Friends of PICU is a charity which is very close to our hearts as it helps support children on the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at Southampton General Hospital, where Jessica has been cared for several times following her heart surgeries. The annual family fun day is one of the events we try to attend to help support the charity.
One of my favourite things about attending the family fun day is that I usually bump into at least one heart family that we knew from our days on the ward and this year was no exception. The first people we saw on arrival was beautiful Willow and her mummy. Willow has the same heart condition as Jessica and the two girls were on the ward as babies together in the run-up to their first Christmas. We have stayed in touch via social media ever since and bumped into each other at the Million Pound Party a couple of years ago. It was lovely to see Willow again and to see how well she is currently doing, and to get a photo of two brave little heart warriors together.
Jessica enjoyed having a look around the PICU ambulance. She has travelled in the retrieval ambulance a couple of times – on the day she was born and again when she was transferred to Oxford at three weeks old. Needless to say, she has no memory of this but I remember it very well and it was lovely to see her exploring the ambulance and just being curious rather than needing to be in it!
There were lots of different stalls around plus various activities for the children. The girls had fun playing with scented playdough, hooking a duck from a paddling pool, sifting sand to find hidden animals and pulling out straws from a sandbox to find the hidden treasure.
No family fun day is complete without the girls getting their face painted. Jessica opted for a pretty purple princess crown and Sophie wanted to be Minnie Mouse.
We finished off the day by visiting some friends and the girls enjoyed having a water fight in the back garden. As you can imagine, water fights and face paints don’t mix very well – Sophie looked like an extra from a horror movie by the end of it with black and red streaks all over her face and chest! Thankfully it all cleaned off quite easily!
It was one of those perfect summer days – a fun day out, time with friends, sunshine and a water fight in the garden – and we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.