Identical twins who have won their battle against leukaemia have given their support to an exciting campaign at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, to raise thousands of pounds for the £4m Cancer Centre Appeal.
For the first time ever, the hospital’s charity has been selected to be part of the national Big Give Christmas Challenge which is poised to give the Children’s Cancer Centre Appeal a significant cash boost on Thursday 5, Friday 6 and Saturday 7 December.
Nine year olds Ethan and Kai Thompson, from Stechford, are urging supporters to dig deep that will see all donations made online over the three days potentially matched up to £20,000.
The twins who attend Corpus School in Stechford were diagnosed within one year of each other with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia and are now completely off treatment and cancer-free.
Kai, who was the first of the brothers to be diagnosed with leukaemia in 2005, said:
“This is a really good idea because it helps people raise lots of money for the hospital so more children can get better.”
“Because people can double their money they can help more poorly children like me and my brother,” added Ethan.
Birmingham Children’s Hospital sees 3,000 cancer patients and their families from across the UK every year. The current cancer treatment facility is over 30 years old and has completely outgrown its current environment. The appeal aims to transform the environment and accommodation for the parents and children who spend months living with their children at the hospital.
Reflecting on her own experiences over the last few years, Ethan and Kai’s mum Rachel, said:
“This is such a great opportunity for those who are thinking about donating to the cancer centre appeal to have their donations doubled at the click of a button.
“Having a new cancer centre would mean so much to us and other families who are going through what we have gone through. The hospital was our second home for three years so I know how important it is to have better facilities for the children to be distracted by, and how important it is for each and every family member on that unit to feel as comfortable as possible.”
Only a certain number of charities across the country have been selected for the challenge – so supporters will need to act quickly to maximise the chance of their donation being doubled. The website opens at 10am on each day 5, 6 and 7 December, and at the point the match funding runs out, the donations will be paused and resumed at 10am the following day.
Head of Fundraising Louise McCathie, said: “We’re really excited to have been chosen to be part of this year’s Big Give Christmas Challenge and to have the added support of Ethan and Kai. They and their family have been through such difficult times and know all too well what this money will mean to our £4million Children’s Cancer Centre Appeal.
“What we need our supporters to do now is to be quick off the mark at 10am on each of the three days, because only a certain amount of match funding will be made available.”
The hospital is currently well over half way in their £4million appeal. All donations made during the Big Give Christmas Challenge must be made online via the Big Give website and donations can be anything from £5 to £5,000. Please visit: bch.org.uk/biggive
Over 400 kind hearted guests of Birmingham Children’s Hospital raised £103K at the charity’s glittering Winter Ball.
The money will go towards the Children’ Cancer Centre Appeal – to raise £4million to transform the dated inpatient and outpatient environment into world-class facilities.
Sponsored by Deutsche Bank, the annual event at the University of Birmingham’s Great Hall was attended by local businesses, friends of the hospital and a number of families who shared their stories with the audience. Mum Loretta Haughey whose four-year-old son Ryan and husband Sean were both diagnosed with cancer within two weeks of each other also told her own moving story.
The impact that Loretta had resulted in £38,000 being raised through the auction. Prizes included tours of the McLaren Technology Centre and ITV’s This Morning studio plus a day at the races with cricket legend Freddie Flintoff.
There were live performances from the stars of the West End who have appeared in Thriller, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Les Miserables and Grease as well as music from local band The Wedding Crashers.
Alistair McGowan who kept the audience entertained throughout the evening said how honoured he was to have been asked to host the ‘exceptional night’ and praised the work of the hospital.
Birmingham Children’s Hospital sees 3,000 cancer patients and their families from across the UK every year. The current facility is over 30 years old and has completely outgrown its current environment. The appeal aims to transform the facilities and accommodation for the parents and children who spend months living with their children at the hospital.
Sarah-Jane Marsh, Chief Executive of Birmingham Children’s Hospital who opened the event, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have raised such an incredible amount of money for our Children’s Cancer Centre Appeal. We are completely overwhelmed by the generosity of all those who attended, and contributed to the night, and we are already looking forward to an even bigger and better event next year.”
The hospital is currently well over half way in their £4million appeal.
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