A FUNDRAISING drive for a state-of-the-art new children’s operating theatre at Leeds Children’s Hospital has reached the halfway milestone.
The Keeping the Beat Appeal was launched by the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund (CHSF) last May to raise £500,000 for the revolutionary facility – and less than a year on, it has already collected £250,000.
Sharon Coyle, CEO of CHSF said: “We are thrilled that the people of Yorkshire have got behind the Keeping the Beat campaign with such enthusiasm and generosity. Reaching the halfway point is very uplifting and positive for the whole team.
“However, we still have a way to go to achieve our overall target, which will see us provide the children of this region with a state of the art operating theatre. We dearly hope and trust we receive the same enthusiasm in 2017.”
The new theatre will ensure the Children’s Heart Surgery Unit meets new clinical standards set by NHS England put in place after a national review of care.
It will be used for open heart surgery as well as some minimally invasive heart procedures, which mean shorter waiting times and faster recovery for young patients.
A special donation tree mural has been created outside the children’s heart ward to celebrate the contribution of key donors to the appeal and the family of little Albie Carroll were the first to add their details.
The tot, from Bingley, underwent lifesaving heart surgery at just eight weeks old and will need further surgery in the coming years.
His parents Christian and Freya wanted to show their gratitude to the CHSF, which supported them through his treatment, and with family and friends have so far collected £31,000.
Freya said: “Keeping the Beat means so much to us and it is something we will continue to fundraise for. We feel proud that we have been able to contribute towards a new world class theatre being built at Leeds as we know our son will also benefit from the hybrid theatre.”
“During the time we spent in hospital we felt that the CHSF wrapped us in a blanket and looked after us all throughout, we felt we needed to give something back. We wanted to turn such a difficult time into something positive.”
The cause is close to the hearts of many of the generous donors and fundraisers.
Charity Orphans In Need gave £10,000 to the Keeping The Beat appeal thanks to Children’s Heart Surgery Fund supporter Mohammed Atique, whose nephew had open heart surgery at Leeds General Infirmary.
Atique introduced the fundraising to Anis Musa, chairman of Orphans in Need, which resulted in the bumper donation.
A year-long fundraising challenge by Angela Chapman, inspired by her granddaughter Amelia Rose, raised £6,200.
Amelia Rose also had surgery at the unit and her grandma decided to mark turning 50 in 2016 by running 50 5k runs with a team of supporters in aid of the appeal.
Angela said they would always be so grateful to the team which operated on Amelia for 13 hours when she was just a week old.
“We heard about Keeping The Beat and what a fabulous way to show our appreciation – help fund raise to build a unit to ensure more babies like our beautiful granddaughter have the same opportunity for first-class medical care,” she added.
“Our eldest granddaughter Katie, aged 13, did her mini version of 5k runs and raised a staggering £500 on her own.”
“The final accolade was for Amelia’s name and funds raised to be part of the special donation tree outside the heart ward, a proud family moment for us all.”
* The Leeds Congenital Heart Unit sees 10,000 babies and children from across the region each year.
It was previously threatened with closure, but last year it was confirmed it would remain as long as new care standards were met. Creating the new operating theatre will help it to meet the national standards.
Donate to the appeal online at chsf.org.uk/donate, by texting BEAT02 £10 to 70070 or by dropping a cheque into CHSF’s office on B Floor, Brotherton Wing at the LGI.
Tweet @CHSurgeryFund using #Keepingthebeat to show support.