In honour of both their mothers, Maxine Attard (nee Aquilina) and Angie Amato have brought three years of sunshine to children and young people in Mater Dei’s Rainbow Ward
This November, Jays of Sunshine celebrates three years since its launch by Maxine Attard and Angie Amato.
Having both lost their mothers to cancer, both women wanted to give back to the community in their honour, while also helping children following their mutual roots working in a nursery. They set up Jays of Sunshine in 2018, named in homage to their mothers Jackie and Josette. Now, for three years and counting, Jays of Sunshine is making dreams come true for children and young people battling cancer in Mater Dei’s Rainbow Ward.
“We are so proud and happy to celebrate three years of Jays of Sunshine,” says Mrs Attard. “Losing our mums has created a special bond between us and we understand just how valuable time with loved ones is – especially during such a difficult time. To be able to help realise these children’s wishes, however we can, is so rewarding. In helping them make memories, we have many to cherish as well!”
As well as organising themed parties and events, the Jays have offered a ray of hope in difficult times to many at the Rainbow Ward. With their help, a young Peppa Pig fan and his family took an all-expenses-paid trip to Peppa Pig World in the UK and a boy and his mother watched a Juventus game in Turin thanks to a private sponsor with a season ticket who generously let him go in his place. Meanwhile, a young car enthusiast enjoyed a ride in an American Muscle Car, an animal lover took a trip to London Zoo with his parents, and a Manchester United fan went to the UK with his family for a tour around Old Trafford stadium.
“There have been so many highlights through the years,” says Ms Amato. “We have loved every moment. One boy’s wish was to have a PlayStation®5 console as soon as it was released, but we couldn’t find one as they were on order worldwide. Luckily a very kind soul on the waiting list gave up his spot and we bought the console from him. Another incredible boy had lost his eyesight to cancer but loves to play the piano, so we bought him his very own digital piano. That was a remarkable day!”
Although the COVID-19 pandemic meant that the Jays had to halt events, they nonetheless delivered pancakes, organised food and decorations for parties in the Rainbow Ward, and made sure that all the children’s gifts kept being delivered.
Now, to celebrate their third anniversary, the Jays have prepared a surprise gift box for all the children at the Ward filled with gifts, goodies, and vouchers that the whole family can enjoy.
“Thank you to all sponsors, businesses, and anyone who has donated or contributed in any way over the last three years, as well as to Angele, Rennie and all the staff at Rainbow Ward,” concludes Mrs Attard. “It has been an incredible journey so far, and we hope that we can carry on being a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day for these children and their families.”
For more information or to get involved in any way, visitors are invited to email Jays of Sunshine at firstname.lastname@example.org or find us on Facebook or on Instagram at jaysofsunshine_mt.