Inspirational patients helped to celebrate a magnificent milestone for our charity, which has now reached its £3.65 million Star Appeal target, thanks to an incredible £650,000 closing gift from St James’s Place Foundation and the kind-hearted donations of thousands of people.

The money raised through the appeal will fund the UK’s first-of-its-kind Rare Disease Centre, which will provide a single place within our hospital for all assessment, diagnosis, treatment and research, bringing together a team of experts from specialities across the hospital all under one roof.

Callum Read, 14, Matilda Hatton, 8 and Kadie-Leigh Hamilton, 3, joined together with hospital staff to celebrate the official closure of the Star Appeal – just three of over 9,000 children cared for at our hospital every year for rare or undiagnosed conditions.

Patients like Callum, Matilda and Kadie-Leigh will now benefit from the new centre, as it will improve diagnosis, ensure patients are at the forefront of research and medical advances, and help stop families feeling isolated and alone.

Brave Callum, who was born with a rare condition called Kyphoscoliosis – a curvature of the spine – is excited to see the Rare Disease Centre complete. He commented:

Over the course of my life I’ve been in and out of Birmingham Children’s Hospital and if the new Rare Disease Centre was open when I was younger, when my family and I were coming to terms with my condition, it would’ve been amazing.

The staff at Birmingham Children’s Hospital are fantastic, but it’s so exciting that the Star Appeal has now closed and the Rare Disease Centre is being built. The centre will mean children, like me, will have the opportunity to meet other families going through similar, or even the same, conditions.

Dr Larissa Kerecuk, Rare Disease Lead at our hospital, added:

We’re incredibly grateful to our generous Star Appeal supporters, who have helped to make the dreams of thousands of young people living with a rare or undiagnosed condition come true!

We’re seeing more and more young people with very complex conditions and our new Rare Disease Centre will allow us to treat each and every child in a unique and personalised way, not only improving their care, but hopefully their outcome too.

Again, a massive thank you to the thousands of fundraisers who have championed our Star Appeal. We’ve been overwhelmed by everyone’s support and are delighted to announce that we’ve reached our target!

Launched at The Big Hoot auction in October 2015, the Star Appeal has taken just over twenty months to raise a phenomenal £3.65 million.

Expected to be complete by the end of 2017, the Rare Disease Centre will be housed inside our hospital’s new £37.5 million clinical building, Waterfall House, on Whittall Street.