Sunday 28 April
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Football fanatic Sean McDermott has just been announced as our Charity Champion of the week!
Sean who is hosting a charity football match in honour of Paul Swift – a close friend of his who passed away in October 2008 – hopes to raise a fantastic £5,000 for our heart wards.
This fantastic amount could cover the cost of refurbishing a family room – giving our patients the chance to enjoy the fun of normal playtimes in a bright, safe, welcoming space.
Sean decided to support the heart wards after Rudy, the baby of his close family friends, Jeanette and Rupert, underwent complex heart surgery at the hospital.
Sean told our fundraising team that he had heard from Jeanette and Rupert that they received outstanding support when Rudy was being treated at the hospital. He said that they gave him the incentive to make him want to do something to support the hospital and its patients and that’s why the match will raise money for Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
(Rudy after he was first treated at Birmingham Children’s Hospital and how he is now).
The match – which is being held at the Hollyfield’s Centre Club in Edington – is due to kick off at 2.30pm on Sunday 28 April. Spectators will see Paul’s amateur football enthusiast friends take on the Aston Villa Lions and Legends.
Everyone is welcome to attend the match so please go a long to support Sean and his friends. There will be food and refreshments available at the club bar and there will also be a bouncy castle, face painter and freestyle footballer.
(Sean and his team)
Hi everyone, today we have re-launched the Birmingham Children’s Hospital blog.
We really like hearing about all of your experiences at the hospital and we wanted to create a space for our supporters and patients to share their stories and news.
Our revamped blog will feature posts from our staff, patients, fundraisers and supporters and focus around the Birmingham Children’s Hospital community.
Because we have thousands of fundraisers who repeatedly go out of their way to make a real difference for our children and young people, we want to show everyone how grateful we are for their support. So, each week we will name one of our loyal supporters as a Charity Champion and highlight the good work they are doing for our young patients.
This week we have chosen Tazmin Clarke as our Charity Champion.
Twelve – year-old Tazmin – who has been growing her hair since she was a little girl – recently had over 27 inches of her hair chopped off to raise money for our Paediatric Intensive Care Unit where our really poorly patients are treated.
Tazmin had nearly all of her two foot long locks cut off to raise the funds and is now sporting a stylish bob. Tazmin, who confided to us that her new look will take some getting used to, is thrilled to be able to donate her hair to a charity that makes wigs for children with cancer.
Tazmin who attends the Bewdley School in Worcestershire, was inspired to start fundraising for the ward after she found out about two year old Charlie Harris-Beard – who lost his fight against cancer at the hospital earlier this year. Tazmin read about Charlie’s story in her local paper and decided that she wanted to support other children like him.
Our fundraising team are all really impressed by Tazmin’s courage, even though she insists she isn’t the brave one and it is the children at the hospital who show real bravery.
The event raised over £550 and Tazmin is still hoping for further donations. To donate visit mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/tazminclarke1.
Birmingham Children’s Hospital are delighted to announce that Bullring have chosen to support the hospital as their charity of the year, which will last until February 2013.
As partner to one of the UK’s most visited shopping centres, Birmingham Children’s Hospital will have the exclusive opportunity to host events at Bullring taking advantage of the centre’s high footfall. Teams from the centre will also take part in a series of fundraising activities throughout the year to help raise money for the charity.
It is a very special year for the hospital as it marks 150 years of ground-breaking medical care for children, and there was nowhere more appropriate than Bullring to launch the birthday celebrations to the general public.
The launch party was a 2-day extravaganza, with patients, their families and the general public entertained by a spectacular array of acts such as the Dhol Blasters, Kenny School of Irish Dance, Sampad, The Birmingham Pussycats and line dancers! To add to the creative explosion, there was Balloonatic (from Britain’s Got Talent), stilt walkers and Alice in Wonderland characters all paraded throughout Rotunda Square, Bullring. Birmingham City & Aston Villa football legends, Michael Johnson and Ian Taylor along with a special appearance by ITV’s `This Morning` Alison Hammond were also present.
But the highlights of the entire launch were having the patients who had been treated at the hospital to showcase their physical health and achievements since being treated.
Louise McCathie, Head of Fundraising said: “We are delighted to have the support of Bullring in our 150th year. Bullring, just like our hospital, has its roots firmly embedded in Birmingham and we are so proud of this heritage. We are both two very distinct and iconic landmarks offering state of the art facilities. It is going to be a fantastic year made even better with the support of Bullring!”
