December 16, 2016
The past two years have seen the local community take our Sunrise fundraising campaign to their hearts, raising £143,000 to further improve the care which very sick babies and children receive. We visited the neonatal unit and children’s ward to find out more about the difference your generosity has made now the appeal is drawing to a close.
Sick babies and children at our hospital are now receiving even better care thanks to the generosity of local people who have funded dozens of pieces of state-of-the-art kit to help save lives and send young patients on the road to recovery.
Money raised through the Sunrise Appeal has been used to buy vital resuscitation equipment, ventilators, incubators, monitoring devices and specialist scopes for checking children’s eyes and ears. The environment has also been transformed, with new seating and colourful storage units introduced to give playrooms a more homely feel, while a special room where parents can relax for a few minutes away from the ward has been upgraded and made more comfortable.
But one of the biggest differences has come for parents and carers staying overnight, who are now able to get a better night’s sleep just down the corridor from where their baby is receiving care following a complete refurbishment of the hospital’s neonatal parent bay. New furniture has been added, along with black-out curtains, to give the bay a calming and relaxed feel so that parents can catch up on sleep without having to leave the hospital.
The Sunrise Appeal was launched in December 2014, and originally aimed to raise £100,000 to transform the lives of more than 500 neonatal babies, 3,500 young inpatients and 10,000 outpatients who are cared for by the hospital every year.
Thanks to the generosity of patients, families, staff, businesses and the wider community, the campaign smashed through its target at the start of this year, and has now raised an impressive £143,000.
A huge £30,000 was donated by Sharon Halls and Daniel Compton, who were given the money by the public to help get their daughter Evie home after she was born 12 weeks prematurely in the Dominican Republic weighing just 2lbs 10oz. It will be used to buy a scanner which will produce ultrasound images of a baby’s heart, tummy and head so that doctors and nurses can easily check for any problems.
“The public never cease to amaze me with their kindness,” said neonatal ward sister Sheila Gauld. “We feel humbled and privileged and so, so lucky. It really is lovely to have such great support.
“The appeal has made huge difference to the babies and their families as well as the staff, who now have more monitoring equipment and some of the very latest technology, which is really fantastic.
“The refurbished parents’ bay is absolutely brilliant. Before it was furnished with old hospital beds and plain metal clinical trolleys for storage, but now we have brand new beds which are really comfortable, as well as lovely and homely. We’ve also brought some proper lockers with room to hang clothes and black-out curtains so that they can get a really good night’s sleep.
“Parents have always been grateful that they are able to stay, but really appreciate the changes we have made which are helping them to get more comfortable at what can be a really difficult and stressful time.”
At the start of the appeal, doctors and nurses drew up a list of the items they would like to help further improve the care they provide to young people with every type of illness, including potentially serious chest infections, heart disorders and cancer.
It included wall-mounted cardiac monitors, a ventilator, a special incubator and resuscitation devices which give gentle pressure which is much easier on the fragile airways of little patients – all of which have now been purchased and are already making a difference.
“When I first heard the appeal was going ahead, I put together a wish list of things I would like for the ward. People have been so generous that we have been able to get virtually every item,” said Ellen Farrance, children’s unit sister. “We have always been really well supported by the local community – we are really lucky and incredibly grateful.
“The appeal has allowed us to buy those extra things which we wouldn’t otherwise be able to provide but which make a big difference to the experience young patients and their families have when coming to hospital. We’ve updated the paediatric investigation unit and made the whole environment much more homely and colourful for children, and have also upgraded the parent room on Bergholt so that mums and dads can enjoy a child-free oasis if they need some time away from the ward.
“This is really important – if we can do more to look after the parents, they are then in a better position to help us as we look after their children.”
Mandy Jordan, head of charity at Colchester & Ipswich Hospitals Charity, said: “We are incredibly grateful to everyone who supported the Sunrise Appeal. Their generosity has helped us to further improve the care which we provide to very sick babies and children, as well as the facilities on site for their parents and carers. It will make a really big difference to thousands of patients every year.”
Anyone who would like to find out more about supporting the Colchester & Ipswich Hospitals Charity should call 0300 7701369.
Items paid for by the appeal include: