A shiny new bell has taken up residence on the wall of Tropical Bay, one of our children’s wards at Queen’s Hospital.
It was donated by Claire and Del Holder, whose son Owen, now 15, was treated for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) at the former Oldchurch Hospital, replaced by Queen’s Hospital in 2006, as a toddler.
The family, of Brunswick Gardens, Hainault, made a donation to the charity, End of Treatment Bells UK, set up by a family whose daughter was given the chance to ring a bell when her own cancer treatment ended, to pay for a bell at our hospital for every young cancer patient to ring when their treatment is complete.
On Wednesday (15 February), the family returned to our hospital so Owen could be among the first to ring the bell, alongside two others, Maisie Restarick, 17, and Riley Harrop, 14, who were both treated for ALL as children, at the same time as Owen.
The three families have remained in touch since going through such a challenging time together, so it was emotional for mum Claire, 44, to see all three ringing the bell.
She said: “When we found out about this charity, through Facebook, we thought it was a lovely thing, so we wanted to make a donation to have a bell at Queen’s Hospital.
“We became a hospital family ourselves when our children were going through their treatment. The staff were also amazing and they become like part of our extended family too. It’s lovely to hear that children have already been able to ring the bell.”
Owen, Maisie and Riley all began their treatment at Oldchurch Hospital, and completed it at Queen’s Hospital in 2007, just after it had opened.
Two of our child patients have rung the bell to signify the end of their treatment since it was put in place last week. They were also given a certificate to mark the occasion.
In the video above are Claire and her son Owen in front of the bell.