Tim Walley, General Manager at Bullring, commented: “We’re proud to be supporting Birmingham Children’s Hospital as our chosen charity partner of the year. It’s a local charity and an extremely important facility for not just Birmingham but the UK too. Throughout the next 12 months we’ll be hosting a series of awareness and fundraising events at the centre as well as offering our support to the hospital through community-driven initiatives.”
To support the Birmingham Children’s Hospital Anniversary Appeal and find out more visit http://www.bch.org.uk or call 0121 333 8506 to receive a fundraising pack.
Dear Dr Stanhope
I would just like drop you line with reference to the level of service your staff provided when my daughter had an accident at the end of last month.
The levels of service, attitude, skill, helpfulness and friendliness of every single person we encountered was outstanding. From the initial booking in at A&E, the nurses and doctor that worked with my daughter, they were all without a doubt world class, highly efficient and so helpful and friendly. They had clear compassion and understanding even though my daughters issue was a fracture rather than anything life-threatening.
We went home that evening with glowing reports for the staff.
The following day we had an appointment to come the fracture clinic.
The service again was world class. Highly efficient. The lady on reception was friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. The doctor was again helpful, friendly and clearly highly trained. We were sent to have a new cast put on my daughters’ leg. No waiting for hours. Within 2 minutes we were in the room and her leg was being looked at and prepared for the cast. Two gentlemen were working with us and they are probably the best staff I have ever met at an NHS hospital. They did an outstanding job with her cast but what really hit home was the understanding this was an upset 5 year old girl. They were terrific. So helpful. They spent time with her just talking to her, making her smile and relieving the anxiety she had.
All your staff we encountered that evening and the following day are a credit to the hospital. I just wanted to say a huge thank-you to them and yourself. You clearly must spend time and effort on the small details and I can tell you from experience that they are working. A smile goes a long long way. Understanding goes a long long way. Compassion goes a long long way and every single person we encountered had it all.
In the following month I will be making a donation to one of the hospital funds. I’m not a rich man but I will give whatever I can. Your hospital deserves it. Well done.
A grateful dad
Following last year’s hugely successful festival which raised over £38,000 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital End of Life Care Team, the competition for businesses across Brindleyplace and the city is back. For the 3rd year running, the 13th annual Brindleyplace Dragonboat Festival on Saturday 16th June is supporting Birmingham Children’s Hospital. This year is particularly special as the hospital celebrates its 150th birthday.
Sponsored for the second year by Deutsche Bank, 22 teams will be racing up the Fazeley Canal in traditional 40 ft long Chinese dragonboats from the Pitcher and Piano to the winning post at the NIA. As expected, because of the festival’s fantastic reputation as one of the most closely fought battles on the business calendar, many of the places have been taken up, including last year’s winners, West Midlands Fire Service and the best fancy dress winners, No. 5 Chambers.
Matthew Brunning from No. 5 Chambers said ‘We all had a fantastic day and were delighted to defend our fancy dress crown. The competition last year was really impressive but teams will have to get even better if they want to topple us – we’ve already had some fantastic ideas for themes. We don’t even tell the crew until a few days before, so I’m not telling you all now…!’
Each team is expected to raise at least £1500 with all funds going to Birmingham Children’s Hospital’s cancer unit. Alongside the high action race, the festival offers a fun day out for the whole family including arts and activity stalls, a craft market, Chinese Lion Dancers, live music and brmb (soon to be re-named Free Radio) are hosting the day.
Kate Fittall, Destination Marketing Manager, GVA said ‘Last year was a roaring success and probably our best event yet. We have a fantastic team pulling this together from Brindleyplace, Deutsche Bank and of course Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Brindleyplace are pleased that Deutsche Bank are going to sponsor the event for at least another five years. There is a great atmosphere on the day with businesses from Brindleyplace and surrounding areas competing but the best thing about it is that every single penny raised will be donated to Birmingham Children’s Hospital again. Please come and cheer the teams on and give money to an amazing cause so we can smash last year’s figure!”
Shahaji Begum, Business Development Consultant for Birmingham Children’s Hospital explained how delighted they were, once again, to be the chosen charity for the Dragonboat Festival: ‘We are delighted to be part of the festival for the 3rd year running especially in our special birthday year. Last year was such a brilliant day with over 3000 spectators joining in the fun. It is wonderful that such a fantastic family-orientated day can make a really positive impact to children at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. We can’t wait for it all to begin!’
