You might think that Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) would hold unhappy memories for Ralph Frost. The six-year-old is currently at back home on dialysis waiting for his new kidney, but he has spent month after painful month at the hospital this year.
Despite this he was "over the moon" to return to GOSH this week for the hospital's annual Christmas party for patients and their parents. He was among 500 guests brought together by the hospital's charitable arm for a magical-themed Christmas party, featuring face painting, arts and crafts, cupcake decorating and fancy dress cartoon characters.
Ralph, who the Independent has followed since he went home in November after long stay in Eagle Ward, has nephrotic syndrome and his parents Amie and Nick say they adjusting to managing his dialysis at home in Grays, Essex.
"He's doing well now and we are trying to establish a routine," said Amie. "It's stressful and he can't play in his room with all the machines and liquids and bedtime is tricky, but we are getting there. This is great for him and his brother Ted to have some fun."
Ralph, who if all goes to plan is due to get a new kidney from his father at Easter, said: "It's quite hard at home because I'm finding the dialysis hard because it really hurts and I can't cry because I've got neighbours and I don't want to wake them. I've grown since I had my kidneys out. I have pains so I know I'm growing."
Ralph is back at school and enjoying time with his friends, and recently showed his classmates his emergency pack in a show and tell session, which he said they thought was “quite weird.”
“I’m most excited about the presents at Christmas, not my mum’s Christmas dinner, and I want some fishes, a toy robot and a Hot Wheels track.”
Ralph and his family are due to move house in the New Year and he is excited about changing schools when they move.
Amie said: “He’s really excited, He’s so confident and he likes meeting new people. He’s quite an adventurer.”
The party saw him reunited with his play worker Lynsey Steele, who supported him while he was on the ward. She said: "For patients like Ralph to be able to come back and form happy memories is really important. A hospital stay will never be a happy memory, but we do our best to make it as fun as possible."
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