Patients we've helped


Our Patients and Families

MediCinema is all about the people we help – the patients living with illness and the families caring for them. We’re grateful to every patient who shares their inspiring story with us.

Hospital is the last place anyone wants to be but every year millions of patients are admitted to hospitals throughout the UK. While some only have to spend mere hours on a ward, many are admitted for weeks, months and even years at a time. As well as the pain, discomfort and other difficulties their condition brings, being in hospital often causes its own problems. Patients are almost always restricted to the hospital grounds with some unwilling even to leave their ward. All of this isolates patients and makes it almost impossible for them to have any sense of normality.

MediCinema gives patients a break from their ward, the chance to do something normal with their family and escape all they’re going through. Time and again our patients and their families tell us of the massive difference this makes to their hospital stay and life afterwards.

Max's Story

Six-year-old Maxwell (better known as Max), suffers from a very rare form of cancer.  In 2021 he suddenly required a stem cell transplant, and with his family ended up travelling almost five hours from their home in Nottingham to Glasgow’s Royal Hospital for Children. Max quickly received the transplant, but soon after he faced a lot of unexpected neurological issues.  What was initially supposed to be a 6 week stay turned into 5 months.


Max's dad Lee told us: "Being away from home for so long was extremely difficult. Max had life threatening complications and it was incredibly hard for my wife and I to see him so unwell after the procedure. Our eldest son Zachary had to stay in Nottingham with his grandparents, and with no family or friends nearby for support, we felt cut off from our amazing support network back home. Without knowing anyone in Glasgow and being too far away to receive regular visitors, the nurses took up this position and became like friends to us. It was so comforting to have familiar faces around us who were always looking out for Max; but we really missed being able to just be a proper family and do ‘family things’ together. We would’ve given anything to be back at home again: going to the playpark, taking the dog for a walk, or watching a film with our boys. 


One of our favourite family traditions is going to the cinema on a Wednesday a few times a month. Max is already a massive film fan and absolutely adores the Spiderman movies. So when the play specialist asked if Max would like to see the newest Spiderman film at the hospital’s MediCinema, we knew we couldn’t miss out on such a special opportunity. We weren’t too sure what to expect and so were completely blown away when we walked into the MediCinema for the first time and saw that it was like any other cinema – just with additional spaces for hospital beds! I think it’s sheer madness that there’s a cinema like that within a children’s hospital – it’s brilliant! When I went to the bathroom midway through the film, I almost couldn’t believe that I was back in the hospital, the MediCinema had completely transported us away."


After all the incredible stress and worry we were facing with Max’s ongoing treatment, it was so nice to fully relax and just enjoy the experience. It felt like we were finally doing something “normal” as a family for the first time in months. Max loved the film, along with all the twist and turns that came with it – and he had the brightest smile on his face throughout. To see my son so happy was the best feeling. It’s just remarkable how much joy a visit to the MediCinema can bring families. Thank you, MediCinema - the fact your charity exists to lift people’s spirits and put a smile on children’s face during the hardest of times is simply amazing.




Jane's Story

"MediCinema gave every one of us a night off from the pain and anxiety we’d been feeling."  A routine operation turned upside down for Jane when she reacted badly to the anaesthetic and suffered a suspected heart attack.

"My week had started like any other and I was looking forward to bank holiday plans with full family visiting that weekend. I was going in for a routine day operation on my hand at Guy’s Hospital feeling relaxed about it. But completely unbeknownst to me, I had a block in my heart, and spent the following days in a hospital bed trying to distract myself from my situation – so, when the lovely MediCinema manager came to ask if I might like escaping the ward for an evening, I thought it sounded a marvellous plan.

"I had pictured being taken into a clinical town-hall type of room with a TV mounted on the wall, but Oh no – the second you’re through the doors it’s like you’ve been transported into another world. It’s a dream place! I thought, “I can’t believe this”, it was just like crossing a border from the hospital into an actual real-life cinema -- only a safer one, with nurses and life-saving equipment on hand. Everyone was equally excited to be there, so it was easy to get swept up by the experience and just forget about my worries. You can’t help but become a bit insular and overly cautious in hospital, but coming to MediCinema stopped me from obsessing over everything. I’d been very tight chested during the day - a mixture of my heart and anxiety over the diagnosis - but for the first time since being admitted to hospital I was feeling really good. I felt both physically and mentally uplifted, and afterwards slept brilliantly when back on the ward.

"MediCinema is a beautiful place; it’s warm, inviting and spotlessly clean, but the best thing about it by far are the people. The volunteers and nurses are just fantastic - such caring, happy people, who brighten your spirits with how encouraging they are. Even though I didn’t know anyone, it was lovely how social it was, which I think is vitally important in hospital as it’s a very isolating place for those without visitors. Everybody there was in the exact same boat (all lost dignity in our gowns and PJ’s!) so we didn’t need to talk about our health and symptoms for a change, and instead spent an evening chatting away and having a laugh together." 


Eva Maria's story

"Just the thought of having a few hours of cinema, gave me my energy back and made my day. But ultimately, it gave me hope – hope that I could have my life back.

