To celebrate Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity’s 30th anniversary, we are looking back at our marvellous milestones with a special series of videos and blogs. We start off with a powerful interview with the first-ever Roald Dahl Specialist Nurse, Anne Sweeney who was also the very first paediatric specialist epilepsy nurse.
Anne’s post was established by the charity at Alderhey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool after Anne, who was doing a study into children who have febrile convulsions, discovered how traumatising it is for the families and identified the need for specialist support.
Anne relayed her findings to consultant Richard Appleton and he asked her if she would be interested in the specialist nurse role. He approached Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity for funding support after one of his secretaries saw a piece about the charity on the news. Richard managed to speak directly to Roald Dahl’s widow, Felicity Dahl, who very much taken by the need, spoke to the charity’s board and ten day’s later agreed to help establish the post.
Anne describes her over 20-years in the post as a “privilege” and also explains how important she has been to the many families she has supported (and still is). She has been invited to many engagements and birthday parties and in an emotional moment, recalls how one mum thanked her for “bringing her daughter home” as she felt epilepsy had taken her daughter away.
The charity has been innovating in specialist children’s nursing ever since and there are now 79 Roald Dahl Specialist Nurses across the UK including 40 Roald Dahl Epilepsy Specialist Nurses.
Despite its many achievements, everyone at Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity is focused on the future and the urgent need to establish even more Roald Dahl Specialist Nurses. The charity firmly believes that every seriously ill child deserves a Roald Dahl Specialist Nurse and will not stop until this has been achieved.