‘Gerry Giraffe Goes To Hospital’, a children’s illustrated book written by mother of two Valerie Judge during lockdown, demystifies the experience of child patients. The full colour book has been launched in aid of the Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation. ‘Gerry Giraffe Goes To Hospital’ is aimed at reassuring sick children and their siblings about hospital medical procedures. Valerie Judge, a management consultant who has returned to her artistic roots, wrote and illustrated ‘Gerry Giraffe Goes to Hospital’ during the pandemic lockdown.
The book is inspired by Valerie’s daughter Anna Rose McKeever who trained in CHI Crumlin and is now a cardiac children’s nurse at Great Ormond Street hospital in London and knows all about the anxieties children may have when going to hospital. Anna-Rose has first-hand knowledge of procedures facing some sick children. She herself underwent treatment for Hodgkins lymphoma cancer last year. Happily, Anna-Rose is now all clear and back to work in Great Ormond Street.
The full colour illustrated book is on sale from Amazon at €20, with proceeds from the sales going to the Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation. Jack & Jill child, Ava Kenny who is aged six and from Athy in Kildare, kindly helped out at the photoshoot to launch the book at the Gutter Bookshop in Dalkey, in Dublin, where it is also on sale. In his first illustrated adventure, Gerry Giraffe suffers from that old ailment ‘a bendy neck’ and has to visit hospital, where he undergoes all sorts of tests and procedures, such as an x-ray and a scan. The book is designed to help children understand the process of being a patient attending hospital, sometimes more than once. It is also a handy illustrative explainer for siblings at home who may be wondering what’s going on.
“Attending hospital can be daunting for any patient and that applies even more so for children,” said author and artist Valerie Judge. “Procedures such as x-rays or scans can be bewildering or even sometimes frightening,” she added. “So, I thought why not draw a fun story to explain the mysteries of it all?” “In ‘Gerry Giraffe Goes To Hospital’, Gerry and his bendy neck meet Nurse Anna and her friends at the hospital. He learns about scans and x-rays, and he gets a spin in a wheelie chair. He may not be completely fixed on his first visit, but he is well looked after, and looks forward to his next visit.” “Anna-Rose pointed out to me that in actual fact, it is often the family left worrying at home who could do with a bit of an explainer as to what is going on in the hospital. I really hope this book and Gerry’s adventures will go a long way to help those families. We’ve been touched by serious illness in our own family, and that is why all profits from this edition are going to the Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation,” continued Valerie.
The Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation is an Irish children’s charity that funds and delivers specialist home nursing and end-of-life care for children from birth to six years of age who have highly complex and life-limiting medical conditions. Each €18 raised funds one hour of home nursing care. For Jack & Jill parents, this ‘Gift of Time’ means precious moments to participate in the normal things that most of us take for granted – whether it’s spending some quality time with a sibling, grabbing a quick coffee with a friend, taking a walk or simply having a nap to recharge.
Carmel Doyle, CEO of the Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation, commented, “We are delighted that ‘Gerry Giraffe’ will be helping children across Ireland and further afield to understand what might happen if they need to visit the hospital, which can be a very daunting experience. Our mission at Jack & Jill is to empower parents to care for their child at home, because there is no care like home care. However, sometimes, sick children need to visit hospital for procedures or checkups, and it’s important to help the child or their siblings, cousins and friends, to navigate this experience. We are thrilled that Valerie chose to support Jack & Jill with this wonderful book and encourage anyone with young children in their life to purchase it.”