Little Hayley is face of hospice campaign
November 09, 2012
A little girl from Winnersh can see her face on billboards and taxis all over town promoting a 30th anniversary campaign.
Hayley Neal, 11, is the face of the Helen & Douglas House hospice charity’s 30th anniversary advertising campaign running across Berkshire.
Her photograph will be seen on taxis right across Reading until December and throughout July her photograph was on the buses and the Napier Road Tesco billboard.
Hayley visits Helen House in Oxford with her sister Jasmine, 16, mum Lisa and dad Mark, for medically supported short breaks.
The family, who live in Westfield Road, were very excited about Hayley being chosen to be the face for the 30th anniversary campaign.
Mrs Neal said: “It was such a privilege to be asked if the charity could use Hayley’s photograph for their 30th anniversary campaign.
“The photograph shows how much she loves going to Helen House. I have received so many texts from friends and family saying they have seen Hayley’s photograph.
“The feedback has all been so positive. We were driving behind one of the taxis the other day and Jasmine said, ‘There’s Hayley’, so that is very exciting for her and all of us.
“When we went to Tesco, Hayley saw herself on the billboard and her face just said it all – wow! Her photograph was so much bigger than we had expected.
“When we were in the shop itself, people came up to us because they recognised Hayley and they asked lots of questions about the girls and the charity.
“It was so good to have the opportunity to share how much Helen House has done for us. I felt really proud and it was like Hayley was a celebrity.”
Ruth Hazeldine, 30th anniversary project manager, said: “The 30th anniversary gave us a wonderful opportunity to tell people about what we do at Helen & Douglas House and raise awareness of the charity across our catchment areas and Berkshire is one of these.
“We currently support 30 families across this region.
“Hayley’s photograph was perfect for the campaign, letting people in Reading know that we care for seriously ill children, young people and their families and help them live life to the full even when that life is short.
“We hope the ads will encourage people to want to find out more about our work and to support us either by volunteering or making a donation. We need to raise £5 million each year to run the two hospice houses.”
Helen & Helen & Douglas House is also celebrating its anniversary with a photo exhibition – We Are Thirty – reflecting the faces and stories of 30 children, young adults and their families who visit Helen & Douglas House. This free exhibition was in Henley at The Old Fire Station Gallery in October and returns to the River & Rowing Museum in Henley between February 9 and April 14, next year.
Hayley and Jasmine feature in the exhibition. Both girls have a condition called Leigh’s disease and for Hayley this means round-the-clock care. She is fed through a gastrostomy tube and has a tracheotomy tube for her breathing.
Dad Mark said: “When we stay at Helen House they look after not just Hayley, but the whole family. It is demanding looking after children with a life-shortening illness, so it is lovely to be able to do everyday things like having a shower at Helen House while someone else looks after Hayley for us.”
Helen House opened in 1982 and was founded by Anglican nun Sister Frances Dominica. She later founded Douglas House, which opened in 2004, the world’s first specialist hospice for young adults.