"I was diagnosed with Septicaemia in February 2020. Since then, each time the infection has come back, I have been admitted to hospital for treatment, including an emergency operation and physiotherapy to help me walk again. During these last 18 months, people have told me, “Everything will be okay” or, “You just need to be strong,” but I don’t always have the energy to feel strong. This has been a very difficult time and, on top of everything, I find being stuck in a hospital bed all day really tiring because, understandably, there are always interruptions on the ward and so it’s difficult to rest. And not being able to rest my mind can make me feel really down.

"When I noticed one of my ‘roommates’ being wheeled out of the ward on her bed, I asked her if everything was okay. She said: “I’m going to the cinema!” I couldn’t understand how that could be possible, but she told me that there was a MediCinema in the hospital where you could go and watch films. It might sound strange, but in that moment, I felt like something changed in me. It was like someone was saying, “The cinema is something you used to enjoy before you were unwell … why don’t you try it again now?” I could see myself doing something ‘normal’ and getting a part of my life back again.

"The next day I went down to the CW+ MediCinema. When I saw it, I was really surprised; I’d imagined a small room with a TV screen, but it was a real cinema, and the staff were lovely. Everything was perfect. And then the film started. I hadn’t heard of the film before, but it was about women being strong and brave. It was amazing to see it. It empowered me – it encouraged me to feel better, to feel strong again and I remember thinking that even if my body isn’t feeling strong, maybe my mind can feel stronger. Unfortunately, I had to leave the screening early because my doctor needed to see me, but it almost didn’t matter because I already felt different. I felt better, as though the screening had given me strength. I could feel myself enjoying life again and thinking, “I can do this!”

"Being unwell and in hospital can be very difficult. But being given opportunities, like going to the MediCinema, can help heal your mind. That is so important when you’re unwell. MediCinema gives people the chance to be normal, to carry on with normal life and not to miss out just because they are unwell. Just the thought of having a few hours of cinema, gave me my energy back and made my day. But ultimately, it gave me hope – hope that I could have my life back.


Michael's Story

Michael is a long-term patient at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and LOVES the cinema.  His mum Mileena tells us how his visits to the CW+ MediCinema have had a huge impact on him, changing his perception of the hospital and making it feel lilke a happy place for him to go:

"Michael can’t do lots of the things that other children do. He can’t run around or play for very long and if we go to the park, he gets tired very fast. We can go on holiday, but travelling is difficult for us because of his medical problems, so he doesn’t get very excited by it. But when Michael is at the cinema, he’s at his happiest. For him, to be able to sit down and watch a film is the best thing ever. So, when we found out about MediCinema, he couldn’t wait to go. We’ve been to two screenings now and we still talk about them to this day. That’s how amazing the MediCinema was for both of us.

"Michael was born healthy but caught a virus when he was a few days old. It was a simple virus, one that might give you a temperature for a few days, but Michael was only just born, and his immune system wasn’t equipped to deal with it. At four days old, he was admitted to Chelsea & Westminster where his heart just stopped. After that, it was like the domino effect, where he faced with one thing after another – all within the first three months of his life. He has survived so many things and we are very proud of him.

"Michael is 11 now and he’s quite stable but will have medical problems his whole life. We are back and forth to hospitals all the time and we stay at Chelsea & Westminster very frequently.  It helps that they know us really well at the hospital and that he has the best doctor ever – the same doctor who was there when he was born, there when his heart stopped, there for his heart transplant at three months old, and is still here today. But even so, Michael used to call hospital the ‘torture place.’ 

"We stayed at Chelsea & Westminster during lockdown last year. Being immuno-suppressed, Michael needs to be in his own room and can’t walk around the ward because of the other sick children. It meant that he was stuck in his room for days and days and days and was getting very depressed. But when he saw the poster for the MediCinema, he was so excited, because he is absolutely obsessed with film. He said: “Look Mummy!!’ and he was the one who asked the nurse if he could go. 

"And how did he find the screening? He loved it, loved it, loved it! He was laughing and he was happy. For those two hours he could just slip into the world of the movie and stop thinking about being unwell. It helped him forget about his pain by being involved in the story. You can’t put a price on taking away a child’s pain for two hours of the day. 

"It’s a happy occasion to go to the cinema and MediCinema wasn’t any different - everyone walked out afterwards looking positive and happy and Michael felt better – much better. I know something changed in him because he wasn’t thinking ‘I can’t do anything because I’m unwell and I’m stuck in my room.’ Instead, he was thinking: “I can actually do something that I love to do. I can feel safe, and I can watch a movie.” Things didn’t seem so desperate after that and he started to think more positively about his situation. It made his day much happier. 

"Think about your worst day, your worst, nightmare day. Children like Michael can sometimes have their worst days in hospital. But going to the MediCinema – just that one thing – can make it their best day ever. And it’s the same for parents too. In hospital you don’t get many chances to have your best days, but MediCinema can give that to you. For Michael, it gives him a light at the end of the tunnel, a ray of sunshine and something happy to do - and that makes a huge difference."


Lucas's story

Lucas has been in and out of hospital his whole life. He is unable to eat or drink and will never be able to. He is fed into his small bowel which causes many complications. He and his Mum, Mel, spend a lot of time at the Glasgow Royal Hospital for Children for surgeries and care relating to this and other disorders. All treatment for Lucas is geared towards management, as there is no cure for his condition.

“Lucas spends more time in hospital than at home,” describes Mel. “He’s had to spend many birthdays there. When you’re living in hospital every day, every night, you go through every emotion possible. You go stir crazy. The long stints are the hardest; we can have six months of the same thing day in day out and you just want to go home. But you just have to get on with it.

Lucas misses out on a lot of school and socialising in general, which is a shame because he has Autism and more interaction would really help with his development. When we’re not in hospital it’s a struggle to do things because Lucas doesn’t like loud noises and the weekend is a write off because it’s just too busy everywhere. He carries some of his medical equipment with him in a backpack, so I’m always thinking about safety and the practical side too. I couldn’t even imagine taking him to a normal cinema.

Lucas is seven now and he’s been coming to the MediCinema in Glasgow since he was two years old.

“When we first started going, the MediCinema manager, Sheila, or the MediCinema nurses, would come and visit us on our ward and ask if we wanted to see a film. That first time, I couldn’t imagine what it would be like and even as time went on, I would wonder how Lucas was going to react, because he was non-verbal. But the staff were always supportive and would say that we could try it, even if we only stayed in the MediCinema for five minutes, because it would get us off the ward for a bit.

It was sometimes difficult for Lucas. The experience would take all of his focus and I could see the struggle within him. He wouldn’t acknowledge the MediCinema staff or volunteers and we would often have to leave the screenings early because the experience would have taken all of his energy. But Lucas would always want to know what was on next. He would want to keep coming back to the MediCinema. And that meant that, every week, I could think “we’re alright, we’re going to watch a movie.”

Since then, Mel and Lucas have been to the MediCinema countless times. “I couldn’t tell you how many times we’ve been. He has his favourite films that he’s watched there and if he has watched a bit of a film at the MediCinema then he’s more likely to watch it at home – he likes the familiarity – which means we’ve watched Monster Trucks about a thousand times! He especially loves it when there’s a special screening on as well – like when we watched Toy Story 4 and Frozen 2 where there was face painting and balloons before the films started. There were loads of leaves on the floor at Frozen 2 and Lucas took one and keeps it with him. The characters came to visit before the films and for some reason, he just loves them! Whenever there are displays outside with characters on, he has to get his picture taken every time we come!

But at the same time, it doesn’t really matter what the film is, because it means so much more. Lucas loves all the bits that come with it – like the nurses giving him his MediCinema ticket for the film that afternoon. He waits there with his ticket until the volunteers come and collect him for the film. Even Sheila showing him the monthly film schedule means so much. Knowing the upcoming films and all the timings is so important because he needs routine to function. He can memorise the whole thing.”

Over the last year, Mel has noticed a huge change in Lucas.

“Over time, Lucas has been able to build it up so that he can even stay for a whole film now and he has started to focus on familiar faces. He’ll run up to the staff that he knows, and he’ll give them a hug.  He’s like a chatty wee boy now and we’re all gobsmacked because that wasn’t Lucas, even a year ago. He’s developed so much and built such a strong bond with the staff and the volunteers, like Billy and John – who Lucas thinks is his best friend in the whole world. Lucas knows the time that Sheila starts her shift and will want to walk round to her office and say hello. She’s amazing with him – they all are.

The staff have never given up on him.

They’ve taken the time to get to know him and build a relationship. They’ve learnt his trigger points and how to react around him too. He’s only ever had his face painted once – it’s a very new thing for him - and he doesn’t let people touch him, but when there was a face painter at the Frozen 2 screening, he was happy to sit there, and have it done. And the reason he was comfortable was because he was surrounded by people like Sheila and Billy - his friends. It’s lovely for me to see how many relationships have grown out of coming here. And together we’ve all been able to watch his development from a young boy who is non-verbal, gives no eye-contact and can only stay in the MediCinema for two minutes … to the Lucas he is now. He’s transformed.

And it’s not just Lucas who’s benefitted from MediCinema; it’s me too. You can’t see out of the windows on the ward, so you don’t even know if it’s raining or sunny. MediCinema would make me feel like there were more than those four walls. And as I’ve said before, it’s so much more than the film. As Lucas is unable to eat, sometimes I will go the whole day without eating either. If Sheila knows I haven’t eaten, she’ll make sure the MediCinema nurses and volunteers look after him in the screening so that I can run and grab something to eat. That kindness – someone caring about you, when you might not have the time to care for yourself – means the world.

If you’re donating to MediCinema, you’re not just helping kids watch a film. I don’t think people realise, because if you’re not living it, you can’t understand it. There’s a bigger picture. It’s not just going to watch a movie for us. it’s the whole experience in general … even just the walk down to the MediCinema; it all takes my mind off everything and allows my mind to rest.

MediCinema releases you.

You can’t put a price on what it means to people and what the volunteers and the cinema managers give back to the patients … money can’t buy that.”


Tom's story

The doctors and nurses can look after your physical health but unfortunately, they don't always have the time to help you with the mental health side of being in hospital. It's such a rollercoaster of emotions and there's no escape to it all. To be able to be taken away from the ward and drift into the depths of a film is invaluable and helps the patients’ overall recovery process.

And so for some of the MediCinemas to have been able to stay open during Covid – even when other cinemas have been closed – has been crucial.

