Your efforts backing the Anna’s Hope charity have paid off with the launch of a new team to help children with brain tumours.
Anna’s Hope has funded a speech and language therapist, a physiotherapist and an occupational therapist, who will form part of a new rehabilitation team called Brainbow which was launched at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge on Tuesday.
The three therapists, who will be known as the Anna’s Hope Therapy Team, will be funded for three years and will work alongside a dedicated children’s brain tumour nurse that Anna’s Hope had already funded. They represent an investment of an incredible £700,000 - which has all been donated by you.
Carole Hughes, who founded Anna’s Hope with husband Rob in memory of their daughter Anna, said: “Without the help and support of people, we never would have been able to fund this so we want to say a huge, huge thank you to everyone that has supported us in any way at all.
“This new team will make such a difference and that means so much to us.
“It is a tremendous legacy for Anna.”
Anna lost her battle with a brain tumour aged just three years and eight months in 2006. It was then that the couple, who live in Pilsgate near Barnack, launched the charity.
In 2008, the charity announced it had funded Alison Mitchell, a paeditiatric neuro-oncology nurse specialist for three years.
But it has always been Carole and Rob’s vision to have a comprehensive rehabilitation team in place to help other children and families in the same unthinkable situation they found themselves in.
The Anna’s Hope Therapy Team will work in collaboration with a clinical psychologist and project coordinator, funded by two other charities Camille’s Appeal and Tom’s Trust. Alison Mitchell, who is now funded by the NHS, will work alongside the Brainbow team, which is the first of its kind available on the NHS.
It is hoped that after the three-year period, the Brainbow team will be funded by the NHS.
It will support children under 16 already being treated for brain tumours at Addenbrookes and those who will be newly-diagnosed from October 2013.
Carole said: “We spent a third of Anna’s life in hospitals and we recognised that rehabilitation services were desperately needed. Brainbow is something that has been a long-time coming.
“Children who have brain tumours need more rehabilitation and the sooner we can get to these children the better the outcome.
“Tuesday when we launched Brainbow was a day to remember and celebrate all the children, including my Anna, who have lost their battle but we hope this service will make a huge difference to children and families still fighting their battles.”
Rob added: “Brain tumours can impact sight, swallowing, balance, social skills and more. Children can struggle with day-to-day living.
“Physiotherapy can help them move better. Speech and language therapy gets their swallowing back.
“We are looking at the whole picture, to get therapy in the hospital linked with therapists in the community and at home.”
Consultant paediatric oncologist at Addenbrookes Dr Amos Burke said: “By launching Brainbow we will be able to provide a more standardised and holistic care package to children with brain tumours in the region.
“We are very grateful for the support from these three charities and we hope we can develop the service further in the future.”
Carole and Rob, who are also parents to Sara, have organised dozens of events to raise money, including charity balls, picnics and collaborations with the Perkins Great Eastern Run and the Holiday on Ice show, both in Peterborough.
But raising awareness has been equally important and the fairies that Anna loved so much played a key part when they broke the world record for the most number of people dressed as fairies at Burghley Park last year.
And they don’t intend to stop here. The couple hope to eventually launch a play therapy in the home team, which Carole said had made such a difference to Anna.
Carole said: “The Brainbow team is a leap forward but we don’t intend to stop.
“There is still a lot of work to be done.”