Our campaign to raise money to help Great Ormond Street Hospital treat critically ill children and support their parents has now raised more than £3m, smashing all previous records for our seasonal appeal.
The appeal, now in its final two weeks, ends on GOSH’s birthday, 14 February, and a party will be held that week for patients and staff.
Reaching £3m means that all the £1.5m in match-funding provided by the Chancellor, George Osborne, has been used. A new funder, the Hunter Foundation, has now provided a further £100,000 in match-funding to help boost donations during the appeal’s final stretch.
Dr Peter Steer, chief executive of GOSH, said everyone at the hospital had been deeply touched by the public’s generosity. “It has been a fantastic response,” he said. “The money is invaluable. It is also hard to overstate what it has meant to the staff. Thank you.”
Evgeny Lebedev, the owner of the London Evening Standard and Independent newspapers, said he wished to thank everyone who had backed the appeal. “I have seen for myself the incredible work being done by the tireless and inspirational doctors and nurses at Great Ormond Street Hospital, and talked with parents who are going through an almost unimaginably difficult and emotional time,” he said.
“Every penny will go on essential projects to help them. More children will now be treated and their time in the hospital made much more comfortable. That is something we can all be proud of.”
As well as postal and online donations, the funding includes money raised through the Give it up for GOSH initiative, which ends on Sunday. The hundreds of people who took part were sponsored to give up a treat for January through our partner, the fund-raising website JustGiving.
Meet the patients and doctors of GOSH
Meet the patients and doctors of GOSH
1/9 Elliott Livingstone
Two-year-old Elliott is a “cheeky” little boy who has a Thomas the Tank Engine sticker on his Berlin heart machine, which has kept him alive since his own heart failed eight months ago. Elliott has two tubes pumping blood around his tiny body. It keeps him alive but the machine has left him confined to the wards of Great Ormond Street Hospital until a new heart is found
2/9 Melissa Strickland
As the ward sister on Koala Ward, Melissa Strickland leads a nursing team with the challenging job of looking after children with craniofacial and neurological conditions. “You have to have all the skills and knowledge to do this job but personally for me you cannot do it unless you have passion but also compassion,” she said. “You don’t get used to the sad side of things but you do learn to manage it.”
3/9 Amy Willis
Amy Willis carries a discreet black medical bag everywhere she goes. It contains the cutting-edge HeartWare device that is keeping her alive. A smaller, more advanced version of the Berlin artificial heart, it was fitted in April after she was emergency airlifted to GOSH from Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool. The device means that 14-year-old Amy can be home in Flintshire this Christmas while remaining on the heart transplant waiting list. She is doing well but 15 per cent of patients with a HeartWare device or Berlin heart die while waiting for a new heart, so money raised by the appeal will also go to help researchers identify ways to keep children alive while they await transplant
4/9 Myra Bluebond-Langner
Professor Myra Bluebond-Langner represents the vital work of the Louis Dundas Centre for Children’s Palliative Care, GOSH’s world-class centre dedicated to research and care for children with life-limiting illnesses. The LDC is named in honour of Louis Dundas, a four-year-old boy who died in “unspeakable pain” after suffering a brain tumour in April 2008. Its aim is to ensure that no child suffers unnecessarily in their final days. Money raised from The Independent’s Give to GOSH appeal will go to fund the team’s work to manage pain, and also fund vital research into palliative care in children across the whole of the UK. Professor Bluebond-Langner, who heads the research, said: “Paediatric palliative care is a relatively new field where practice has outstripped research. We look to change that.”
