SERIOUSLY ILL CHILDREN at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin have been given back their dignity during their treatment thanks to a fundraising campaign.
The Fix Crumlin campaign, which is run by the Children’s Medical Research Foundation, has benefitted from the generous donation of funds from the public , leading to the opening of new rooms at the hospital.
The campaign has just secured a deal with One4all gift vouchers, who will donate €1 to the hospital for every voucher bought in the month of March – a big month as Mother’s Day, St Patrick’s Day and Easter all fall within it.
As part of phase one of the ‘Fix Crumlin’ campaign, families were able to move into new wards just last Thursday. But there is still more to do, and they’re aiming to finish all fundraising by summer 2013.
Professor Owen Smith, who is Professor of haematology and childhood blood disease at Trinity College Dublin and Consultant Paediatric Haematologist in Crumlin, spoke to TheJournal.ie about the campaign.
The total number of beds on the unit is 19. So we opened 12 of those beds at the beginning of last week; the remaining seven beds are now being worked on between now and August of this year. Those beds will be single room en suite, whereas before these children and their families were sharing one room and a lot were using commodes. It was very, very stifling.
He said that the old conditions “took the whole ‘d word’ out of treating cancer – dignity”.
It was awful. I’ve been quoted in the past as saying it was actually third world conditions, and bad third world at that. It was also cramped – two families would share one small room separated by a cotton curtain.
In contrast, these new rooms are bigger, and floor space has doubled. The addition of en suites means that children suffering from the often severe side affects of chemotherapy now have privacy.
The new rooms are built where the old bone marrow transplant part of the ward was. Work on the remaining seven beds was started on Tuesday. “We’re hoping that will be finished by July – that’s the funding that we need to get into the bank to pay off our builders for that,” said Prof Smith.
“When complete it will be a state-of-the-art facility. It also gives us the capacity to increase what we do, increase the number of transplant beds by 50 per cent. Some of our children continue to go to the UK for transplantation because we don’t have proper facilities here in Crumlin,” said Prof Smith.
He added that to the HSE “needs to meet us halfway” in increasing the number of staff, in order to make more Ireland-based transplantation possible. “It will save the country money,” he explained. “Every time a child goes out of country for a transplant, it costs €200 – €250,000.”
The campaign now needs to raise about €3.5 million to construct the remaining beds. One4All will donate €1 for each voucher sold in March. Other ways to donate are to visit the official website, or lo-call 1890 507 508.