THE PARENTS of a four-year-old leukaemia patient are calling on the generosity of others to help Birmingham Children’s Hospital’s dream of a brand new cancer facility finally become a reality.
The hospital’s £4million Children’s Cancer Centre Appeal is now in its final stages – with just £500,000 left to raise before work can begin to transform the out-dated centre into world-class facilities.
Hayley Williams and Shaun McAughey from Acocks Green know all too well what this will mean for the thousands of children and young people with cancer treated at the hospital every year.
Their daughter Connie was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in September 2013.
Shortly after returning from a family trip to Ibiza, Connie was taken to her GP with an insect bite that showed no signs of healing.
Hayley took Connie to Birmingham Children’s Hospital, thinking it might just be an abscess.
But just two days and a bone marrow test later, she and Shaun were given the devastating news Connie had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia.
Since then, their smiley, bubbly and vibrant little girl has had to endure eight months of gruelling chemotherapy treatment at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
For hairdresser Hayley, the point that Connie’s hair started falling out was when she realised the full reality of the situation and just how sick her little girl was.
She said: “As soon as we heard the words ‘your daughter has cancer’ our world stopped.
“Once the news had settled as much as it could it was time so start being positive for Connie’s sake.
“You never ever think that this is ever going to happen to you or your child.
“It’s been a roller coaster of emotions the last eight months but with all the support we have received from our family, friends and those we have met at Birmingham Children’s Hospital who are going through the same as us, we have seen that there is always light at the end of the tunnel.”
Connie is now in her fourth stage of chemotherapy and responding well but hasn’t been able to attend nursery school since last year which.
Hayley and Shaun hope that by January 2016 Connie will be completely free from leukaemia and should be able to start school this September.
“We can’t thank the staff in outpatients and ward 15 enough for everything they have done for Connie and our family which is why we want to give our full support to this appeal.” 25-year-old Hayley added.
Although she has had to give up her hairdressing Hayley she hopes to start her nurse training later this year, a career move inspired by the care that Connie received at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
Louise McCathie, Director of Fundraising at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, added:
“With just £500,000 to go until we reach £4million, our dream of completely transforming the environment where our children and young people with cancer are treated, is almost a reality.
“Since the launch of the appeal almost two years ago, the generosity of our supporters has been incredible.
“We’ve seen and heard some emotional and uplifting fundraising stories and been touched by so many families whose lives have been turned upside down by this horrible disease, which has inspired us even more to push forward with this appeal.
“All we need now is for everyone to give as much or as little as they can to help us to achieve our dream.”
The cancer unit at Birmingham sees around 3,000 cancer patients and their families from across the West Midlands and the UK every year.
New facilities and accommodation at the new centre will include age-appropriate play zones, better communal areas for families and an improved outpatient area.
To donate visit: www.bch.org.uk/cancer_appeal