Together for Short Lives
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Disney

Girl jumping in ball pit

Our partnership with The Walt Disney Company UK & Ireland began in 2017 when we were delighted to be selected as one of their four strategic charity partners within their Social Purpose Programme, where they work in partnership with others to help build emotional resilience. Disney bring the power of their brand, stories and characters to inspire and create moments that matter for children and those closest to them, when they need it the most.

Over the past two years of the partnership, we are grateful to have been able to join Disney in the excitement of celebrating huge new releases like Frozen II, Toy Story 4 and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. We have worked together with Disney to:

  • Create Moments that Matter for seriously ill children and those closest to them.
  • Raise awareness of our work and children’s palliative care.
  • Raise funds to directly support children’s hospice services and Together for Short Lives.

Frozen II

In 2019 we were delighted to be Disney’s charitable partner for Frozen II which led to some fantastic opportunities for UK children’s hospices and their families.

Two girls meet Elsa
Two girls get to meet Elsa from Frozen at Disney's Festive celebration at the Botanical Gardens in Birmingham

To create Moments that Matter for over 100 families of children’s hospices across the UK, Disney held a Festive Celebration at the Botanical Gardens in Birmingham. The children enjoyed a sensory journey in the enchanted forest, meeting Anna and Elsa from Frozen II, made real snow with Mickey and Minnie Mouse in their festive jumpers outside the gingerbread house, and took on the carnival crane machine to rescue the Aliens with Woody and Jessie.

Families created memories together that they will cherish forever, like mum Jo who attended with her daughters. “My girls had a truly amazing time and it felt like we were actually in Disneyland,” Jo said. “This is the first time we have been fortunate to attend such an amazing event and we’ve got some wonderful memories and some fantastic gifts.’”

Boy with Mickey Mouse
A young boy meets Mickey Mouse at Disney's Festive celebration

For the first time ever, at the Frozen II Premiere, we asked the children’s hospices to nominate their amazing staff as their ‘Moment Makers’, for all the fantastic work they do to support the families in their care. Our ‘Moment Makers’ and their families were invited to a VIP drinks reception before walking the red carpet and meeting talent from the film and real-life reindeer, truly creating magical memories to cherish together.

Holly Willoughby takes a selfie with a hospice Moment Maker at the premiere of Disney's Frozen IIA
Together for Short Lives Patron Holly Willoughby takes a selfie with a hospice Moment Maker at the premiere of Disney's Frozen II

And as part of the Frozen II campaign, M&S collaborated with Disney in supporting our work, and raised funds through the in-store partnership such as creating a Frozen II limited edition tote bag where all profits were donated to our National Fundraising Scheme that raises money for children’s hospices across the UK.

Family with Olaf and Ana and Elsa
Families met with Frozen's Olaf, Ana and Elsa at the launch of M&S's Frozen II partnership

Raising awareness and creating moments that matter

The launch of Frozen II was just the latest opportunity that the partnership had to create Moments that Matter for seriously ill children and those closest to them. For example, in 2017 the launch of Olaf’s Frozen Adventure saw Disney put on themed Frozen parties in 42 children’s hospices across the country. And during Children’s Hospice Week in 2018, Disney delivered extra special parties at four hospices around the UK, with special Disney guests including Mr and Mrs Incredible, Tinkerbell and Mickey and Minnie Mouse. 2018 also saw Mickey Mouse celebrate his 90th anniversary, and as part of the celebrations three families supported by Together for Short Lives joined some of the world’s most famous faces in a new photo book ‘Mickey Mouse & Me’ by celebrity photographer Rankin. 

Family photograph by Rankin
Photographer Rankin's book to celebrate Mickey Mouse's 90th birthday included shots of seriously ill children and their families

Fundraising

In addition to directly creating magical experiences for children and those that support them, over the last two years Disney has also helped us raise hundreds of thousands of pounds to support both the work of Together for Short Lives and children’s hospices around the country. In 2017 to celebrate the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Disney named Together for Short Lives as the beneficiary of an auction of limited edition Star Wars themed bank notes, and it also partnered with Santander on its Force for Good campaign, which encouraged members of the public to recreate their favourite scenes from the Star Wars franchise – and for each film shared Santander made a charitable donation. Between them this activity raised over £300,000 which we distributed to children’s hospices across the UK, which equates to more than 12,500 hours of specialist hospice care.

And to celebrate the launch of Toy Story 4, in 2019, Disney inspired eBay and YouTube star LadBaby to send Buzz Lightyear into space in a weather balloon, and then auction him on eBay to raise money for children’s hospices. Buzz was sold for £1,580, and eBay who originally pledged to match the closing bid, extended their generous donation to £10,000.

Buzz Lightyear in space
During 2019's Children Hospice Week, YouTube star Lad Baby launched Buzz Lightyear into space using a weather balloon - he then auctioned Buzz and donated the proceeds to Together for Short Lives

Disney has also supported Together for Short Lives to put on special fundraising balls, using the power of its storytelling to transport guests into immersive experiences. This year we put on a Frozen II Ball, and in 2018 a ‘The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’ experience. Between them these events have raised over £750,000 which will enable us to continue our work to support and help families make the most of every moment together.

Elsa and Ana from Frozen 2
Elsa and Ana made a special appearance at the Frozen II Ball

Thank you Disney for all your support.

Get involved

We'd love to talk to you about working together. Please call Beccy Fellows on 0117 989 7827 or email beccy.fellows@togetherforshortlives.org.uk