LauraLynn End of Year Reflection 2023

Published: 28 Dec 2023

As the year draws to close, we take this moment to reflect on the past year.

End of year reflection

As the year draws to a close, we have an opportunity to reflect on the year past and remember the year that was. 2023 was a special year, a year marked by special events, reaching key milestones, and growing our service.  

2023 was a busy year for our services and LauraLynn is now caring for and supporting more children and families than ever before with extensive growth of our Community Team.   

We kicked off the year with our Thank You Week Campaign in January where we took the opportunity to thank all our donors, supporters, staff and volunteers for their unwavering support and dedication throughout 2022. We also launched our Heroes Ball in January with our great supporter Miriam O’Callaghan. In February we had a visit from Arts Minster, Catherine Martin, who took time to visit the Hospice to hear all about our extensive Therapeutic Creative Arts Programme.  

In February we celebrated Valentine’s Day with some arts and crafts and lots of baking in our hospice followed soon after in March with more celebrations for St Patrick’s Day. This year we held a St Patrick’s Day parade, and everyone dressed up in green. March also saw some of our wonderful supporters, families and staff step out in style for the annual LauraLynn Heroes Ball which took place at the Round Room in the Mansion House.  
In April we welcomed three new board members to our Board of Directors, Dr Regina Mc Quillan, Deirdre O’Connor, and Paul Kerrigan. As part of our Accreditation Process with CHKS we welcomed some cute furry little chicks to the hospice for a few weeks before they went to their forever homes.  

May is always a busy month for LauraLynn and this year was no different. Children’s Hospice Week took place in May and the theme of the week focused on how we care for the whole family at LauraLynn with the tagline ‘Caring for the Child…Supporting the Family’. The week was supported with an advertising campaign running across the country in conjunction with a radio ad campaign and lots of media engagement and PR. Children’s Hospice Week is an important week for LauraLynn as it’s the only week in the year dedicated to raising awareness and funds for children’s hospice and palliative care.  

Volunteers are an integral part of Team LauraLynn, and we celebrated our amazing volunteers during Volunteer Week in May. As part of this week, we ‘spotlighted’ some of our volunteers and profiled them across the organisation. We also had the opportunity to thank them for their dedication and support. Another integral part of LauraLynn is our amazing nursing team and we celebrated them as part of International Nurses Day which also fell in May.  

In June, we had a very special visit from some of the Irish Rugby Team before they jetted off to the World Cup in France. Among the players who visited was our very own Ambassador, Garry Ringrose. The children and families got to engage with the rugby stars through arts and crafts and some great photo opportunities whilst also getting up close and personal with the 6 Nations Trophy!  

Our Adult Disability Service, Willow View, concluded the Discovery Project which was started in 2022 and a Transforming Lives Coordinator was recruited for the next phase of this process. In consultation with the people who live in Willow View an accessible garden area was created, giving a lovely space to relax and enjoy the sounds, smells and colours in the garden. 

We celebrated together in August with our annual staff and volunteer BBQ in the LauraLynn gardens and we also ran a Family Camp which targeted teenagers and siblings which was lots of fun for all involved.   

In September we supported the All-Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care as they rolled out their annual Palliative Care Week campaign. We were honored to represent LauraLynn and children’s palliative care.  As part of the week, LauraLynn, also took part in a campaign video to highlight the importance of children’s palliative care which focused on ‘Living for today, planning for tomorrow’. A big thank you to the McSweeney family for sharing their story as part of the campaign and highlighting how our Community Team in Cork helps and supports their family. 

We announced the expansion of our Community Team during September with a new base in Ballinasloe, Galway which will bring care and support into the homes of children and families across the Midlands, West and Northwest of the country. To help us announce this exciting news we were delighted to be joined at LauraLynn by Health Minister, Stephen Donnelly. The Minister also helped us to celebrate the Accreditation of our Hospice Services which was a huge milestone and achievement for the service.  

