Major fundraising appeal to raise £3 million for life-saving support for sick children

A Barnsley mum who travels three times a week to Nottingham Children’s Hospital with her baby daughter has backed a major fundraising appeal to raise £3 million to benefit young patients at the hospital.

 Rachel Newton’s one-year-old daughter Charlotte has had kidney problems since birth and has spent periods of up to nine weeks at Nottingham Children’s Hospital, which has a big impact on family life for Rachel, her husband John and their other daughter Emily (4). Now Charlotte is on life-saving haemodialysis which involves three trips a week from the family’s home near Barnsley – a three to four hour round trip.

 Nottingham Hospitals Charity has launched its Big Appeal to raise £3 million for the Childrens’ Hospital by 2018, with half the money earmarked for improving accommodation for families like Rachel’s who need to stay with their children at the hospital. The Appeal is also focusing on life-saving research into childhood illnesses and leading edge diagnostic equipment.

 Rachel says: “We have been in and out of hospital since Charlotte was born and each time we can’t guarantee how long we will need to be here. Nottingham is the nearest facility to where we live. I don’t mind the travel, but it is very expensive.

 “Having somewhere to stay close to the hospital where we could cook our own meals would make an enormous difference. We’d get to spend more time together as a family and it would be more comfortable and less expensive.” 

 While Rachel and John are at the hospital with Charlotte they rely on a network of other relatives to look after their other daughter. Rachel gave up work as an optical assistant at Specsavers to become Charlotte’s full time carer.

Barbara Cathcart, Nottingham Hospitals Charity Chief Executive says: “This Appeal will enable us to make a big difference to children like Charlotte and their families, many of whom travel from far afield to bring their children to the hospital. Families sometimes have to book into costly hotel rooms or sleep on a chair at their child’s bedside which adds to their exhaustion and stress.

“We aim to provide the best possible care for our young patients with up to the minute equipment in a child-friendly environment.”

The Big Appeal will also be raising money for new diagnostic equipment for the hospital and improved, more child-friendly environments.

Those wishing to support the Big Appeal can hold their own fundraising event, or go to the Nottingham Hospital Charity’s donation page at http://nottinghamhospitalscharity.org.uk/donate/  or call the Charity team on 0115 962 7905 to make a donation or to volunteer.