5/9 Finella Craig
Together with with Professor Myra Bluebond-Langner, Dr Finella Craig represents the vital work of the Louis Dundas Centre for Children’s Palliative Care, GOSH’s world-class centre dedicated to research and care for children with life-limiting illnesses. The LDC is named in honour of Louis Dundas, a four-year-old boy who died in “unspeakable pain” after suffering a brain tumour in April 2008. Its aim is to ensure that no child suffers unnecessarily in their final days. “One of the worst experiences for a family is to witness their child in pain and discomfort, and for them to feel totally powerless to do anything about it,” said Dr Craig, a consultant in paediatric palliative medicine at GOSH since 2002. Money raised from The Independent’s Give to GOSH appeal will go to fund the team’s work to manage pain, and also fund vital research into palliative care in children across the whole of the UK.
6/9 Rowan Pethard
Like most little boys, Rowan Pethard loves playing football. At the start of 2015 the seven-year-old Spurs fan baffled his doctors in Hemel Hempstead with a string of coughs, colds, tummy bugs, aches, pains and rashes. It wasn’t until quite late on that doctors discovered he had leukaemia. He spent two days in intensive care while he had emergency chemo. He has two years of follow-up treatment ahead. “He’s amazing, a little superhero,” his mum said. “It makes it easier for his father and I and his brother to cope.”
7/9 Martin Elliott
Paediatric heart and lung surgeon Martin Elliott, 64, is one of the longest serving doctors at GOSH, leading groundbreaking research and treating thousands of patients over the past 30 years. His work has bridged the gap between surgery and research with skills ranging from heart-bypass surgery to correcting congenital lung disorders.
8/9 Ralph Frost
For Ralph the hardest thing about having to live at GOSH while he waits for a new kidney isn’t missing his toys. He has plenty of those and can terrorise the nurses by pushing his little red motorbike down the corridors of Eagle Ward. The hardest thing for the six-year-old is battling not to cry out during his nightly dialysis sessions. “It really hurts,” he said. “But the other kids are sleeping and I don’t want to wake them up.” Ralph suffers from nephrotic syndrome and is currently waiting for a kidney from his father, Nick. He’s called the kidney “Chase” and his parents, who have been trained to operate his dialysis machine, hope to be home by Christmas
9/9 Lynsey Steele
The strongest praise for Lynsey Steele, 33, comes from the parents of the children she helps. “The children here wouldn’t get by without Lynsey,” said Ralph’s mother Amie Frost. “If she wasn’t here then we’d have cracked up.” Lynsey’s role, which is funded by the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity and will be supported by The Independent’s Give to GOSH appeal, is to help children play and relax, but also to have the difficult conversations explaining their treatment
Corporate backing came from organisations including Morgan Stanley and Trailfinders, while Tesco ran a four-day fundraising drive at all 500 of its London stores last week. The supermarket’s initial estimate is that Londoners gave more than £100,000.
Professor Martin Elliott, a cardiothoracic surgeon at GOSH, said he was “gobsmacked” by the success of the appeal, which The Independent is running with its sister papers i, The Independent on Sunday and the Evening Standard.
He added: “I travel on the Tube every day and see people reading the reports in the paper. I cannot tell you what it means to me being able to witness how people want to be part of what we are trying to do for the children here.”
The Hunter Foundation, which is providing the extra match-funding, was set up by Scotland’s first self-made billionaire, Sir Tom Hunter. For every pound donated, up to £100,000, the foundation will give a further pound.
“Great Ormond Street Hospital is an outstanding facility offering hope and help to thousands of young people and their families, and that’s why we are delighted to offer these new funds,” Sir Tom said. “Let’s hope everyone digs deep and doubles our support to help a tremendous cause.”
The appeal is helping fund research programmes and the creation of a specialist unit for children waiting for a heart transplant. It will also support care programmes for patients and their families and will aid the hospital’s Louis Dundas Centre for Children’s Palliative Care, which supports children with life-threatening illnesses and conducts vital research.
Adrian Livingstone, whose two-year-old son Elliott is being treated at GOSH while he waits for a heart transplant, said: “We are delighted how well the campaign has gone and really pleased to be part of it. We have had such support from all the staff at the hospital and it is a pleasure to be able to help GOSH. It is amazing to see how people have responded to the appeal.”Reuse content