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Elephant Kit Project

Cabaret vs Cancer, who raise money to support those affected by cancer, kindly donated £7,000 to St Joseph’s Hospice in 2017.They felt very strongly that they wanted the money to go towards a project that would support children affected by bereavement, whether that be the loss of an immediate relative or friend. In light of this, Jody Spargo, Child and Family Counsellor at St Joseph’s, approached an organisation called the Fruitfly Collective, whose mission is to provide practical ways of solving problems that surround the communication of a serious health concern. They have worked extensively in trying to raise awareness of important, easily accessible information packs to help someone manage having a difficult conversation about health; particularly with children.

The result of this fantastic partnership is the Elephant Kit Project; a creation of boxes that provide support and guidance when explaining the impact of a life-limiting condition to children dependent on a patient undergoing palliative care. The previous packs created by Fruitfly Collective have an animal logo (a tiger and a hedgehog). We felt that an elephant would be a good choice for our palliative care packs because of the strong family ties that elephants have. The packs are all about improving family communication. Elephants tend to stick to their friends and family, and mourn the death of loved ones. We love the way they link together trunk to tail, protecting the young of the group, keeping one another safe. Elephants are also associated with memory, and our packs will help families think about how they treasure their memories and remember their loved ones after they have gone.

The boxes come packed with resources to help with the handling of the situation, such as a cuddly elephant to hold when the child is worried or stressed, a keep calm kit that contains cards for writing words of advice, Dolly pegs designed to represent the members of the clinical team associated with the patient’s care; right down to hair and eye colour, and a school letter to help the child and carer communicate with the school about absence or loss of focus.

The Elephant Kits are available to children of patients under the care of St Joseph's Hospice. Please speak with your healthcare professional about arranging one for your child, during your next visit. All kits are free of charge, but are subject to availability.

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