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Girl who spent last Christmas in hospital now bringing festive magic to others

Sfiyah spent last Christmas in hospital, but is now helping to bring the magic of Christmas to others <i>(Image: Parvina Khan / Starlight Children's Foundation)</i>
Sfiyah spent last Christmas in hospital, but is now helping to bring the magic of Christmas to others (Image: Parvina Khan / Starlight Children's Foundation)

A LITTLE girl from Newport who spent last Christmas in hospital is now helping to bring festive magic to other children who are facing spending the holidays on a hospital ward.

Last year, 10-year-old Sfiyah Khan was admitted to The Grange University Hospital on Christmas Day.

Her parents were terrified as she became increasingly sick with chicken pox which caused complications, as she suffers from a condition called Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) and is immunosuppressed, meaning she is more susceptible to infection.

Her family immediately cancelled their Christmas and got her the medical attention she so desperately needed.

South Wales Argus: Sfiyah spent last Christmas in hospital after becoming very ill from chicken pox
South Wales Argus: Sfiyah spent last Christmas in hospital after becoming very ill from chicken pox

Sfiyah spent last Christmas in hospital after becoming very ill from chicken pox (Image: Parvina Khan / Starlight)Being in hospital is traumatic for children, and even worse when they are missing out at Christmas.

Starlight supports children in hospitals across the UK through the power of play, boosting their wellbeing and resilience during their stay.

Play helps to reduce the fear and anxiety that children often experience in hospital, and at Christmas, Starlight provide play resources, gifts, and live pantomimes to brighten a child’s stay.

South Wales Argus: Health play specialist John helped Sfiyah have some fun while spending last Christmas in hospital
South Wales Argus: Health play specialist John helped Sfiyah have some fun while spending last Christmas in hospital

Health play specialist John helped Sfiyah have some fun while spending last Christmas in hospital (Image: Starlight Children's Foundation)

This year, Starlight is the official charity partner for the Oxford Street Christmas lights, and Sfiyah joined them for the official light switch-on, helping to make up for all the festivities she missed out on last year.

She was there with Millie Bright, captain of Chelsea and England Women, to kick off the ‘Stars for Starlight’ campaign, where the public can sponsor a star on Oxford Street and all the money will go towards making a child’s stay in hospital brighter this Christmas.

South Wales Argus: Sfiyah was joined at the light switch on by Lionesses captain Millie Bright
South Wales Argus: Sfiyah was joined at the light switch on by Lionesses captain Millie Bright

Sfiyah was joined at the light switch on by Lionesses captain Millie Bright (Image: Starlight Children's Foundation)Sfiyah’s mother Parvina Khan said: “Sfiyah was devastated about missing Christmas. She disliked being in hospital and it had a real impact on her, to the point where she refused to take her medication and eat.

“Sfiyah then met her health play specialist, and he helped her to understand her condition, made her laugh and gave her the opportunity to play.

“She quickly began to eat and have her treatment again. Thanks to Starlight, he had play resources for all the children on the ward.

“Sfiyah thinks all children in hospital should have access to play as it would make them feel better and help them through their hospital journey.

“It’s such a joy to see how far she has come since her diagnosis and how she wants to help other children in hospital. We’re so proud of her.”

South Wales Argus: Sfiyah's mother Parvina says the family are so proud of their little girl
South Wales Argus: Sfiyah's mother Parvina says the family are so proud of their little girl

Sfiyah's mother Parvina says the family are so proud of their little girl (Image: Starlight Children's Foundation)Chief Executive of Starlight, Cathy Gilman said: “Over 100,000 children across the UK will spend the festive period in hospital, feeling scared and missing out on Christmas celebrations.

"No child wants to be stuck in hospital, away from their home and family, especially at Christmas. At Starlight, we know that play has the power to create positive hospital experiences for children."

You can sponsor a star for just £10 by visiting www.starsforstarlight.org.uk