Our campaign to raise money for the vital work undertaken by Great Ormond Street Hospital has raised a record-breaking £3.56m to help critically ill children, smashing all previous records for our seasonal appeal.
The Give to GOSH appeal, which ends this weekend on GOSH’s birthday, has surpassed all expectations and will allow the staff at the hospital to continue to transform the lives of critically ill children for “generations to come”.
Dr Peter Steer, chief executive of GOSH, said all the patients and staff at the hospital were overwhelmed with the generosity of Independent readers who had supported the appeal.
He said: “When we opened our doors to The Independent back in November, at the very start of the Give to GOSH appeal, never could we have imagined the overwhelming support and generosity that would follow.
“To everyone who read our stories and who took the time to pick up the phone and pledge money, to donate online or who cut out the coupons and sent in donations, on behalf of all of the families at GOSH, and all of our wonderful staff, I would like to say a heartfelt thank you.
“The work we do at Great Ormond Street Hospital to care for some of the country’s most seriously ill children is expensive.
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
“The NHS provides us with a good start, but we need additional support to remain a truly world-class children’s research hospital. Your generosity is helping us to do that.”
The news that The Independent has raised more than £3.5m came as the Queen thanked all of those readers and supporters who backed our appeal for GOSH.
In a letter to the hospital, she wrote: “As Patron, I would like to send my very best wishes to all the patients, families and staff at Great Ormond Street and extend my thanks to its many friends, volunteers and charitable supporters who have helped make the recent Christmas campaign such a success, ensuring the hospital remains a truly extraordinary place.”
Funds from The Independent appeal, run alongside the Evening Standard, i, and The Independent on Sunday, will support the creation of a dedicated heart unit for the sickest cardiac patients as well as supporting the vital work of the Louis Dundas Centre, which helps children with life-limiting and life-threatening illnesses and conducts vital world-leading research.
The success of the appeal, which finishes on Sunday, the hospital’s 164th birthday, also means the hospital will be able to carry out £1m of research into the treatment of rare diseases, as well as funding vital patient support services.
In her letter from Buckingham Palace, the Queen, who has been patron of the hospital since 1965, paid tribute to those who have helped to make our Christmas campaign such a success.
She wrote: “Great Ormond Street Hospital was founded in 1852. Ever since, the hospital has been dedicated to caring for some of the nation’s most seriously ill children, whilst seeking new and better treatments and training future generations of child health practitioners.
“As one of the world’s leading children’s hospitals, Great Ormond Street offers a beacon of hope to thousands of children from across the UK and beyond every year.”Reuse content