Today marks the official opening of The Happy Garden at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick. Located on a sunny, open‐air balcony on level one at the Hospital, The Happy Garden provides sick kids the chance to heal quickly in a cheerful, healthy, sunlit environment.
Rachael Crittenden’s son Jax was admitted to Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick in 2014. In February 2015, she decided to raise funds for Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation in order to bring The Happy Garden to life.
“After our little man, Jax was admitted in 2014, we saw the need for this balcony area to be a beautiful space with easy access due to Jax being less mobile than other children,” said Rachael.
Complete with an enchanting gazebo, over‐sized toadstools, fairy lights and a little bit of magic, the new terrace has been designed to provide easy access for all and is wheelchair and bed‐friendly.
Jax, who is now five years old, was diagnosed with a rare neurological condition when he was four months old and consequently has visited Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick numerous times. When admitted he stays on the neurology ward that adjoins The Happy Garden.
“To think we helped create this magical garden where children, their families and the remarkable staff can feel the sunshine, breathe in the fresh air and have somewhere beautiful to escape to is extremely satisfying,“ said Rachael.
With the support of her family and friends, Rachael raised $28,000 and facilitated a $5000 grant from the Harcourts Foundation for the development of The Happy Garden.
“Thanks to wonderful fundraisers, like Rachel, who donate to Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation, we are delighted to be officially opening The Happy Garden,” said Nicola Stokes, CEO of Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation. “It’s incredibly heart‐warming to see what becomes possible with the kindness, dedication and generosity of our donors.”
Debra Cutler, Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Education at Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network, appreciates the difference The Happy Garden will make to patients and families at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick.
“Spending time in hospital can be scary and foreign to adults, let alone children. What makes children’s hospitals so unique is that finding ways to engage a child and making the experience as safe, fun and non‐threatening as possible is just as important as the medical treatment provided. By ensuring children have access to positive spaces like The Happy Garden, it helps in the development of resilience, and gives them a space to have some fun away from the clinical environment too,” said Debra.
Prof Les White AM, NSW Chief Paediatrician is delighted to see The Happy Garden officially open. “This magical space will bring smiles to the faces of thousands of children for years to come. It is an exciting addition to the range of special gardens that Fairy Sparkle has designed and delivered to help sick children across many hospitals. Thanks to everyone involved”, says Les.
Fairy Sparkle OAM, the magic behind The Happy Garden, has worked passionately to create The Happy Garden. “It is how we make patients and families ‘feel’ while they are in Hospital that reflects greatly on their experience – I want them to ‘feel’ better as they heal. This is what The Happy Garden is all about”, says Fairy.