Henry: our animated festive hero

2 Dec 2021, 1:24 p.m.

Patient Henry pictured with mum, Shevonne.

This year, 4-year-old Henry and his family will be home together for the festive season, having spent Henry's first two at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH). As part of Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity’s Christmas campaign, enjoy its festive animation, inspired by Henry's story.

This imaginative retelling of Henry's personal story features an animated Henry. It follows him as he journeys from GOSH to his home in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

Northward bound, Henry passes by famous landmarks such as Big Ben and the Humber Bridge and eventually, with the help of 100-year-old GOSH supporter Ivy, manages the final leg of his travels safely home to Bridlington.

Santa's special visit to GOSH

Henry’s mum Shevonne talks about her son’s time at GOSH and how the hospital’s festive activities, together with a visit from a benevolent old man with red robes and a white beard, provided the family with reassurance.

Henry first arrived at GOSH two days before Christmas. It was a worrying and anxious time for the family. Shevonne recalls: “We arrived at GOSH’s Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) on 23 December 2017, and we were obviously full of worry and concern for what lay ahead for Henry.

“As we sat in the bedspace waiting for what would happen next, the most incredibly warm-hearted man dressed in red came and knelt by the chair I was sitting in with Henry. It was Santa, THE Santa.

“He was softly spoken and magical in every way. My husband and I had a rough five weeks just to reach GOSH with Henry, but Santa’s kind words truly gave us hope and strength to move forwards and hope for a miracle with our little boy.

“It was tough to know we wouldn’t be gathering with the extended family to show off our new-born child as we imagined we would on Christmas Day.”

Throughout December, the hospital joins the festivities; Christmas music is played across the wards and Santa visits with gifts bought with donations from generous supporters. Not forgetting lots of festive dressing up by the patients and the staff!

“As we sat in the bedspace waiting for what would happen next, the most incredibly warm-hearted man dressed in red came and knelt by the chair I was sitting in with Henry. It was Santa, THE Santa..."

Shevonne, Henry's mum.

Home from home

During the 15 months Henry spent in hospital, the Tracheal Service coordinated his care with the CICU and the respiratory team. He spent nine months on Flamingo Ward and was later transferred to Kangaroo Wood to continue his treatment.

When Henry was treated at GOSH, mum and dad were able to stay in the parent accommodation next to the hospital. Funded by GOSH charity, this accommodation enables parents, carers and siblings to stay together. For families who don’t live close by, like Henry’s, this is a lifeline. And it meant both Henry’s parents could be with him throughout the Christmas period.

“GOSH arranged for us to have a flat at Weston House for two weeks over Christmas,” Shevonne adds. “We were able to live as a family with Henry for the first time since he was born, responsible for all of his care, medications, ventilation and equipment.

“It also allowed for some of our family and friends to come and stay with us over the Christmas period, so we weren’t so isolated. We had a wonderful Christmas in the flat and will forever be grateful for the time we spent there and the confidence it gave us to be able to care for our little Henry bear.”

Discover how you can support our hospital

We wish Henry and his wonderful family a safe and peaceful time this Christmas and we send seasonal best wishes to all our patients, staff, volunteers and supporters.

Read more about Henry’s heart-warming story and find out how you can support our hospital during this festive season by visiting the GOSH Charity website.

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