Hi, I’m Helen… a Mummy, ex Early Years teacher and now ‘Monkey’s Mum!
Monkey has done a great job in telling you our story, but there are some details I’d like to share with you in my own words.
When my husband, Daniel, and I found out we were expecting our first child, we were overjoyed. But at the 20-week scan we were presented with the daunting news that our unborn baby had CCAM, a rare cystic lung complaint, and would have to undergo major surgery when she reached 18 months old.
She was born in 2007, and 18 months flew by. As surgery loomed, we were determined she wouldn’t feel anxious and searched for storybooks to help her through the whole experience.
We found illustrated stories, but nothing that would give her a real sense of what she was about to experience. So I took action. As a primary school teacher I used my skills to create a handmade book. The idea was simple, a toy monkey was the patient and he was photographed in the actual hospital rooms that she would visit, with the equipment that she would see all around her.
It paid off, she was relaxed and positive. She was excited when she recognised the machines and people that Monkey had introduced her to. Her positive spirit throughout her stay helped to relieve everyone’s worry – and boost her recovery.
The pioneering keyhole surgery at The Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton was successful and her rate of recovery was much quicker than expected. The feedback from the hospital was that they wanted more. So I set to work… and the Monkey goes to Hospital storybook was born. The Royal Alex commissioned a second edition of Monkey has an Operation, followed by Monkey has a Blood Test.
With the success and positive feedback we decided to make it a business, and our publishing company, AhHa Publications was formed.
Helen's Tedx Talk
Monkey and I were lucky to be invited to do a ‘Ted Talk’ in Brighton. If you would like to watch it, pop the kettle on, make a cup of tea and take a look.