September is also a month of celebration in LauraLynn as our birthday is in September and this year, we marked our 12th birthday with lots of cakes and treats while also taking time to reflect on the growth and accomplishments of our services over the last 12 years.  

We came together with our bereaved families during September as we held our annual Memorial Walk in Phoenix Park. It was wonderful to be able to connect with everyone for this special event and remember and honour all the children who are no longer with us.  

We donned our black-tie attire in September as we stepped out for the sixth LauraLynn Oscars. This incredible project involves our families collaborating with industry professionals to script, write and star in their very own movie. The project culminates in a once-in-a-lifetime red-carpet screening event at the Odeon Cinema in Charlestown. A huge congratulations to all six of our Oscar winners this year and thank you to everyone involved in making this truly wonderful project and event happen.  

October is spooky season at LauraLynn and this year we held our Halloween Parade again.  We would like to thank the school of Engineering students from Technological University Dublin were once again on hand this year to create wheelchair accessible costumes for some of the children who avail of LauraLynn’s care. This collaborative process with TUD has led to some tremendously creative finished looks. No matter a child's level of mobility, LauraLynn’s aim is that children and families are inspired and feel included by these amazing and creative wheelchair costumes. The children got to show off their costumes during our parade.  

We held one of our wonderful Family Camps in October, Family Camps are a residential experience for the entire family with a range of activities taking place specifically for the needs of the child, parents and siblings.  

We were delighted to be shortlisted for a Good Governance Award in October for our Annual Report and our amazing volunteer Mary McDaid was shortlisted for Volunteer of the Year! 

November is a month of both celebration and reflection in LauraLynn which culminates in our annual tree lighting ceremony, Light Up LauraLynn. We were overjoyed to celebrate this special day with our children and families. Our event this year was bigger and better than ever with lots of festive fun and cheer throughout the afternoon for our families. A special thank you to our partners, Verve The Live Agency, for their immense support with this event and a big thank you to our ambassador Ray D’Arcy who was on MC duties and to all who performed at the event and supported it. It was heart-warming to connect with each other again this year, take time to reflect and make precious memories.  

In Hazel House, a Family Liaison & Respite Coordinator was recruited and commenced in post in November 2023, this exciting development aims to enhance communication and engagement with families accessing our respite service and promote awareness of the services amongst healthcare professionals. 

We launched a very special Corporate Partnership in September and became the official Charity Partners for Center Parcs. We are so looking forward to working with the team in Center Parcs as we enter 2024.  

We had the opportunity to star in the Late Late Toy Show in November and RTÉ filmed some of our children and families at our hospice. A big thank you to the Toy Show Team for making dreams come through for some of our children and their families again this year. 

In keeping with Remembrance Month, we held a webinar as part of Grief Awareness Week in November focused on the topic of grief in children with life-limiting conditions. The webinar was greatly received by lots of professionals working in the sector.  

Our Christmas Appeal landed in November and was fronted by the wonderful Murray Family who shared the story of their little boy, Jamie, who died when he was just 10 years old. The family used LauraLynn’s services from the time Jamie was 10 months old. We would like to send our heartfelt thank you to Jamie’s parents Helena and Mark and all the family for sharing their story and helping us to raise awareness and funds this Christmas.  

Our Christmas Gifting initiative took place again in December with our children and families across the country receiving special Christmas gifts hand-delivered by our wonderful team of LauraLynn Elves!  Thank you to all the amazing LauraLynn staff and volunteers for helping to bring a smile to our LauraLynn children and families faces this December. 

It’s been a busy year for LauraLynn but one filled with so many ‘little moments’ of joy and we look forward to many more special moments in the year ahead.  

Finally, I would like to again thank you – our families, staff, volunteers, Ambassadors, fundraisers, supporters, and donors for all that you do for LauraLynn and extend our warmest Christmas wishes to each of you and wishing you all a happy and healthy 2024.