2 Wish Upon A Star is launching a new Sky Full of Stars app so that those who have lost a child, sibling, relative or friend can dedicate a star in a virtual sky for them.
The charity was set up in 2012 after Rhian Mannings lost her one-year-old baby son George suddenly in an emergency unit in South Wales. Despite the amazing staff who showed support and empathy at the time of his death, she and husband Paul walked out into a dark night with nothing. They heard from nobody and were left alone heartbroken, confused and bewildered to deal with the shock and trauma.
Five days after her son passed away, Paul took his own life, inconsolable and consumed with grief.
The Sky Full of Stars app has been created to give those who have suffered the loss of a loved one a dedicated star in a virtual sky to remember them always. For £10, families and friends can purchase a star, add a name and leave a message that can be viewed wherever they are in the world forever.
The app will be launched on Monday, December 16 – on what would have been Rhian and Paul’s 13th wedding anniversary.
Rhian set up 2 Wish Upon A Star as a result of the sudden death of both George and Paul, and its support is today being implemented in every emergency unit across Wales. There are now immediate support pathways in place in every Emergency Unit and Critical Care Unit. It also works with every coroner, mortuary, organ donation team and Wales Air Ambulance to make sure no family is missed.
This support includes memory boxes, counselling and an immediate support pathway working with health boards and police forces in Wales. The causes of death include Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, accidents, illness and young suicides. More than 520 families have received support since 2015.
Rhian said of the launch of the app “We loved the idea of the app, as family or friends, young or old, these stars are there as a reminder of the love we hold for those no longer with us. It’s an opportunity for anyone who has lost a loved one to dedicate a star to them in a quick, simple way. It’s a lovely way to provide comfort and support to those who are missing a loved one, and a way that siblings or younger children can see and communicate with the person they have lost.
“A sudden death is very difficult to cope with and we wanted to create an app that would help families from all over the world grieve, while also raising much needed funds for the support we give in Wales.”
The app, which is compatible with iOS and Android and was created by Sugar Creative Studio, creates an augmented reality night sky, resplendent with stars, each of which can be made to represent the memory of a loved one.
Once opened it will enable the viewer to see the sky and freely explore it by moving the camera. Once in the VR view each assigned star, when tapped will bring up a modal that contains the name of the person to which the star is dedicated, a special date, and any message.
Each star purchased will be added to a virtual galaxy which users can view globally regardless of location. The user will be directed to a specific star using a search function that will allow them to enter the name of the person to whom it was dedicated.
Rhian added: “I hope the Sky Full of Stars app provides some solace to those who are suffering and to those who miss their loved ones. Our charity is all about supporting people in very difficult times and I hope people love the app as much as I do.”