Prince Harry Personally Video Chats With Parents of Seriously Ill Children to Discuss Coronavirus Concerns

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Prince Harry is learning more about the challenges families caring for seriously ill children at home are facing amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

ET has learned that over Easter Weekend, the Duke of Sussex conducted a personal video call with some of those families, with the support of WellChild, a national charity. WellChild CEO Colin Dyer and nurse Rachel Gregory were also on the call.

As seen in the 30-minute video chat, which was shared to WellChild's YouTube page, Harry heard about the various challenges social isolation has had on this group, along with the fears these families (who depend on carers coming into their homes to help their children) are having amid the coronavirus. He also learned how charities like WellChild are coping with increased demand for their support, while fighting to survive due to fundraising activities and events being canceled or postponed.

"It's scary," said Craig Hatch, who cares for Fraser, his 21-year-old son who suffers from cerebral palsy, epilepsy, neuro muscular scoliosis, osteoporosis, chronic lung disorder and Type 1 diabetes. "We are frightened because we know that if the virus gets in our house and if Fraser contracts the virus, the implications are quite severe."

"There is a lot of information out there, but not a lot for vulnerable families and certainly not for children with complex medical needs," added Leanne Cooper, whose 13-year-old daughter, Sophie, has cerebral palsy, dystonia, scoliosis and multiple complex medical needs. "If we're in a position where carers can't come to work because they might be symptomatic, there is no way we would survive when Sophie needs care seven nights a week, seven days a week, 24 hours a day. It is terrifying."

After hearing more stories from the parents of these seriously ill children, Harry -- who has been Patron of WellChild for more than a decade -- offered them a message of hope.

"Full respect to every single one of you. This is hard on everyone, but it is especially hard on you," he said. "I know that WellChild are doing everything they can to support you. Hopefully, through this video we can make it more clear and obvious to Government and everybody else that you are in the 'vulnerable' bracket and WellChild needs more help."

"It is really nice to see you all smiling and happy," he added. "Keep going, keep the morale up, keep busy, keep being creative, dare yourself to try new hobbies and I hope to see you all again very, very soon!"

In addition to the video call, Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, also recently donated more than $112,000 to the U.K. charity Feeding Britain, which works to alleviate and eliminate hunger in the country. The money was generated from their royal wedding broadcast on May 19, 2018. A spokesperson for the couple confirmed the donation via a statement to the press on Wednesday.

"They are delighted to be able to ensure this money is donated to such a great cause," the statement read. 

ET reported earlier this week that Harry and Meghan have been living a very private life in Los Angeles with their 11-month-old son, Archie, following their official exit as senior members of the royal family last month. Though the couple has been secluded amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, they have seemingly been in touch with some of their old pals. 

Renowned conservationist Jane Goodall claims she has spoken with the Duke of Sussex in a new interview with the Radio Times, saying via The Guardian, "I don't know how his career is going to map out, but yes, I’ve been in touch, though I think he’s finding life a bit challenging just now."

Hear more in the video below.


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