Star Wars legend Mark Hamill said that being an actor and attending the premiere of his latest film were “trivial” compared with meeting patients at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).
Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker, was visibly moved on a visit to the hospital where he met dozens of patients and staff including four-year-old Jake, from Barnet, who recently had a kidney transplant.
As he handed out presents on the wards he called on readers of the Evening Standard to donate to our Give to GOSH appeal.
He said: “One of the greatest things I am given, because of the profession I am in, is the ability to give back. It feels wonderful. It can be harrowing emotionally because your heart goes out to these children but it’s also very uplifting. You walk away thinking that being an actor is so trivial compared to helping needy children.”
Hamill said he chose to go to the hospital rather than appearing on the Graham Norton Show, which some of the Star Wars cast were filming during his visit on Thursday. “Rather than going on TV chat shows I would rather give back somehow by going to hospitals. I want to do more of that.”
Hamill spent time playing with three-year-old Finlay, who has had a kidney transplant, and his twin brother Oscar. Their mother Chloe said: “He was lovely and down to earth. He was happy to let Oscar pretend to be a doctor.”
Give to GOSH
Calling on readers to donate to GOSH, Hamill said: “It’s good for the soul to give, even the smallest amount. It’s the perfect example of basic humanity.”
He added: “Star Wars movies are meant to be a couple of hours of diversion from reality, and we need that. They are optimistic and hopeful stories. But in comparison to what we can do with this [the hospital], last night [the Star Wars premiere] is very trivial.”
Hamill met Jake, who was diagnosed with a rare inherited kidney disease and had just come out of intensive care. His mother Samantha said: “It was great to meet Mark - we always watch the films.”
Maya, an 11-year-old patient on Eagle Ward for kidney patients, said: “My dad is a really big fan and was very jealous that he wasn’t in the hospital with me today.”
Cole, who is being treated for Addison’s disease, was given a Star Wars poster signed by Hamill with the words: “The force is with you Cole.” He said: “It was great that he took time out to visit the hospital. It can be quite boring and it really breaks the time up. I had a picture with him and put it on Snapchat and now everyone is talking about it. When I go home I will watch all the films from the beginning.”
Hamill visited patients and their families as part of the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity’s long-standing partnership with Disney.
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Adapted from an article originally published in the London Evening Standard on 22 December 2015.
Photo: Alex Lentati