A Sunderland family have led a drive to donate toys to a north-east children’s hospital.
Two-year-old Sam Patterson – whose mum, Dianne, works at Sunderland City Council – was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia earlier this year.
Sam was admitted to Ward 14 of the Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle. Here he underwent surgery followed by an intense programme of chemotherapy. Sam also had to take many doses of steroids and anti-sickness medications.
Thankfully, Sam is now in remission, but he will need continuing treatment for the next three years to avoid a relapse.
In order to thank everyone on the ward, Dianne and her husband Dale – who live in Sunderland – set up a JustGiving page to raise money for the hospital.
Friends – and Dianne’s colleagues at Sunderland Civic Centre – all contributed generously. Fundraising events, including a charity cake sale, brought in over £800.
The money has been used to buy toys and other items to help make the hospital stays of children a little more comfortable.
Dianne – who works in Policy, Partnerships and Communications – said, “It’s been inspiring to be part of a fundraising effort that has been so heartfelt, and overwhelming to see the amount raised by so many generous people.”
“While Sam has been undergoing treatment for leukaemia, we’ve met so many families from all walks of life. We’ve all spent long hours on the ward together while our children undergo chemo and we know how emotionally and physically draining it is.”
“It’s hard to watch your children having chemo or undergoing a blood transfusion, which can often take hours, and having toys and activities to keep them entertained and distracted is invaluable.”
Last week, the Patterson family were back on Ward 14 to donate items including a farmyard, a Noah’s Ark, a dolls’ house, a toy kitchen, toy turtles, a chess set, headphones, tablets, toy cars, a playmat and more.
Keri Bland, the senior sister for children’s cancer care at the Great North Children’s Hospital, said, “No one wants to spend time in hospital, least of all children and youngsters, so it’s such a lovely gesture to be donated some amazing toys for the children to use while they’re receiving their cancer treatment.”
“It all helps to bring a level of normality back to their days in hospital.”