The smell of TCP, the cream washed walls, hard waiting-room chairs, NHS posters, and booklets about cancer and it's treatments - doesn't really comfort a child going through the ordeal of radiotherapy when diagnosed with cancer. With all the hard work they do to keep the children happy, the waiting room lacks the child appeal that would keep children occupied during this scary and frightening time. This is where I come in, this is where I want to be able to help, to make it a child friendly and positive experience for the children, who are already so brave when fighting cancer...
Many people have heard of the birmingham children's hospital, the clowns the colourful walls and toys which completely distract the children during many an illness, and improve the quality of life when going through treatment. However space limits the treatment that is undertaken, and the radiotherapy is then redirected to the main adults QE hospital. After the children's overwhelming diagnosis, the last thing you would want to do is told you are going to a big scary hospital to have your treatment.
In theory, the radiotherapy department is second to none, one of the best in the country, with its' incredible state-of-the-art machines that can change the way treatment is done; the CyberKnife machine and the Tomograph machine. However on the other this is a world away from the friendly and colourful buildings and artwork they are used to keep them occupied and have a positive experience. Not only is the radiotherapy department in an adult hospital, but it is in the old hospital away from the new build, making it an even more daunting experience.
I had the opportunity to go and visit this department and talk to the staff and their experiences with the children. The overwhelming response is the number of staff that said that they do as much as they can do for the children to keep them occupied during there long waiting times, but the funding just isn't there to give them a play area, and so instead get very restless waiting for hours on end during their treatment days. I met with the head of fundraising Justine Davy, talking about the work they do for the children and their aims with this appeal, and together met the gentlemen in charge of the last fundraising buy - a £3million state of the art machine 'The CyberKnife' that has revolutionised treatment of localised cancers. I also had the honour of chatting to Mike Hammond, CEO of the QEHB Charity who talked really supported my run and himself sponsored me for the marathon!
This is where my appeal lies, to change this for the children to have something to make it a 'fun day' for the children to take the onus off the treatment at hand. My marathon aims to raise money for these children, with the VIP Treatment Appeal - giving a children a child-friendly area with toys games and things to distract them, as well helping with child-friendly treatment aids, and a special QE Hospital toy to take home to congratulate them for their bravery. I am aiming to raise £4,000 for the marathon, £1,000 for each hour I will be running the marathon, and giving the children the opportunity to buy all the toys for them to have to be able to celebrate there bravery.
Please help and support my cause, we all know someone who has been through cancer, and these children need that wonderful, that special treatment, the VIP Treatment www.justgiving.com/MissMarathon