I've been in and out of hospital receiving physical and mental health treatment and most recently because I had relapsed with an eating disorder. Having the MediCinema is something that saved me from the very dark days. More and more young people have been entering hospitals because of mental illness and going into hospital is such a daunting and, in some ways, a very lonely experience, so having a service like this is vital to give essential help in the darkest of hours.


Henry's story

Over the past 18 months, our son Henry has had many visits to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, where he’s needed multiple operations. As parents, we could not be prouder of how well Henry has coped with all that he has been through. It’s been such a tough time for the family, but Henry has taken it all in his stride. 

One thing that has really helped is the MediCinema at the hospital. After each of Henry’s operations, we have been able to take him to watch a film there. MediCinema became an important part of Henry’s recovery process, taking his mind off being poorly and giving us all quality time together as a family.  

The first time we were invited to the MediCinema, I thought the nurses were joking. I remember thinking “Are you not seeing what I’m seeing? No chance.” Henry was too poorly to walk, and he was bedridden, attached to different tubes and machines. Henry was a bit unsure too. Since his operation, a few days before, he was completely fed up. With three or four days of no talking or smiling, I remember asking myself “when will he go back to being Henry again?”

But the nurses explained that he could go in his bed. Any question I had they had an answer for - everything had been thought through - and they made it seem so straight forward. So, we went for it. The nurses on the ward secured all his lines and machines to his bed and the MediCinema team wheeled him down to the cinema.

It was so great to get out of those four walls, where every minute can feel like an hour. And it was such a relief to know there were nurses in the cinema for the whole movie. There’s no getting away from the fact that we were still in hospital, but we could have a change of scenery and be together in a place that didn’t feel medical. I got a break from thinking about it all and found that, after the screening, I felt more myself – more with it – and so better with Henry too.

I didn’t notice the change in Henry at first. But later that day, after the screening, he started talking to me about the film. He hadn’t been himself since the operation, but when he spoke about the characters, he started to smile again for the first time. His nurse included his MediCinema trip in her handover notes that day, and when the news spread around the ward  he got right into telling everyone else about it all too. Nurses, consultants, cleaners, would say: “I hear you’ve been to the MediCinema?”, or “I’m so jealous you’ve been to see that film! What was the best bit?” From Henry’s point of view, they were talking to him on his level, about something that wasn’t medical. He was just a kid having a normal conversation. To have that sense of normality really helped his recovery from a mental point of view. It helped him get back to himself. Nurses would say “I’ve never known him so chatty!” because he had been so fed up before. But he’d become our chatty 4-year-old again.  I realised just how much MediCinema had really cheered him up and how just getting off the ward had made such a huge difference to his mood and ours.

Our latest visit to the MediCinema was a really different experience due to Covid. During the first couple of hospital stays it was pre-Covid so we could pop to the hospital play areas or the café. We had even been able to bring Henry’s brother, Arlo – who was six months old at the time – to the MediCinema, so Henry could watch his second film in hospital, but with his whole family! This time most things were closed and me and my partner, Matthew, couldn’t swap over, so once we’d made the decision that Matthew, would stay at home with Arlo and I would stay in hospital with Henry, we weren’t able to see each other for a week. It felt like the longest week ever.

Then Henry saw the poster for Trolls World Tour and he was so excited. It’s one of his favourite films and he had even brought his Trolls blanket with him to the hospital. We were so happy when we found out that we had a space at the screening that afternoon. Henry had only just started walking again and so the volunteer brought a wheelchair to the ward. He took one look at it and said: “I’m not going in that. No, I’ll walk.” He was adamant and I still remember the look on his face! But he did it … he walked the whole way, the furthest he had walked in five days. There we were: Henry with his PJs, slippers, dressing gown and Trolls blanket, me checking he was okay and being told he was fine, and the MediCinema volunteer walking along with us, pushing the empty wheelchair the whole way.

Because of the Covid precautions in place, it was a very different experience to the times we’d been before, but it was in no way compromised. The nurses and the MediCinema staff had thought of everything. And because of everything that was going on, being able to go made even more of a difference – it felt even more valuable than before.  

If your child is in hospital, things can get on top of you. MediCinema gave us a chance to get away from all things medical for a bit. We would get back to the ward after watching a film and it didn’t feel like we had been away for a couple of hours – it felt like we had been gone for so much longer. Each time we were welcomed back onto the ward it would be all smiles and questions about our trip to the cinema and things wouldn’t feel quite so doom and gloom anymore. And being able to see the change in Henry since that first MediCinema visit has been amazing; from being wheeled down in his bed, quiet and poorly, to the volunteers bringing him down to a screening in a wheelchair, to most recently seeing Henry walking confidently all the way from the ward to the cinema to see Trolls World Tour. The whole experience, and the care from everyone involved, helped bring our Henry back.


Jack's story

16-year-old Jack was admitted to the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle, for a knee biopsy. Having operated, they found that he had Osteomyelitis – a bone infection – which led to a 16-night stay in hospital, with eight lots of antibiotics a day to kill the infection.

 “My hospital stay was difficult. I missed playing rugby, seeing my friends and being at school. I love all of these things and it was awful to be confined to a hospital bed for 16 days without being able to see anyone, go outside or do anything physical. I was in a lot of pain and found the hospital stay emotionally difficult too – staying in the same room for a full two weeks isn’t good for anyone.”

