Nellie the Elephant at Great Ormond Street Hospital

In the run up to World Storytelling Day on March 20, we'll be sharing stories by classmates of GOSH patient Ezara-Mai, inspired by the ward names at the hospital, which are named after animals. This week, the School Council (2015 - 2016) share a tale about Nellie the athletic Elephant!

Twelve-year-old Ezara-Mai comes to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) for treatment for juvenile dermatomyositis. She is also an ambassador for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, helping to increase awareness of GOSH and raise money. You can find out more about her story here.

​Enjoy the story!

While the children slept, the toys were having races. 

There was the race around the toy cupboard, which Jumping Jack always easily won. He'd been champion at that since he arrived and hadn't stopped bragging about it. 'Ooooh, look at me. I'm the best.' The other toys were getting a bit fed up of him to be honest. 

Then there was the bed race. Speedy and Zoom always did well in that, each desperate to beat the other. Typical brothers! The course took them up one side of the ward and back down the other, racing under the beds the whole way. And because it was a hospital there were no cobwebs to get in the way. No monsters either. Not here. 

The final race was an endurance event. Ten laps of the whole ward! This year there were 4 racers. An action man, tough looking despite a missing arm. A barbie doll wearing a stylish sports outfit. Now there was a toy who loved herself. Third was a small plastic bear. At least they all thought he looked like a bear. It was a bit hard to tell. The 'bear' didn't mind. He quite liked being mysterious. 

Then there was Nellie. And yes, she was an elephant. 'But you're an elephant!' Barbie had exclaimed when Nellie had entered the race. Nellie had looked at herself in the mirror. Two big ears? Check! Big fat body? Check! Small tail? Check! Long trunk? Check! Polka dot fur? Ahh well. Close enough. 

'Yes, I'm an elephant. And I'm going to win this race.' 

But she didn't. She didn't win because elephants aren't really designed for racing. And because she was big and slow. And because Barbie cheated by tripping her up. On lap three Nellie was still just about keeping pace with Barbie, while the bear and action man were way ahead. Then Barbie had stuck out her foot and Nellie had fallen and tumbled and rolled. And hurt her leg. 

The other toys had rushed out to help her. She couldn't walk, but because this was a hospital they knew a thing or two about medicine and quickly put a splint on her leg. But she still couldn't move and because she was too heavy for them to lift, they left her sitting in the middle of the floor. Sad and all alone. 

Which is where the children found her in the morning. And where Nellie realised that while she wasn't very good at racing she was very, very good at cheering children up. 'Look at the polka dot elephant with a splint on its leg,' shouted one boy. And he started to laugh. And then a girl joined in. And then another. Soon, everyone in the ward was laughing and joking. 

One of the nurses picked Nellie up and put her on a shelf where everyone could see her. 'Who needs doctors and nurses when we've got characters like you,' she said. 

Inside, Nellie couldn't stop smiling.

Ezara-Mai is printing out the stories and collecting them into a book, which she will offer locally for a suggested donation to the charity. If you’re interested in raising money to help seriously ill children at GOSH, take a look at some of our fundraising ideas.