Children’s brain tumour charity Anna’s Hope launches new rehabilitation service at Addenbrookes Hospital

Official launch of Brainbow.  Anna's Hope founders Rob and Carole Hughes with daughter Sara.'Photo: MSMP100913-009ow
Official launch of Brainbow. Anna's Hope founders Rob and Carole Hughes with daughter Sara.'Photo: MSMP100913-009ow

Children’s brain tumour charity Anna’s Hope has funded three therapists as part of a rehabilitation service launched at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge today (Tuesday).

Anna’s Hope has funded a speech and language therapist, a physiotherapist and an occupational therapist, who will work under the banner of Brainbow - a new rehabilitation service for children with brain tumours, the first available on the NHS.

Brainbow, which is a partnership between Addenbrookes, Anna’s Hope and two other charities - Camille’s Appeal and Tom’s Trust - was launched today and will be funded for three years initially.

It will provide valuable evidence to support further work on the impact of neuro-rehabilitation on outcomes for children, an area of provision that is still in its infancy. Brainbow will provide a comprehensive approach to rehabilitation, integrated alongside standard clinical care for children with brain tumours.

A coordinated, specialist neuro-rehabilitation assessment will include physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and clinical psychology.

Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children in the UK and for those who survive their lives can be severely limited. Children treated for brain tumours have the greatest need for rehabilitation of all children treated for cancer. Currently 200 children in the region are being managed for brain tumours.

Brainbow will be based at Addenbrookes, which is the regional centre for the treatment of children with brain and spinal cancers. It will support children under 16 already being treated for brain tumours at Addenbrookes and those who will be newly-diagnosed from October 2013.

Robert Hughes, who set up Anna’s Hope with his wife Carole, said: “Today marks the culmination of seven years’ fundraising and the exciting beginning of a pioneering new service that will contribute and make a positive difference to the lives of children with brain tumours.

“Following the funding of the ‘Anna’s Hope Specialist Nurse’ at Addenbrookes we are delighted to continue our collaboration with the hospital by supporting the Brainbow service through the funding of the ‘Anna’s Hope Therapy team’ which includes a physiotherapist, speech and language therapist and an occupational therapist.

“Anna’s Hope is also delighted to be partnering with Camille’s Appeal and Tom’s Trust; without them Brainbow would not be possible and we look forward to the service helping more children with brain tumours reach their full potential.”

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.”