Jack’s Mum, Anna, was able to stay with him in hospital: “It was a difficult time. Jack was in a lot of pain and initially he didn’t seem to be fighting the infection. Luckily, I was able to stay in the room with Jack and so was able to speak to consultants and nurses regularly which helped enormously. It was a waiting game – the antibiotics needed to kick in, which they did eventually, but it took some time. Due to COVID restrictions Jack was unable to have any visitors so the only people he saw were medical staff. MediCinema provided much needed respite from a hospital room and was a good distraction for a worrying mother and a traumatised teenager.”

Jack remembers the first time they visited the MediCinema: “We knew the MediCinema existed because it’s in a really good place in the hospital – you see it just as you go up the escalators. I thought it was such a great idea. I knew it would bring happiness to many patients, like me, who would be given the chance to get out of their rooms and have something to get excited about and look forward to. So, Mum asked if it was possible for us to go together.

The volunteers who came to pick me up in the wheelchair were kind and chatted to me on the way there. On the way back we discussed the film which was interesting. My Mum really enjoyed it too. It was good for us both to have a change of scene and to have something else to talk about together afterwards – a shared experience. And as soon as it was over, we asked if we could go again. It had made such a difference to both of us and turned our day around, allowing us time out of my room to do something different and interact with other people. I felt so much better after each screening.”

“The whole experience was fantastic”, says Anna. “The volunteer staff were very welcoming and there were medical staff on hand to deal with patients in the event of anything happening during the screening. On one occasion Jack’s knee started bleeding and the staff were able to redress his wound whilst we continued to watch the film. We saw three films during our stay and were very grateful to MediCinema for the much-needed distraction that it gave us.”

“I want to say thank you to MediCinema for giving us both the opportunity to look forward to something” says Jack. “The whole experience has made me realise how important a patient’s mental well-being is when they are in hospital – and MediCinema was a good focus for the day. Without it, every day of my stay would have been pretty much the same. It made a huge difference to my hospital experience and really cheered both me and my Mum up – so thank you.”


Lara and Liam's story

Lara visited the MediCinema at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary a few years ago - and then her son Liam was admitted during COVID in 2020. She tells us that during her first visit, she made a friend at the MediCinema that she has kept for life,

A couple of years ago, I was admitted to the Newcastle RVI for three weeks for back surgery. Being able to go to the MediCinema made my hospital experience better. I even remember going along to the hospital café after the screening and having sausage and chips – the whole thing felt like a proper night out … except I was in my pyjamas! It encouraged me to socialise with other patients too. While I was at the screening, I met another patient and, when we got chatting, we realised we were staying on the same ward together. Since then, we’ve become good friends and I still speak to her every day.

More recently, my son, Liam, went into hospital for a routine procedure as a day patient, but they ended up having to keep him in. It was such a surprise to us both. Liam has Asperger’s and he felt unsettled and nervous about having to stay, especially during Covid times when there were no visitors allowed. A few days later he had to be given a feeding tube which made the whole experience even more difficult too.

It was around that time that we were invited to the MediCinema. He wasn’t too sure at first – he was worried about how many people might be in the cinema and he couldn’t imagine what it would be like. But, as I had been before, I could explain that it was dead cosy and just like a proper cinema. So, we went together and it was just what we needed; it was absolutely spot on. We could just watch a film together at the cinema – something that, being in lockdown, we wouldn’t have been able to do outside of the hospital anyway!

I asked Liam if he wanted to add anything and he said the fact that there were so many different types of films on offer throughout the week, for all different ages, really impressed him – he felt it meant that no-one would miss out on such a great opportunity. He also wanted to say that everyone was doing an absolutely fantastic job in such testing times.

So, we would both recommend that, if anyone gets the chance to experience MediCinema, you should jump at it! Because it is absolutely brilliant for patients and families. You walk out those cinema doors after the screening and all of a sudden you think: ‘Oh, I’m in hospital.’ It’s as though MediCinema gives you the chance to forget that you were in hospital at all – without actually having to leave. It made a difficult time for Liam that bit better.


Rosie's story

Rosie has been in and out of hospitals for the past two years.   We spoke with her Mum Natasha about their MediCinema experience and what it meant to them both. ⠀

"I can honestly say that the last two years have been the most terrifying time for us as a family. It’s been a huge upheaval for all of us. Rosie’s latest stay in hospital was to come up to Evelina London to undergo major surgery and afterwards, as each day passed, Rosie became a little stronger and more confident to stand and take her first tentative steps. It was during this week that we learnt about the MediCinema. A lovely member of the MediCinema team came to the ward and put a huge smile on Rosie’s face by inviting us both to a screening of The Lion King, the night before we were due to go home. It was the first time I had heard about MediCinema and I don’t really know what I was expecting, but… it was more. We arrived, and it was an actual cinema! There were arts and crafts, face painting and balloon-making before the film began as well. Rosie loved everything about it and when she came back to the ward, a play specialist helped her make a special Lion King crown, so the experience just kept going. ⠀

Having the MediCinema made our whole hospital experience better. It was great to break up the routine, but the most important benefit for me was seeing Rosie so happy. She can be quite anxious in hospitals sometimes, but after that film screening, she was on cloud nine. She was buzzing.⠀

Even though these times have been scary for us all, another thing I’ve really valued about the experience is that it granted me some ‘Me and Rosie’ time. When we were in the MediCinema, we were surrounded by other patients and families, but we didn’t feel like there were any eyes on us; we were all in the same boat. Rosie and I could just sit back and enjoy the film and have a laugh together. She would look up at me whenever there was a funny part and we would both giggle. ⠀

Why should people donate to this charity? Because of how it made us both feel: happy. After that screening, we had such a warm, happy feeling and just talked about it together all evening. We’ll never forget it."



