Boris Johnson gives up carbs to support Great Ormond Street Hospital

The London Mayor urges readers to use their New Year’s resolutions to raise money for the 'truly awe-inspiring' hospital

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The Independent Online

Boris Johnson has become the latest high-profile backer of The Independent’s Christmas Appeal in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).

The London Mayor and Tory MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip urged readers to use their New Year’s resolutions to raise money for the “truly awe-inspiring” hospital. He is backing the Give It Up for GOSH fundraising initiative, which has seen readers across the UK pledge to give up a luxury for January in exchange for donations to the Give to GOSH campaign.

Mr Johnson has pledged  to give up carbohydrates for the first month of 2016, following in the footsteps of GOSH staff, patients’ families, hospital supporters and former patients. He said: “Whether it is a delicious slice of bread, a hearty bowl of pasta or some scrumptious roast potatoes, I am certainly going to miss my carbohydrates. But that is a small price to pay for supporting the truly awe-inspiring Great Ormond Street Hospital and helping to give seriously ill children the best chance in life.”

Mr Johnson’s pledge is the latest celebrity endorsement of Give It Up for GOSH. The television presenter Gabby Logan has already vowed to give up sweet treats, while the England rugby player Danny Care is going without fizzy drinks. Mr Johnson added: “Whatever your New Year’s resolution, I’d like to urge [you] to give something up for Great Ormond Street and help this most worthy of causes.”

Sadiq Khan, the Labour MP for Tooting who is his party’s candidate in this year’s London mayoral race, has given up chocolate. He said: “I know it will be tough because I enjoy a chocolate bar now and then. But I’m determined to succeed in overcoming my craving and my sweet tooth because this is such a good cause.”

Give it up for GOSH explainer

Give It Up for GOSH is supported by the fundraising website JustGiving and readers can join in by setting up their own JustGiving page. Getting started is simple: choose one thing to give up, then follow the link below, where JustGiving will help you to create a web page and encourage friends, family and colleagues to donate.

As well as harnessing the fundraising power of New Year’s resolutions, Give It Up for GOSH also shows solidarity with young patients at the hospital, who often have to give up favourite foods or activities as part of their treatment. These include Ralph Frost, a six-year-old who has to stick to a very restricted diet while he waits for a kidney transplant.

Martin Elliott, a professor of cardiothoracic surgery, said: “For more than 30 years, I have had the great honour of caring for children from across the world at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Unfortunately,  many of them will have to make great sacrifices, giving up things that most children take for granted, in order to help them get better. 

“For instance, a child waiting for a transplant can no longer run in the playground or play football; or a patient in isolation misses out on being in school or seeing their friends. The spirit and bravery of these patients never ceases to amaze me. I know it will be incredibly special for them to know that, this January, people across the country will be standing with them and giving up something as part of the Give to Gosh appeal. 

“This show of support is fantastic, and the donations made for your sacrifice will help us to continue to help children thrive.”

Anne-Marie Huby, managing director and co-founder of JustGiving, which is backing the fundraising initiative, said: "It's wonderful to see so many people coming together for the young patients and amazing hospital staff at GOSH. From the Mayor of London's commitment to go a month without carbs to those of you giving up sugar, dairy, chocolate and all manner of lovely things, this is a perfect way to show your support and make a real difference for a very worthy cause.

If you Give to GOSH, your donation will be matched by the Government, doubling its amount. To donate go to: