Meet William. William is an eleven-year-old from Angus who has been using Teapot Trust services for 4 years. He has juvenile arthritis and frequently visits the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh. In the UK, about 15,000 children and young people are affected by arthritis and symptoms can include joint stiffness, pain, swelling, or tenderness in the joints as well as constant fatigue.
William has been coping with juvenile arthritis for five years now. Of his condition, William says “sometimes my joints hurt quite a lot and I can’t join in”. He feels different to the other children, and sometimes feels left out, especially when he can’t join in all of the sports. Other children can be unkind when they don’t understand William’s condition and William finds that using art during his sessions has helped him grow in confidence. He says, “I feel quite satisfied after doing art and I even feel a bit stronger. I feel a bit more confident.”
William says his favourite thing to do with Teapot Trust is model clay. He says, “It takes my mind off all the needles and things. When the Teapot Trust are there I don’t really worry about my appointments. I just really want to do art.” When William visited hospital and Teapot Trust was not there, he said that he noticed a big difference: “I kinda felt quite down because they weren’t there and I didn’t look forward to my appointments because I couldn’t do art. With it being there I think it is quite a good thing because it encourages me to go.”
William is often accompanied by his sister, Sophie, who also does art with Teapot Trust during William’s hospital visits. She says, “What I love about it is that it’s really relaxing and it’s nice to see the children around me just being relaxed and not being kind of scared of all the needles and they know that they can have fun with art.” As each appointment takes about two hours, the whole family says doing art in hospitals helps the time pass and creates a positive atmosphere where everyone can focus on creating. Sophie thinks it would be “a lot more sad and not as nice for everyone else” if Teapot Trust weren’t in the hospitals.
When he visits, William looks for familiar faces he often sees around the Teapot Trust table. Last time he was at the art table, he and another child created a crocodile using clay together. When William is speaking with the other children, he says, “It kind of makes me feel happy because they’re happy when they are doing art and that’s what makes me feel happy.”
Through the Not Just William campaign, we are hoping to highlight how art therapy with Teapot Trust helps not just a child using our service, but whole families. We need help to ensure we can provide our services for children in hospitals this upcoming year. Please donate what you can to the Not Just William campaign to help us provide art therapy for children like William in 2019. You can also donate for this urgent appeal through Virgin Money Giving, cheque, or bank transfer. #notjustwilliam