To compete, each team needs 12 rowers and one drummer. The race will consist of three heats, and team prizes will be awarded to the winner and runner up, alongside prizes for the best team fancy dress. Racing will start at 9.30am and continues to 3pm, followed by a prize giving ceremony. Please note, places will be confirmed on a first come, first served basis.
For further information, including how to register your place in the 13th Brindleyplace Dragonboat Festival, please visit http://www.brindleyplace.com.
Any questions please contact Shahaji Begum on 0121 333 8539 or email Shahaji.Begum@bch.nhs.uk
Kathryn Cartwright turned 21 on 21st January, a landmark birthday she couldn’t wait to celebrate with her family – and this birthday was all the more poignant as it is one she and her family never thought she would see.
At 16 Kathryn was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) and in the four and a half years since her diagnosis, Kathryn has stunned doctors with her ability to not only battle the leukaemia itself, but she has also made medical history.
She has undergone several cycles of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, two bone marrow transplants and a liver transplant and has to take a daily cocktail of drugs to help alleviate some of the associated problems.
Kathryn was diagnosed with AML in July 2007 after beginning to feel very tired and looking pale. The initial thought was that she may be anaemic – but when her GP carried out a blood test that showed she was severely anaemic, she was referred to Birmingham Children’s Hospital for further tests which revealed she had AML.
Kathryn started a cycle of chemotherapy but doctors at the hospital discovered that she had a particular high risk chromosomal abnormality. In simple terms, this meant that because of the missing chromosome in her leukaemia cells the chances of the chemotherapy curing the disease would be reduced greatly. The best chance of cure would have to come from a bone marrow transplant. Luckily her older sister Christine, 18, was a match and in December 2007 she had her transplant at BCH. This resulted in her leukaemia going into remission and Kathryn returned home with her parents, Judith and Alex.
Sadly, just four months later she discovered a lump on the side of her head which showed that the leukaemia had returned. Kathryn returned to hospital for further treatment and to discuss the options available to her. The only curative option available was to consider a second bone marrow transplant. It is rare to do a second bone marrow transplant though as the risks are higher and Kathryn and her family were warned that there was only a one in five chance of her surviving the second transplant.
“We couldn’t see that there was another option – to go ahead with the second transplant was risky, but it would still give me more of a chance than doing nothing. Without treatment, I would have died. I preferred a small chance than no chance at all.”
So doctors started Kathryn on a course of chemotherapy and radiotherapy to prepare her body for the transplant once they had found a match. A match was found from a young German male and in July, Kathryn received her second bone marrow transplant. The transplant started to work but she developed Graft Versus Host Disease, which badly affected her eyes and skin. She became incredibly photosensitive and had to spend a month in a dark room at home, only leaving to return to BCH’s Eye Department, where Consultant Ophthalmologist, Mr Manoj Parulekar, treated the painful condition.
Then during Halloween 2008, Kathryn had a high temperature, so was admitted to hospital. Two days later her eyeballs went yellow. Tests revealed that Kathryn had developed Graft Versus Host Disease in her liver and it had started to fail. By December, Kathryn was desperately ill in Birmingham Children’s Hospital in end-stage liver failure and wouldn’t be alive to see Christmas without a liver transplant. She went to the top of the supra urgent transplant list and on 21st December, the call came through that they had been waiting for saying that a liver was available. She underwent the eight hour operation and started her long road to recovery.
The liver was quickly accepted by Kathryn’s body and her leukaemia was also in remission which was great news for Kathryn and her family. But there were more surprises in store for them. Routine tests on her blood two weeks after the liver transplant showed that the second bone marrow transplant was being rejected and other stem cells were taking their place. Doctors at the hospital were baffled as the stem cells didn’t appear to belong to either of her bone marrow donors. Further tests revealed that the stem cells from her new liver had fully engrafted into her bone marrow, effectively replacing Kathryn’s own cells – an incredibly rare occurrence and, as far as doctors are aware, she is the first person in the UK this has happened to. There is only one other recorded case in Australia.
“It does feel a bit weird knowing that the stem cells of the liver donor have taken over my own stem cells and the cells of both my bone marrow transplant donors. I still live with the effects of GVHD, it affects my skin and lungs so I often get breathless and my skin is very delicate. Once a month I travel to Rotherham for photopheresis treatment – which helps my skin and lungs. But I often have to use a wheelchair as I get breathless easily and I take over 20 different tablets a day.”
