellChild to continue supporting sick children and their family at a crucial time.
In his message, the Duke of Sussex acknowledged how the pandemic has changed the world and forced charities such as WellChild to adapt to new challenges.
He wrote: “The world is a very different place today because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve been forced to collectively reckon with a global health crisis of which there is no modern comparison.
“It’s taken a steadfast, coordinated effort across communities and countries to get ourselves to a point where we can fight this virus, where we can beat this virus.
“Over the past year, we’ve seen heroes – both known and unknown – stepping up at every turn.
“We’ve seen compassion and care for friends and strangers alike.
“I am incredibly proud to say that WellChild has moved with urgency and purpose to tackle the new challenges that children with complex needs and their families have faced because of this crisis.
“Life for everyone has been tough. For these families, it has been tougher than most of us can imagine.”
Prince Harry went on explaining he has been in touch throughout 2020 with families supported by WellChild – and heard how quick the charity reacted as the pandemic started to grip the UK in March last year.
In just 10 days, Harry’s patronage put together the COVID-19 Response Team, which provided families with guidance on how to navigate the pandemic.
It also provided them with resources such as PPE, which allowed many parents and carers to visit and support their loved ones.
In 2020, WellChild distributed more than 289,000 items of PPE, provided food deliveries and helped more than 1,000 families allowing carers back into their homes despite the lockdowns in place.
Throughout last year, as many as 2,592 families have been supported by WellChild.
After praising the work done so far by WellChild, the Duke of Sussex pleaded with the public not to forget people who have been living with illnesses before COVID-19 hit the globe.
He said: “As we continue to battle this health crisis, the existing needs of vulnerable children should not be forgotten.
“WellChild is a lifeline for so many people, and has had to redirect many of its funding resources during the pandemic.
“We must make sure that young people with serious health conditions continue to receive the support they need as we recover, rebuild, and work to return to normal life.”
Closing his personal message, the Duke of Sussex recalled the last time he and his wife Meghan Markle attended the WellChild Awards, which recognise extraordinary children for their courage, talent and achievements.
Looking at the future, he added: “Our hope is that, in 2021, WellChild will once again be able to honour these inspiring young people, their families, and those who care for and support them.”
Following his decision to relocate to California with Meghan and Archie, Prince Harry has remained in touch with families and staff at WellChild.
Last December, the Duke surprised four recipients of the WellChild Awards by joining a video call during which they were discussing how the charity has helped them and how they have been spending 2020.
Prince Harry, who became patron of WellChild in 2007, usually attends the charity’s awards – which in 2020 had to be called off due to the pandemic.
During the surprise video call, Catherine, a staff member of the charity, said 2020 has been a “rollercoaster year” while speaking about the difficulties met by WellChild.
She said: “As challenging as it was to do it was incredibly rewarding to step in this almost frontline role for the parents.”
— to www.express.co.uk