“What was Daddy’s favourite ice cream?”
19 December 2023
19 December 2023
The MND Association’s support for children, young people and families affected by MND has grown rapidly in the past few years, meaning we can support more people in different ways.
A key part of this support is helping families to create and capture precious memories together. The MND Association’s memory boxes have been designed to support with this – and their creation can be traced back to a question one family found difficult to answer.
Laura’s role at the MND Association is to support children, young people and families, when they are faced with a diagnosis of motor neurone disease (MND).
Children and young people up to the age of 25 across England, Wales and Northern Ireland can access this breadth of support from the Association at no cost.
Here, Laura talks about the development of the Association’s memory boxes which help young people create and capture precious memories.
“Memories are incredibly important for young people who are impacted by MND. That’s why we’ve created dedicated boxes for children and young people, filled with activities to help them capture special memories and treasured facts, stories and information about their loved one to keep safe, forever.
"We decided to create our memory boxes because one young person asked, “What was Daddy’s favourite ice cream?” and although the family thought they knew the answer, they could never ask Daddy what his favourite ice-cream was. They said out of all the things that had happened to them along the MND diagnosis, not being able to ask that single question for their young daughter, really bothered them.
"We provide a box for children aged between four and ten, and another for children aged ten and over. We’re also about to expand that support by offering a new tailored box for teenagers and young adults aged between 16 and 25, after recognising they would benefit from different emotional and wellbeing support.
"Inside our boxes are craft activities, ideas to increase coping skills, and ways to collect memories, big or small. They can provide an opportunity for the young person, to keep relationships with the person with MND, and are a tool and a vehicle for allowing young people to talk about any of their fears or worries.
"When we created these boxes, we wanted to give the families the power to do it themselves. The power to use this box as a toolkit for creating memories, but to keep relationships. The box actively encourages them to talk to their loved one, to find out funny stories and little bits of information. There is nothing more comforting than seeing your loved ones handwriting, especially when they are no longer with you. The comfort and emotional resilience that these boxes bring is vast. Sometimes families don’t know how to start, but the box gives them the help to start and do it themselves."