Before I started writing I trained as a children's nurse. If I'm being honest, I wasn't very good at it. I'm not a natural nurse, I think it's because I care too much. Every time I had to hold a child down so that the doctors could take samples of blood I had to distance myself from the screaming child in front of me, and this I found very hard. As a parent I wanted to see all children running around with chocolate coated faces or laughing because someones said the 'bum' word, not screaming because they were having blood taken or being put under an anaesthetic for an operation. Although it was necessary, I wanted to see the children smiling so I would read to them in the hope that it would, at least, give them the opportunity to be a child once again and not a patient. It was always gratefully received, although I wasn't very popular with the staff.
When I made the decision to write I could think of no other genre that I'd rather write. I enjoy being silly. I can write about farts or snot and can get away with it but, above of all of this, it gives me the chance to make a child's life a little nicer, even if it's just for the length of a book. A child's life is fairly rubbish if you think about it. They are trying to make sense of a world that doesn't really make sense.They are plunged into school where they are tested and yelled at, given sprouts and peas to eat which taste rather like slime. If I was given the chance to be a child again I'd run a mile.
Children also get ill. Sometimes they catch a cold which leaves trails of bogeys hanging from their nostrils which, although gross, is fine. Sometimes they get illnesses which no child should ever get. Illnesses where the cure is worse then the illness itself. Quite recently I discovered that the child of a friend is seriously ill. She was diagnosed with leukaemia before Christmas and is in need of a bone marrow transplant. Aillidh's siblings are not a match so her only hope is a bone marrow transplant from a match. I can only see pictures of this very beautiful 8 year old. Her hair has fallen out in clumps, she's pale and exhausted yet she still smiles. I can't send her one of my books as they have yet to be published (jury's out on this one). I can't give her my bone marrow as I'm not able to donate. I was on the register for 6 years until last year but was removed due to ill health. All I can do is ask as many people as I can to be tested in the hope that there's a match for her somewhere.
Everyone has the ability to make a child smile again. I'm asking you all to make your difference a bit of spit. All you have to do is register and spit in a bottle. It's that simple.
If you wish to join the register then you can do it here. If you're not a match for Aillidh then you may save the life of someone else, and that's amazing. http://www.anthonynolan.org/