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‘Show you have a heart for all Bradford's sick children’
Few people know better than Hassan Nazir what it is like to spend time in hospital as a child. The 19-year-old, who lives with his parents and brother in Wibsey was a patient with Bradford Teaching Hospitals children’s department for 18 years.
Hassan has muscular dystrophy, and while the care he receives is second to none, a few more facilities, he says would make a big difference.
“It would be really good to have an Xbox or a PS3 maybe,” he said. “And it would be nice for the parents to have a room where they could get a cup of tea and relax.”
Home comforts such as these are what the new charity Bradford Hospitals Children’s Charity intends to provide. It’s aim is to fund not only medical equipment but also the little things that will make life easier for sick children and their families during their stay in hospital on the Foundation Trust’s three children’s wards.
It will raise funds for the Foundation Trust’s community teams, the St Luke’s outpatients and Child Development Centre, as well as the Bradford Royal Infirmary neonatal unit.
Parents Gemma and Mohammed Akram, of Shipley , are giving the charity their backing and attended yesterday’s launch with their 21-month-old daughter Amber.
Amber was born 14 weeks early weighing just 895g and stayed in the neonatal unit for ten weeks. “She could fit in my hand she was so small,” said Gemma, 26, who will parachute at Hibaldstow in Lincolnshire tomorrow, to raise money for the charity, even though she is scared of heights. She is planning a celebrity auction for November.
“Amber is in good health now but if it wasn’t for the neonatal unit she would not be here,” said Gemma.
Mohammed, 32, agrees and he has been working overtime to pay for the skydive so all proceeds will go to the children’s charity.
The Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Dale Smith , chatted to patients who were well enough to leave the wards to meet him for the launch and used a loud hailer to wave off some of the 56 riders who are taking part in the Bradford Hospitals Children’s Charity first fundraising event - a 170 bike ride over three days.
Inam Majid, aged 12, was admitted to hospital on Tuesday after suffering sickness, but his mum Saima Atif, 37, of Bradford, has a lot of experience of the hospital, through the illness of her younger son.
“The charity is a very good idea,” she said. “I’m sure the facilities they buy will benefit the mums and children.”
Six-year-old Safah Aftab, who has an immune deficiency and is being cared for on ward 17, was chosen to help Coun Smith, cut the ribbon.
She was accompanied by her relatives, including aunt Waheeda Ghafoor, who said: “The hospital in general has been fantastic.”
The Lord Mayor told assembled staff, patients and families, he had decided to sprinkle £1,000 of sunshine on the new charity from his own appeal to get it off to a really positive start.
“Bradford has a big heart and it looks after its children,” he said. He praised the 56 staff who will embark on the bike ride saying: “I know the effort they are making and I am sure the sun will come out for them.”
His speech was followed by three cheers from the staff, led by consultant paediatrician, Beccy Bardgett, who is heading the new charity.
Dr Bardgett said: “As doctors, we understand that it is not just about medicine but also about enhancing the healing environment so those extra special things like beds for parents and innovative play facilities, as well as cutting edge medical equipment is the reason why we have started this charity.
“As one of the largest Teaching Hospital Trusts in the region Bradford Hospitals Children’s Charity provides a genuine opportunity and responsibility to make a real difference to the lives of thousands of children and families who pass through our doors.
“We know from talking to mums, dads and carers that the additional funds we are talking about will make a real difference to the patient experience for children and babies. Being able to provide the latest play facilities or being able to buy distraction toys and games for children of all ages does make a huge difference to their well-being.
“After all, some patients are with us for months while others stay on and off for years.”
If you would like to make a general donation to the charity visit: justgiving.com/Bradford-Hospitals-Childrens-Charity. If you would like to sponsor the cyclists visit: justgiving.com/BradfordHospitalsChildrensCharityCoast-CoastRide. If you would like to hold your own event, such as a cake sale, contact Jane Campbell at jane.campbell @bthft.nhs.uk or ring 07932 851604.