Make a Smile
1152. Luke Morgan
Luke Morgan, from Cardiff, is a medical student who set up the volunteer initiative ‘Make a Smile’ to bring joy to children in hospital wards by dressing up as beloved children’s characters.
Seeing the difference moments of interaction and play can have for the wellbeing of children spending long periods of time in hospital, Luke mobilised a group of fellow students and reached out to local charities and hospitals on how to provide relief. With support from ‘Cardiff University Students Union’, the initiative ensures all volunteers are DBS checked and undergo mandatory training before attending wards, where they dress up as figures such as Peter Pan, Rapunzel, Superman and Elsa from Disney’s ‘Frozen’. Luke has currently inspired over 200 students at Cardiff University and schools in the city to interact with more than 3,000 children, and is exploring how to expand the initiative further across Wales and the rest of the UK.
In a personal letter to Luke, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“‘Make a Smile’ is bringing joy to thousands of children on hospital wards, brightening their days when they need it most. It is testament to your remarkable passion and dedication to improving the wellbeing of young patients that you have also inspired hundreds of your fellow students to take part with you. I wish you the very best as you expand the initiative further.”
“It’s an honour to be receiving this award but my work with ‘Make a Smile’ wouldn’t be possible without the support of the committee and fantastic staff of a number of charities within Cardiff. Being able to bring happiness to children, even for a short time, is only a small thing but can make a massive difference so I encourage everyone to get involved in bringing smiles to children if you can! I look forward to taking ‘Make a Smile’ onto bigger things.”