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In the name of charity: why the thought of spring fills me with hope

Help, I've lost something; it's not the first time either.

As I get older this happens more frequently. What have I lost? Well this time it's a whole month! Where did January go? I have never understood why in this time of automation and amazing technology there is less time to do all the things I need to do.

Last week I visited Yorkhill Hospital with my son, for his Pre-Op appointment and it didn't come as a surprise to those that know me that something went wrong. I turned up a day late! In the eleven years I have attended hospital visits I have never missed an appointment. Yet another thing put down to old(er) age and my forever failing memory. My son shook his head in disbelief and announced that I was sacked!

When we arrived at the hospital there was a spectacular display of snowdrops and daffodils on the grass verge. Such a sight always makes me feel quite emotional. A sign that spring isn't far away, but this time this symbolised something more.

I recently visited some wonderful and inspiring young people. This was a trip which made me feel honoured that I, if even only for a very short time, had become a part of a journey which a parent prays their child will never have to undertake; I visited the Schiehallion Ward at Yorkhill Hospital.

This ward cares for children who are dealing with cancer. I was with a very special man who has visited this ward for many years. The childrens faces light up when they see him. I feel honoured that he is my friend and my admiration for him and the wonderful work that he does overwhelms me. He frequently visits the children and their families and grants them wishes. Whether they wish to go to a show, meet a celebrity or own a signed top from a famous football team; no request is ever too much.

Some of the children had been patients in the ward for many months but I found when I spoke to them that they remained upbeat and optimistic, each achievement driving them forward on that long road to recovery. One young girl even picked up her guitar and sang to me; she had the voice of an angel.

For these children one season moves to another seamlessly, they do not get the chance to witness the wonder of the changing seasons. The sight of these spring flowers battling through the hard, frosty ground made me think of the determination of the young people I had met. No matter how hard the winter, in the end the flowers succeed in opening up to the wonderful sunshine that eventually comes. As I look at these children I see such a determination and hope that they will soon feel that sunshine.

As we leave Yorkhill my son picks one of those snowdrops and gives it to me. It smells sweet, the strength of its scent seems so strong, especially when I look at how small the flower is. I ask him not to pick any more but to let the flowers continue to grow. As I look at my son smiling and laughing in the February sunshine I realise that all too soon I will be one of those parents sitting at the side of their child's bed, wishing they could swap places with them and like the other children I have met, I know that my son will continue to smile and accept the challenges ahead of him, without complaint and with a positivity that will enable him to face all of the challenges that he is about to face.

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Families

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