Before starting my official first day at COSMIC I attended the Christmas Carol Concert. Even from that first evening, I could sense straight away that the charity I was about to join was very special. The unity and atmosphere was un-parallel to anything I had experienced before, it felt like being welcomed into a large family! I couldn't stop saying “wow everyone knows each other!” The warmth, the kindness, past patients, families, friends, nurses, volunteers, supporters, police men, all together singing Carols, chatting together, eating mince pies, delicious Christmas cake….more mince pies, smiles and laughter all round! I can safely say I was very excited to see what was in store for me.
On my first day at COSMIC, Natalie took me up to visit the PICU and started explaining more about COMIC’s history and how the charity has strengthened remarkably throughout the years. Walking through PICU was both fascinating and moving. Not being use to a hospital setting, in particular an intensive care unit meant that on the one hand I was intrigued at the incredible equipment, the hustle and bustle and hard-working nature of the nurses, doctors and specialists. On the other hand, it was difficult to see the reason why they were all there, seeing patients being cared for and their parents by their side or in the parent’s room pulled on my heart strings and created a lasting impact on me. However it meant that as Natalie and I walked back downstairs into the COSMIC office, I felt I had a strong sense of the importance in COSMIC’s work and the realities that PICU patients and families have to face every day.
From that first day I commenced my training under the guidance of Natalie and support from Vicky. I started learning about everything from inputting financial data, sorting the Hotel Vouchers, writing tweets, storing the Virgin Money Giving and Just Giving page information and my favourite role of all - getting the pleasure of answering back to the incredible letters that COSMIC receives! All the letters, notes, cards, cheques, photographs and pictures sent are truly remarkable.
The run up towards Christmas was very exciting, especially as the COSMIC office was turned into a full on Christmas grotto. I don’t think I've ever seen so many Christmas presents and food goodies all in one place! The sheer amount of donations was mind boggling! To top it all off, the COSMIC team were transported in a Christmas-present-filled Police Van to the Lancaster Hotel where the Christmas Party was held. It was definitely an experience to remember and not a person’s average day! The unity and success of the Christmas Party once again highlighted the uniquely special nature of a COSMIC event.
During January the atmosphere at COSMIC was electrifying as the charity gets ready to face one of its biggest years yet. 2014 marks COSMIC’s 20th Birthday, so as we get ready to reflect, to be proud of how far we've come, to be unconditionally thankful to all of you and to all the staff at PICU, it means that (that’s right you've guessed it) we will not be celebrating our 20th Birthday in a usual way! Get ready to join in on celebrations as you've never seen them before! Along with all the fantastic annual events such as the COSMIC walk, the Birthday Party, the Virgin London Marathon, Bupa 10,000m, NightRider, Brownsea and Prudential RideLondon, 2014 is also a year about celebrating what it means to be TOUGH. A year to celebrate the sheer strength and courage of every single PAST, PRESENT and FUTURE PICU patient.
To every parent, family, friend, supporter, volunteer, fundraiser, nurse, doctor, specialist, and trustee, we are forever grateful for your support. I would like to end by expressing once again what a privilege it is to be an Intern at such a special charity. COSMIC is unique. Perhaps then my initial reaction was not so far off after all. I have not entered the world of an incredible charity….I have entered into an extended family. A family that bonds together through thick and thin, through the bad news and good news. A family that work together extremely hard to continue making a difference to so many children’s lives.
If you are interested in becoming an intern for COSMIC, please see our current position advertised here http://jobs.thirdsector.co.uk/job/362328/fundraising-coordinator-internship/