Kate praises 'amazing and life-changing' work of children's hospices

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The Duchess of Cambridge has praised the "amazing and life-changing" work of children's hospices as she highlighted the importance of spending quality time together as a family.

In a letter of support for Children's Hospice Week, Kate, in her role as patron of EACH - East Anglia's Children's Hospices - said hospices and palliative care charities offered a lifeline to parents and youngsters facing the most "difficult times imaginable".

Kate - mother to Prince George and Princess Charlotte - said: "Spending quality time together is such an important aspect of family life, but for those caring for children with life-limiting conditions, even this simple act can prove to be incredibly challenging.

"The practical realities of providing round-the-clock care mean even activities that so many of us take for granted can be just too complicated.

"The amazing and life-changing support provided by children's hospices and palliative care charities across the UK offers a lifeline to families under incredible pressure.

"This support gives these families the space they need to simply spend time together, which is so important in the most difficult times imaginable."

Children's Hospice Week, which runs from May 23-29, aims to raise awareness of the work of the UK's 53 children's hospices, and the support offered by children's palliative care charities. 

Around 49,000 children and young people in the UK are living with a life-shortening condition, impacting on around 100,000 parents and an estimated 50,000 siblings, according to the charity Together for Short Lives.

Barbara Gelb, chief executive of Together for Short Lives, said: "Children's Hospice Week this year is all about showing what life is really like for families caring for seriously ill children.

"Caring for a child 24/7 can be exhausting, that's why short breaks are so essential and can relieve some of the pressure on families and help them spend time together.

"Children's palliative care services across the UK provide vital lifeline support to thousands of families so I hope the public will be inspired to support Children's Hospice Week this year and help the 49,000 children and their families spend quality time together as a family."

The Duchess is known to be passionate about supporting children's hospices and chose EACH as one of her first four royal patronages after becoming an HRH.