|Posted: October 10, 2007, 5:33 am - IP Logged|
UK LOTTERY FUNDING
Being unwell as a young person can be frustrating and isolating, as Vikki George found when she became ill with ME as a teenager. Confined to her bed, she came across a vital lifeline when well-wishers from an ME charity started sending her cards. It became the catalyst for the setting up of a successful website that has since put a smile back onto the faces of scores of children.
"When I became bed-bound I couldn't do anything, but getting the post became the highlight of my day," says Vikki. "When I improved, I thought about setting up something similar." She and two friends - who also have ME - set up Postpals in 2003, and £12,275 worth of lottery funding paid for the start-up costs. The site postpals puts people in touch with children with serious illnesses, via an email, letter or parcel.
For something that can take just minutes - and in the case of email, is completely free - the impact the correspondence has on the lives of children is enormous. "Most people don't realise what a difference it makes," says Vikki. Testimonies on the site from parents bring this home: "Amy always looks on the mat every morning to see if she has any post and loves opening her mail," writes one mother. "Post Pals reminds us that people really care - not just the staff at the hospital and family."
The young women behind the site are still hard at work, and their vision and tenacity has won them several awards. Vikki is self-effacing about their success, preferring to focus instead on the site's users. "We've been blown away by people's generosity. We thought the site might catch on, but we didn't have a clue how big it would be."