Stars for Starlight: sponsor a star this Christmas

03 October 2023

Christmas is the perfect time of year to spread joy to those who need it most. While most children are looking forward to special times and treats with their families, sadly, over 100,000 children across the UK will spend their festive period in hospital. This year, Oxford Street has partnered with children’s charity Starlight. For the first time ever, you can sponsor a star in the Oxford Street Christmas light installation or buy a raffle ticket for only £5 and stand to win £1,000 worth of gift vouchers to spend on Oxford Street. All proceeds will go directly to Starlight to help make a child’s stay in hospital brighter.

Through the power of play, Starlight helps children through their treatment while they are in the unfamiliar environment of a hospital and undergoing scary procedures. Evidence shows that play has the power to reduce fear, pain and trauma during treatment and recovery from illness – boosting mental and physical health and resilience.

Starlight’s work has supported thousands of children – like baby Aila who was diagnosed with leukaemia at five months old. Aila spent the next six months undergoing intensive chemotherapy and had her final treatment on Christmas day last year. It was not the first Christmas that any new parents could imagine, but they still ended up creating special memories thanks to Starlight and health play specialist, Claire. Aila was overwhelmed with love, attention and toys – and even received a special visit from Santa. This year, Aila is spending her Christmas at home, cancer-free.

Sfiyah was admitted into hospital on Christmas Day after a bout of chicken pox caused complications with her existing condition of juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Being away from home made Sfiyah’s mood so low that she refused treatment until she enjoyed a visit from a health play specialist named John. Thanks to his encouragement and hours of fun activities, Sfiyah began feeling better. Fast forward a year later, Sfiyah’s Christmas wish came true as she switched on the Oxford Street Christmas lights with Lioness captain Millie Bright.

Not all hospitals have the play equipment and support that children so urgently need but with your help, Starlight can change that. So, why not give the gift of play this Christmas? Sponsor a star for only £10 and make further donations when visiting Oxford Street throughout December. Every star is a valuable donation that will help Starlight bring Christmas cheer to more children like Aila and Sfiyah.