Kathryn celebrated the birthday she never thought she would see with her family in London – dining at La Gavroche, visiting Hummingbird Bakery and staying overnight at a hotel.
Kathryn will need to have further liver surgery this year as her bile ducts need to be reconstructed by her transplant surgeon, Mr Mirza at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Kathryn’s BMT consultant, Dr Mark Velangi, says:
“Kathryn is certainly the most unique patient I have seen at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. It is the first time we have seen the stem cells of a liver donor fully taking over a patient’s bone marrow. Kathryn sadly still has ongoing health problems associated with the GVHD but there is hope that in time and with the right treatment, Kathryn will overcome it. She is an incredibly brave and bright young lady who we are delighted to see celebrate her 21st birthday.”
“My last milestone birthday (my 18th) was spent in a cubicle on the High Dependency Unit of the Oncology and Haematology Ward at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. I wasn’t able to eat any of the cake or drink any of the champagne, because my gut was nowhere near healed enough to digest anything yet. This birthday was so different. Yes, I’m still not as healthy as I’d like to be, but I am here, and I’m alive, and I’m happier than I could have dreamed of being a few years ago. I’d like to thank my donors, all three of them, and my liver donor’s family especially; I haven’t got words to articulate how much that gift means to me. Also all the doctors, nurses and other staff who have spent the past four and half years taking care of me, medically and otherwise. Without their knowledge and understanding, I would most certainly be in a very different situation, and I appreciate them more than they will ever know. This birthday was spent surrounded by the people I love, and eating all the cake in sight!”
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Ben Wilby, who starred in the hit Christmas film Nativity! with Martin Freeman and Marc Wootton when he was just six years old, made a special appearance at a special Christmas party for 120 Birmingham Children’s Hospital patients at the Centennial Centre in Birmingham on Sunday 8th January.
It was held for patients with metabolic conditions and it was the only party of the year where the children could eat everything on offer on their dinner table. These patients have to keep to a very strict diet regime because their bodies cannot process important nutrients, so have to limit those foods containing them or cut them out entirely.
Ben Wilby, now nine years-old, made an appearance and performed three beautiful dances with Sophie Moseley, his dance partner from his dance academy, for the party goers, as well as posing for photographs and signing autographs.
Ben is no stranger to Birmingham Children’s Hospital as he was treated for craniofacial condition, cranial synostosis at the hospital and has also been under the care of the ENT team for previous problems with the muscles around his windpipe.
X Factor Boot Camp finalist, Amy Morris, Body Beat Dance School and the winners of the 2010 Metabolics Got Talent contest, Sara Ahern and Roisin McGrath, also all performed for the patients.
Children also enjoyed dancing competitions, games and each received a huge gift bag full of Christmas presents.
Ben says: “I really enjoyed the party on Sunday and it was lovely to meet everyone. Birmingham Children’s Hospital have looked after me since I was three months old and I really wanted to give something back to everyone who has helped me.”
Dr Anita Macdonald, Consultant Dietician says:
“The party has to be seen to be believed. We try and raise the ‘bar’ every year. The children look forward to it all year round and for the last few weeks all the children have wanted to talk about is the Christmas Party. These children have to endure arduous treatments and anything we can do to bring a little sparkle into their lives is so worthwhile. We couldn’t do it without all the kindness and support we have had from local businesses and contacts, as well as all those entertainers who appeared on the day so we’d like to thank everyone who has helped and donated their time or gifts.”
Ten year old Abi Hill from Tamworth was given a VIP treat today courtesy of West Midlands Police Force Traffic VIP team. The six motorbike, rear guarding police car and unmarked car procession brought Abi, her mum and Sarah and brother Tom to Birmingham Children’s Hospital, as a practice exercise for the team.
Abi, Sarah and Tom delivered a card and chocolates to a ward, where Abi stayed when she was being treated for a malignant brain tumour.
Abi has made a good recovery and wanted to say thanks to all the staff that have helped her. After they finished their visit to BCH, they were then escorted to a hair salon and Cadbury World, before being dropped home in style.
Sarah said: “All of us, especially Abi, really enjoyed our day. It was very exciting to be driven by the special escort group, a treat usually reserved for royalty and the Prime Minister, through red lights, past loads of people straining to see who was in the car and then turning to one another looking confused!”