Johnny Depp has become the latest high-profile backer of The Independent's Give to GOSH appeal, a cause that has already seen the Chancellor commit the Treasury to matching every pound raised by readers.
The Golden Globe winning actor, whose daughter Lily-Rose was treated at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) when she was critically ill as a child, praised Independent readers who have already made donations in the first week of the appeal and said that he hoped people would continue to “dig deep” for what he called a “magical hospital”.
He told The Independent: “The darkest days of my family’s life were spent within the walls of Great Ormond Street Hospital. It was an extremely anxious time, full of unknowns, and the most frightening period of our lives. But, owing to the phenomenal care shown by all the staff at Great Ormond Street, they not only brought us continued hope on a daily basis, but ultimately saved my daughter’s young life.”
Lily-Rose Depp, now a 16-year-old model and actress, was admitted to GOSH in March 2007, aged 7. She had fallen seriously ill while her father was filming Sweeney Todd at Pinewood Studios .
He said: “I was amazed to witness the nurses, doctors, and all involved, approach their work with such great diligence, and purity of heart that no matter the severity of the situation, every child was treated with the same love and expertise. By all this, I was profoundly moved and I will be forever grateful and eternally beholden to these infinitely courageous, kind and professional individuals.”
Depp went on to praise the “world-class skills and knowledge” of the medical teams at GOSH.
Over the next few months, The Independent will be raising money for GOSH and proceeds from the appeal, which is being run in partnership with the London Evening Standard, will support cutting-edge pediatric research as well as helping to fund a new 14-bed specialist unit to help children with heart failure live better qualities lives while they await transplant.
It will also support the Louis Dundas Centre for Children’s Palliative Care, GOSH’s world-class centre dedicated to research, teaching and care for children with life-limiting illnesses.
The centre 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 donated to the Give to GOSH appeal will also support patients and families at the hospital, including accommodation for parents so they can stay close to children going through stressful treatments.
Depp, who usually avoids publicising his charitable work, said: “I wholeheartedly support this appeal and thank the papers and you, the readers, for supporting such a worthy cause.”
He has retained a close relationship with the hospital ever since his daughter was treated there, and regularly returns to GOSH in costume as Captain Jack Sparrow, the lead character in the Pirates of the Caribbean films, to entertain sick children at the hospital. He invited the entire nursing team that cared for his daugher to the premiere of Sweeney Todd and has invited his daughter's medical team to all of his premiers since.
Donations made in response to Depp’s call and all donations made through the course of the appeal will now be doubled after George Osborne used the Autumn Statement earlier this week to announce that the Treasury would match every pound raised by The Independent’s Give to GOSH appeal.
Depp, known for his roles in Alice in Wonderland to Fear in Loathing and Las Vegas, added: “I hope people dig deep and give generously to this magical hospital so it can continue to be a home away from home for very sick children and their families; and house the world-class skills and knowledge that will hopefully help all of our babies to get better.”
If you Give to GOSH, your donation will be matched by the Government, doubling its amount. To donate go to: http://ind.pn/1Mydxqt
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