Val Hawthorne has been fundraising for the hospital ever since her daughter tragically died of ovarian cancer seven years ago – Lucy was only 14 at the time. We had the opportunity to talk to Val this month about her fundraising for a cause close to her heart.
"Having spent so much time on the ward with Lucy, I couldn't fault the care she received –the specialist doctors, nurses and ward staff were brilliant. But whilst Lucy was in there I noticed how the rooms were quite dull.
"After she died, I wanted to do something positive and started fundraising for a refurbishment of the two side rooms where we'd stayed, just to brighten and freshen up the surroundings.
"We raised more than £5,000 that year. It started when donations came in from family and friends in Lucy's memory. The local youth group at MK Theatre donated in Lucy's memory. Lucy was a keen dancer at Milton Keynes Dance Centre, where they also collected for us. They still support our efforts today.
"Things then escalated, as the school both Lucy and her brother Glen attended got involved too – Denbigh held a non-uniform day and the students and staff raised more than £1,000! It felt great handing the money over to the staff and then seeing the rooms looking so bright and cheerful. Now if you go on the ward, you'll notice a sign above the side room door – a star called Lucy's Rooms – which to me is a lovely way to remember her.
Here's the story of Lucas from Milton Keynes - one of the children who could benefit from your support of Leo's Appeal, raising funds for our children's wards.
15-month old Lucas has Kabuki syndrome, a disorder that affects many parts of the body with complications such as heart and kidney problems. We spoke to his mum Emma about his condition and her experiences at the hospital.
"I was seven months pregnant when I was told that Lucas had a 50/50 chance of developing Kabuki syndrome. Lucas's older brother Alfie has the syndrome too so I was shocked when it was diagnosed at birth–for both boys to have it is very rare. It's actually the first reported case of Kabuki syndrome being passed on genetically from mother to baby in the world." [Emma was told she had the gene during Lucas' diagnosis].
"I've worked out that since November 2012 we haven't spent more than a month out of hospital. Lucas was first admitted to the children's ward when he was five weeks old. He'd been having trouble feeding but then wouldn't stop projectile vomiting, which was deeply distressing. I was so scared that something was really wrong, but the doctors and nurses were great. We ended up on the ward for two weeks – until his feeding was under control – and then Lucas went home with a feeding tube. We found out feeding problems are a common feature of infants with Kabuki syndrome.