2083. Nick Hungerford
Nick Hungerford along with his wife Nancy, founded the charity ‘Elizabeth’s Smile’ to help children who lose a parent to terminal illness, following Nick’s own diagnosis in 2019 for Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer.
When Nick learned that his diagnosis was highly likely to be terminal, and inspired by his daughter Elizabeth, Nick wanted to use his experience as a successful fintech entrepreneur to create a charity that would, through technology, provide online resources to support grieving children. Together with his wife Nancy, Nick launched ‘Elizabeth’s Smile’ in the US in January 2022, where he was based, and in the UK in June 2023. The charity aims to provide a range of resources to support and help grieving children. One of the first uses of technology in this area is the development of the Smile Network, where a grieving child can learn about their parent, access their parents’ network of family and friends, share memories and in so doing, the child can continue to receive advice, support and guidance from that network as they continue to grow and develop.
Alongside the Smile Network will be a series of grief guides, a blog and signposting to support services. All of these products and services are based on research, and so the charity is also focused on supporting academic research with researchers and clinicians to improve the knowledge and understanding about the impact on a child of losing a parent and allow the charity to develop more products to fill this unmet need.
Every year, 40,000 children in the UK experience the loss of a parent due to an incurable illness. Without early support, these children often face challenging circumstances and poorer outcomes than their peers. Although it was devastating for Nick to know that he will miss significant milestones in his daughter’s life, he found solace in the knowledge that ‘Elizabeth’s Smile’ will provide guidance and support to her and countless other children in the years to come.
Nick passed away on the 6th July, aged 43.
In a personal letter to Nick, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:
“You have shown incredible fortitude and strength during your own diagnosis to create a network that will help families and loved ones share memories, guidance and advice with grieving children.
“It is a truly wonderful legacy that you are leaving for your daughter Elizabeth, and for so many other children.”
Nick’s wife Nancy and the team at ‘Elizabeth’s Smile’ said:
“We are deeply honoured to receive this recognition of Nick and his work with ‘Elizabeth’s Smile’. Nick himself expressed the hope that his legacy would empower those who have been historically underserved.”
See more about the ‘Elizabeth’s Smile’