Face painting for little heroes

Carma supports our Durham Team by providing her incredible painting skills. Here she tells us about her experience and how she loves every minute of it.

Having painted for over 10 years and been based in a kids club restaurant face painting each weekend for 2 years, I thought I had covered most areas in my field. I had face painted at private functions for adults and children alike. I’d painted what seemed like an endless queue at the Sunderland air-show. I’d even painted in a darkened club using only UV paints. So when Shelly from the Durham Care Team approached me to paint at the RVI, I wasn’t really sure what to expect.

I have 2 children of my own and like most mums, I struggle to read a paper or watch the news whenever I see children suffering. I had only been into a children’s ward briefly when my daughter had fallen from her bike, and another time my son jammed his thumb in a door. I had to ask Shelly what I needed to expect and if I thought ‘I’ could cope. Far from what I was expecting to hear, Shelly said it was such a wonderful fun and humbling place to work and that no two visits are the same and that the optimism and happiness of these little patients rubs off on you like a magic potion. Upon walking on to the ward I did not know what to expect and I felt very nervous, there were Rainbow Trust workers doing crafts with the children and a lady singing songs. I was booked for two hours. Without realizing, I had painted a handful of kids who chatted and asked a million questions like children do, and who insisted on specific colours - like children do (if they want a blue tiger then I give them one!!)

Before I realised it, Shelly asked if I was ok for time. I’d gone over the 2 hours without even realizing, I’d chatted and laughed along and somehow forgot where I was!!!

And I think without being presumptuous that was a two way thing. For that 2 hours the children seemed to forget where they were too. The child I noticed who was dozing when I first walked in was now roaring around the ward as he was no longer a poorly boy in a queue. He was a fantastically loud blue tiger! The more hesitant, usually older children who had opted for an arm design were taking photos of their designs and there was a real, happy buzz about the place. Shelly was completely right. I was there to uplift and take the boredom away from being in a place of treatment - yet I felt I had been treated to a magic medicine with a warm glow in my heart and a huge grin on my face. Now whenever Shelly rings, I make sure I’m free to be at any event she asks me to.

I love working with families supported by Rainbow Trust and I simply can’t wait until I get my next fix from these inspirational little heroes.