Every day, we ensure that children like Joshua, Isaac and Jaxxon experience the ‘magic’ of Alder Hey


Joshua and Isaac's Story

Twins Joshua and Isaac celebrated their 2nd birthdays here at Alder Hey Hospital, but these amazing little boys have been part of the Alder Hey family since they were just 7 hours old.

Joshua was born with complex conditions affecting his heart, digestion and breathing. By 12 weeks old he’d had surgery and two procedures to stabilise him to grow big enough for open heart surgery. 

Joshua had successful open heart surgery but still relies on hospital care for ongoing bowel issues, needing care every time he has a temperature. Being a long-term family comes with lots of challenges, but the Alder Hey Play team have made their journey much easier. Charlie says:

“It’s not possible to stay all the time - I have to do the school run twice a day. Debbie, our Play Specialist, will work with Joshua while I am out so that he isn’t on his own. When Joshua would go to theatre, Debbie would take Isaac so that I could accompany him. When we have met with Joshua’s doctors the Play Specialists would always stay with the boys. The Play team will always check and see if there is anything they can do to make the day more fun for the twins, and their 6-year-old brother Benjamin.”

Sensory play is also important to the boys’ time at Alder Hey. With the twins at different levels in their development their needs are also different. Lisa, the boys’ Play Specialist, will set up play stations for Isaac with cars and trucks whilst giving Joshua cause-and-effect toys like drums - the noisier and brighter the better!

Joshua and Isaac love our Ward Musicians, too. Musicians create magical memories for families like theirs and are funded entirely by donations to Alder Hey Charity.

900 children are being treated here at Alder Hey every day, with play services bringing hours of joy and entertainment to them when they need it most. 

Listen to our Podcast - The Power of Ward Musicians



Jaxxon's Story

Jaxxon was just a few hours old when he was rushed to Alder Hey with a serious heart condition​. Ever since then, he’s been in and out of hospital. He’s 3 now and is such a wonderful, happy little boy who takes everything in his stride – even after 7 operations here.

You might have read about Jaxxon in the Liverpool Echo in June – about how he puts smiles on everyone’s faces at our hospital. He’s been that way since we first met him, and a big part of it is that we fill his time here with fun and laughter

Jaxxon always greets you with his huge smile and lovely manners whenever you see him. Our full-time Play Specialists like Lorna make children like Jaxxon feel like they’re in a fun place, which is great for their mental wellbeing and can even help with their physical recovery.


We rely on supporters like you who keep our wards a happy place, full of toys, games, arts and crafts. A gift of just £10 could help us buy single-use paintbrushes so that Jaxxon and his friends on the ward can paint, get messy, and let off steam while they’re in hospital.

Doing everything they can to distract the children is what Ashlee, one of our Play Assistants, and Lorna love about their jobs. When they’re playing a fun game of dinosaur bingo with Jaxxon or watching him get stuck into some messy paint play (his favourite!), he completely forgets about everything going on around him. It’s like he has not a care in the world.

“Like many three-year-olds, Jaxxon loves dinosaurs and messy play which have played a big part in his play journey at Alder Hey. He loves playing the game Dinosaur Lotto with us, even though he’s always cheating! Messy painting activities give him a great release when he’s feeling frustrated.” - Lorna, Jaxxon’s Play Specialist.

Our children need toys more than ever. But we also need to keep them safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19 by not re-using or sharing. Having a big supply means playful children like Jaxxon can let off steam safely and take toys home with them when they finish their treatment.

Your support will help us to go the extra mile for young people and families who need us, ensuring that play services at Alder Hey bring hours of joy and entertainment to children when they need it most.