Turning hardship into happiness: Mandurah boy bringing smiles to the faces of children in hospital

Nine-year-old Connor Standen is helping to bring smiles to the faces of children in hospital, delivering packages of colouring and reading books, crayons and toys. Photo: Kaylee Meerton.
Nine-year-old Connor Standen is helping to bring smiles to the faces of children in hospital, delivering packages of colouring and reading books, crayons and toys. Photo: Kaylee Meerton.

A Mandurah boy is helping to bring smiles to the faces of children in hospital after his own health battle.

Following a number of trips to Peel Health Campus himself, Connor Standen decided to make a difference to other sick kids by delivering packages of colouring and reading books, crayons and toys to the local hospital.

His mother, Rebecca Paice, said Connor had been inspired to help others after a long personal battle with asthma, resulting in many hours spent bored in a hospital bed.

"He probably doesn't remember but when he was about three, he had an asthma attack and was admitted to hospital and for about four years after that, he was admitted every winter for at least a few days," she said.

"Probably the second time we went in, one of the nurses at Peel Health Campus came up to him with a little pack and she said she did it for most of the kids in there.

"Trying to have a child sit there when they need to sit still, the packs were a god send for him and ever since then we've been doing it, because the kids get so bored."

Connor, who is just nine years old, said it made him happy to brighten the days of children in hospital, especially because he knows exactly how they feel.

"I think it's really nice for the kids," he said.

"When I was in hospital I was so bored.

"Colouring books would've been good but I really wish I had computer games."

For five years now, Connor and his mum have been picking the books and toys together and delivering them to children admitted at Peel Health Campus.

Since then, Ms Paice said they had noticed their small contribution to the local hospital was "barely filling the gap".

In an effort to try and spread the word to encourage more donations, the pair started a Facebook page, Kids A&E Care packages.

Ms Paice said they had received plenty of interest in their project after sharing the page, including from women in Victoria and Queensland who are keen to donate on behalf of Connor to their home towns' hospitals.

Hospitals are bad enough for adults but for kids who are sick and bored, it's awful and this isn't much but it makes a difference.

Rebecca Paice

"I never expected it to get quite so big - I just wanted more people to bring in donations and increase our supplies," she said.

"They're not expensive, about $6 a pack, but it's the quantities we need.

"Hospitals are bad enough for adults but for kids who are sick and bored, it's awful and this isn't much but it makes a difference."

Connor is hoping the popularity from the Facebook page will help him expand his deliveries to Rockingham or even Perth hospitals.

He is also working with his mum to get local schools on board to give students the opportunity to donate their leftover school supplies to use in the packages.

For more information, to donate or get in touch, visit the Kids A&E Care packages Facebook page.