Kai was born with tracheoesophageal fistula, which means that there are problems linked to his oesophagus and trachea. His condition brings many complications and he can have sudden episodes of respiratory failure.  Since birth, Kai has been in and out of Evelina Children’s Hospital in London. He had an operation on the second day of his life, and has had many more since, to help keep his airways safe. 

"The hospital is our home. We basically live here,” says his Mum, Mei. “When he was born, we were counting the days until we would be able to leave. The days turned to weeks and time kept getting pushed back. Then we just stopped counting. The hospital felt like the safest place for him to be.” 

Mei describes the complications that Kai’s condition can bring: “When Kai struggles to breathe, he is unable to swallow and he can start to really panic. If he panics, his airways collapse, which can complicate even simple procedures. It can be really hard for me to help him. When he had his last episode in the hospital, he just suddenly started crying; he looked grey and so sad. It took a whole group of people to get him back to normal. It took them forty minutes.”

As Kai and his family spend so much time in hospital, Mei explains the significance of MediCinema for them: “Kai is growing up in hospital, so for us it’s so important for him to have as many different experiences as possible. We’re keen not to let his development slip so we want him to see variety and difference and to have the opportunity to interact with others. MediCinema has given him all of these things - exposure to different experiences that he wouldn’t have been able to have.

Firstly, going to a screening in the MediCinema itself is wonderful for him. The first time we went he was very quiet, staring up at the big screen, then suddenly he started jumping around all over the cinema seats and down at the front! He loved the open space and obviously felt comfortable. I found it to be a really relaxed setting too. In fact, whenever we go, I find it to be a relaxing evening.

Mei also describes the benefit that MediCinema’s special events have on Kai and the family: “I took Kai to the Lion King Music and Movement session in the hospital that MediCinema organised with Disney. It was something you would never expect to see in a hospital and it was really special that we could do it together. There was singing and dancing and it was such a different experience for Kai; something completely new and unique he had never experienced before. It all helps with his development, which, as I said before, is such an important thing for us. We’ve also been to the special screenings for Frozen 2 and The Lion King, when the characters visit the MediCinema before the film. Kai loves to go and observe everything and we get to see other children from the wards when we are there too, so it’s a time when he can interact with others. The screenings also encourage us as families to connect with each other too and we’ve made friends there. There were goody bags for us after the Lion King event and afterwards back on the ward we starting chatting about how great they were with another family. Then we ended up switching cuddly toys so that Kai could have the Simba lion and the young girl in the bed next to us could have the Nala!”

Mei remembers some of the thoughtful touches during these special events and the lasting impact they had: “We had to leave early from the Frozen 2 screening, but I remember someone from MediCinema came to find us on the ward and gave us a printed-out photo of me and Kai with the characters in a special frame. I really appreciated that touch, because it meant that we would always have a reminder of the night, a memory we could keep. It’s the same with the activity book we were given after the Lion King event. Kai is too little to read the book now, but it’s so bright and colourful and again, it’s something that he will be able to look at in the future, and be reminded of positive experiences he had in the hospital, that his life has been filled with these special moments.

Thank you to MediCinema for helping to make Kai’s life more joyful and more colourful. Despite what is going on, experiences like these mean that his life is still full of positivity and enjoyment and we have all been able to create special, lasting memories together.”


Theodore's story

Brave Theodore and his Mum, Natasha, have been coming to the MediCinema at St Thomas' Hospital for four years. Natasha sat down with us to share their experiences: ⠀

“We have been in and out of the Evelina Children’s Hospital since Theodore was 18 months old. He’s now six and a half and he’s had about 15 operations in that time. Anyone who has met him will definitely agree that he is one of the most out-going children ever – he will talk to anyone about anything and everything. But he also suffers from anxiety when he’s in hospital, for various reasons, and especially when he has an operation.⠀

MediCinema is an amazing service and one that has been so beneficial for Theodore. It's given us something to look forward to, to talk about together – something other than hospital things. On multiple occasions, Theodore has been unable to walk too far or sit properly after an operation, but he hasn’t had to miss out - he has been able to come to the MediCinema in his hospital bed, he can just be comfortable.⠀

One of the most recent films we watched there was Dolittle. It was before one of Theodore’s operations and it turned out to be the perfect film for him to have watched. Theodore’s anxiety gets worse when he has to put a mask on to put him to sleep for an operation. In the film, there is a squirrel called Kevin who is injured and he is put to sleep using a mask and wakes up feeling better. That part of the film obviously resonated with Theodore, because the next day, he called himself ‘Kevin the Squirrel’ and for the first time we were able to take him down to theatre looking and feeling more relaxed and calmer than ever before. ⠀

We will never forget that MediCinema, without even realising it, helped our hospital journey that day more than ever! I will forever be thankful to the team, and all of the volunteers, for everything they have done for us.”


