Chloe and Charlotte, aged 18 and 19, are great friends who met at the Donna Louise more than five years ago. They love to spend as much time together as possible and regularly co-ordinate their stays at the Hospice. When they’re not together they’re either messaging each other or chatting on the phone.
The two friends volunteered to take part in a video which was shown at the annual Donna Louise Fundraising Ball. We chatted to the girls to find out more about their starring roles, what it was like to be filmed and why they were so keen to get involved.
Chloe explained, “It was really exciting to be able to tell everyone about the Hospice. We wanted to show people that the Donna Louise is not just about a building, it’s about getting to know people and making friends. We stay at the Hospice about three or four times a year, and we also love coming to the Youth Club every month. We have a really close group of friends and we all try and stay at the same time.”
The film showed the girls in different areas of the Hospice as they talked about what they love to do when they visit. The production was unscripted so the girls had to just chat naturally to the camera.
Charlotte explained, “I felt really nervous when we started filming and I made everyone go outside so they weren’t watching me. I did two or three takes for my parts because I wanted to make sure I got it just right. At one point they were filming me in my wheelchair but I kept going too fast so we had to re-do it and I had to go a bit slower.”
The finished four minute video was shown to an audience of more than 250 people at the Ball and the girls also attended with their families. Chloe said, “It was the first Ball I’d ever been to and it was magical! I absolutely loved it. It was my 18th Birthday the day before the Ball too, so it was an amazing Birthday party and everyone made a fuss of me.”
However the girls were also a little embarrassed about seeing themselves on the big screen infront of such a big audience, Charlotte said “I felt really proud about what we’d done but I was also really embarrassed. I enjoyed watching the finished film, but I didn’t like listening to my own voice. I don’t like being the centre of attention, but at least we got to do it together.”
The two girls have both developed a passion for art thanks to their art therapy sessions with the Donna Louise’s counsellor, Kevin. Two of their stunning pieces were included in the art auction at the Fundraising Ball. Charlotte’s painting was sold for and amazing £1600 while Chloe’s fetched a staggering £2400.
Charlotte commented, “We were completely gobsmacked that our paintings had sold for so much. It was great to meet the people who had bought them and I also met someone who had bought one of my paintings a few years ago which is now hanging in their home in France. I feel proud that other people are now able to experience the joy of our paintings.”
Finally we spoke to the girls about the Donna Louise’s plans to continue to support them after their 19th Birthdays. Chloe said “It’s amazing! If we could we’d jump for joy! If we couldn’t come to the Donna Louise anymore our only options would be places for old people, which would just not be suitable for us.”
Charlotte added, “The Donna Louise is not just about respite, they look after our whole family. My grandparents come here and do activities, plus there are youth clubs and sibling groups.”
Chloe concluded “I always think that I have three homes – my actual home, the hospital and The Donna Louise. In fact my mum often says that she thinks I’d move in to The Donna Louise if I could, and she’s probably right!”