Darach's Story

‘MediCinema is a charity that does good things for the soul.’

Fiona’s son, Darach, was diagnosed at birth with Pulmonary Atresia with ventricular septal defect (VSD) and had his first surgery at two days old. Since then, he has had five heart surgeries, three of which have been open heart, as well as an operation to fit a pacemaker, so he has been in and out of hospital for his whole life. Most recently, Darach was admitted to the Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow, with infective endocarditis, a very serious infection in the heart which kept him in hospital for almost seven weeks, and most of the summer holidays. Fiona explains how difficult long hospital stays are for the whole family:

You miss the simple, normal things like going for a walk with your dog, talking to your friends, cooking, being outside, having movie nights at home with the family. You’re not that busy when you are in hospital with your child, you have far too much time to think and that amplifies all your fears. Once you’re on it, it’s difficult to get off the worry wheel, especially when you haven’t had much sleep either; at times you don’t have the mental stamina to stop the worrying.

‘That’s why distractions are so beneficial. The first time we came to MediCinema was the night before his pacemaker was due to be fitted, and we were quite stressed about the surgery the next day, but after that first screening, we felt really uplifted. We had that relief; we’d been able to escape and have a nice treat together. It really took our minds off of the looming surgery.

‘Now going to the cinema is a special treat and something Darach can look forward to when he knows he’s coming into hospital. He thinks about it all week and it really cheers him up.

‘For the Men in Black: International screening it was my older son’s birthday, and we wondered if it would be OK if he came along, but the ward staff told me that it was for the whole family to enjoy together, especially as we’d had such a stressful time and it was exactly why we deserved to go. It was so lovely to be able to spend time with the whole family.

‘It was important for Darach, as part of his recovery, and for my youngest son, Stroan aged nine. The boys are really close, and he was at home with Granny and Grandpa all week while we were in hospital with Darach, so for four weeks we didn’t see him from Sunday to Friday. It was great for him to be involved – for him to have special time with all of us so he wouldn’t feel left out. An ill child gets so much attention from everyone and the younger siblings can feel left out or at times even a bit jealous. Going to MediCinema was a chance for Stroan to feel included and share a laugh with his brother. Seeing the brothers laughing together was so heart-warming and we felt so grateful and lucky.

‘I have experienced first-hand how valuable MediCinema is – when we think of health charities we tend to think of the big organisations that focus on the body and prevention of disease, but the mind is key to healing and recovery too. Going to the cinema is something most people would take for granted but under these circumstances, it brought the greatest happiness to Darach and played a big part in his recovery. I think MediCinema really is the best thing in the hospital to help the kids, and we are so grateful to have benefited from it.’


Pollyanna’s Story

Eight-year-old Pollyanna had to spend 105 days, including Christmas and New Year, in the Royal Victoria Infirmary while she recovered from her life saving bone marrow transplant. Her mum, Claudine, spoke to us about the difference MediCinema made at this difficult time:

'When Pollyanna was in the Bubble, she couldn’t leave the room until her neutrophils (a type of white blood cell) started coming up to a certain level. She was in the room for around five weeks and being able to look forward to seeing a film when she was allowed to leave was amazing.

'Once Pollyanna was in "purple isolation”, she could leave the Bubble and the first thing she did was go to MediCinema. She was so excited to receive her magic ticket!

'Since that day, we were able to access MediCinema as a family on the weekends and it was something wonderful to look forward to. We spent Christmas and New Year away from home, much to the disappointment of the girls, so seeing lovely Christmas films helped to alleviate sadness and sorrow. I remember watching “Mary Poppins Returns” and Pollyanna was not only counting the sleeps till the film, but has been singing the songs ever since!

'Pollyanna loves going to the cinema and after such a horrid year, we finally could make some lovely memories of watching films together. One of the most memorable moments was when Pollyanna saw another child who looked like her in the MediCinema. While in the Bubble, Pollyanna wasn’t allowed to come into contact with other children and even though we were telling her that the other nine kids in the unit had no hair and wore masks and had nasogastric tubes in, she didn’t believe us. It was quite special when she saw another child like her.

'We returned to Leeds on 14th Jan 2019, after 105 days of being away from home. Consultants told us she probably won’t remember much of her time at RVI. We will, but she will remember our exciting trips to MediCinema, and we will all fondly remember our MediCinema friends, who were warm and welcoming and looked after us during each of our visits to the cinema.

'Please donate whatever you can, as MediCinema could make such a difference to critically ill children. It gives a few hours of joy to everyone attending, who are usually having a really awful time. We miss MediCinema, it made a huge difference to Pollyanna and all of us during our time in hospital.'

Claudine, Pollyanna’s mum


Yasmin's Story

'The CW+ MediCinema has been like a beacon for me during the roughest storm of my life. When you are a culture vulture like me and discover your life has been stolen from you through no fault of your own, it's harrowing, shocking. Then on top of that the things you could do to comfort yourself, like go to the movies, become a minefield. Navigating stairs, public transport, rough and ready "Joe public" when you need oxygen, wheelchair and gentleness, it's intimidating.


'I arrived at hospital depressed and very down. I was amazed when palliative care told me such a facility, complimentary or by donation, existed. I'd not been to the cinema in six months - rough going for a weekly "Meerkat movie" girl! It was like being thrown a lifeline. I was "me" again. You've no idea how precious that is when you might only have months to live. To be yourself. I was able to create new memories for my friends and family while doing something we all take for granted when life is easy, and all from a very safe space so I could relax, and, naturally, they could too, as I knew help was at hand if something went wrong.


'My cancer has been so hard on those who care about me, but when I get taken to the CW+ MediCinema, shown to my seat and made cosy, I'm not Yasmin with terminal lung cancer, I'm just "me" again and I blossom, and, I'm excited, and for a few hours we can just be friends and family enjoying a movie again. It has meant everything to me. We are wreathed in escapism and the nurses and volunteers are amazing. I don't worry about a single thing. The team collect me and take me back to bed. My nurses see me come back with a big smile on my face.


'I was recently able to enjoy a short-notice private screening of Bohemian Rhapsody, a film I'd been desperate to see, it amazed me that was made possible. Despite everything I am enduring it was the happiest I had been in ages. That was all I was conscious of. The gift of it. My brothers and friend by my side, exchanging anecdotes, a bit of banter!


'MediCinema is a genuine godsend, I wish all hospitals had one, I think it would do patients and staff the nation over the world of good. I've seen patients wheeled in lying on beds wearing the biggest smiles. You cannot put a price on that. I'm so grateful to the generosity of the film industry and the teams that make this happen. Thank you for what you have done for me and the people I love. Long may you continue, transforming the lives of moviegoers great and small!'


David's Story

David was in hospital for a quarter of a year with an infection in his spine. He explains what that was like and how MediCinema helped:

‘I suddenly woke up with this intense pain in my back and it just continued and continued. I simply couldn’t stand it, and so I hobbled up to Charing Cross Hospital. I was given pain killers, but then about six weeks later my legs started to feel very wobbly - like shivers, spasms, going up my legs. I simply could not walk. I was on my hands and knees, no power, in agony, pains thudding into my back all the time. I thought I was going to die.

‘I came to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and was here for 12 weeks including two weeks rehabilitation, trying to get this pain down and get me walking again. I couldn’t walk, I had to learn again; but the pain prevented me from really getting into it. I’d be screaming in pain.

‘When I found out there was a cinema in the hospital I was astonished! I thought it might be a room with a large screen. It’s a real cinema! It’s exactly the same as if you went to a multiplex cinema. It’s a real cinema with a brilliant screen, and comfortable seating, and more importantly - you have room for beds. And every time I go, I go in my bed. It’s just like going to the movies… well it is! It is going to the movies! You can be here and can forget about everything - I don’t feel any pain in my back when I’m in the cinema. I’m in my bed and I’m comfortable.

‘Trevor, in the bed next to me in the cinema, is in the same business. (Trevor is a screenwriter and David is an actor). We’ve never met before but we chatted as though we knew each other. We’ve met twice in the cinema now and we speak as if we’ve been away for a while and we just picked up again.

‘This is the first time I’ve been ill. I’m getting used to it now but in the beginning the whole thing was alien to me. My spirits were very low when I came in here. After the first movie I saw here I came back to the ward and there were people chatting about their lives and things, the screens were drawn, and I just broke down and cried because I felt so sorry for myself, and one of the nurses said “Are you crying about the film David?” and I said no I was not, I was just being self-indulgent. I couldn’t help it. I just wept because I had seen the world I am out of temporarily, putting everything on hold.

‘Seeing a real cinema in a hospital, and screening the movies you screen, to me it was a revelation. A total joy. It gives you a more uplifting experience than anything you can imagine.’

As well as sharing his story with us, David has also agreed to be one of our new patient ambassadors and as such spoke about his experiences at a recent event. Meeting David and hearing him tell his story really brought home to all our guests the importance of MediCinema and the enormous difference our screenings make to patients’ lives. If you’ve been a MediCinema patient and would like to share your story or find out more about becoming a patient ambassador, we would love to hear from you. Please email: to get in touch. 




- x

MediCinema lets us simply sit and be together, hold hands and enjoy each others company. When my husband visits me on the ward he’s awkward and doesn’t know whether he should hug me or what to say. MediCinema lets us simply sit and be together, hold hands and enjoy each others company without the anxiety of him not knowing how to behave.

- Anna, Newcastle

Going to the cinema in my bed now seems to be the most normal thing in the world. I’ve been in this bed for so long that going to the cinema in it now seems to be the most normal thing in the world, and when I get out of hospital, walking into my local cinema, not being in my bed, with no drips or monitors will be a bit strange

- Angela, London

It was extremely touching to see the positive impact it had on the patients. Our four month old son has had two heart operations at St Thomas’s and the MediCinema provided us all with a welcome break from the stress. It was extremely touching to see the positive impact it had on the other patients too, particularly the children. Long days were broken up for us by MediCinema and it was quite a lump in the throat moment seeing wheelchair and even bed bound kids excitedly arriving to see the latest movie.

- Lee, London