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meet-up with… GOSH Charity’s Laura Savory

Last week, the MT Finance football team laced up their boots and took to the pitch in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity. Playing against rivals Enra Specialist Finance – whose chosen cause was Spread a Smile – the match made for a thrilling 60 minutes of live sport. It was a tough game and – despite our best efforts – Enra came out victorious with a score of 5-0.

Thanks to some incredibly generous donations, our joint appeal with Enra saw us raise over £20,000 which will be split equally between both charities. We’re so grateful to those who have contributed, as is everyone at GOSH Charity. We caught up with Deputy Director of Fundraising, Laura Savory, to talk Christmas on the wards, their festive campaign, and how your money will help.

 

GOSH has been treating sick children since 1852 but it is more than ‘just’ a hospital. Can you tell us about the incredible work – and research – it does?

“From the early beginnings of a 18th century townhouse to becoming one of the world’s leading children’s hospitals, GOSH treats children with some of the rarest and most complex conditions. It has 63 specialised services, the widest range of services on any one site in the UK, and is also the largest paediatric centre for intensive care, cardiac surgery, and children’s cancer services.

“As the hospital approaches its 170th birthday next February, the incredible work of the staff is highlighted by its vision: the child first and always and breakthroughs are continuously celebrated. Over the last year, the UK’s first dedicated Sight and Sound Centre supported by Premier Inn for children with sight and hearing loss was opened. One building is now home to specialist outpatient facilities for the Audiology and Ophthalmology departments, with a carefully designed layout that means children don’t have to navigate confusing hospital corridors during their visit. The centre also includes state-of-the-art soundproofed booths for hearing tests, an eye imaging suite, dispensing opticians, and other testing facilities.

“Research is another huge area of focus for both the hospital and GOSH Charity, which is the UK’s largest dedicated charitable funder of child health research. The Zayed Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children, which opened in October 2019, brings together pioneering research and world-leading clinical care to drive new tests, treatments, and cures for children with rare and complex diseases from lab bench to bedside. Highlights include the neurogenetic team identifying a number of disease-causing genes, including those causing childhood dystonia, onset dystonia-parkinsonism and many more, while the Craniofacial research group have undertaken life-saving research and surgery, supporting GOSH patients like Mela. You can read more about Mela’s story here.”

 

Along with Enra Specialist Finance, we’re proud to be supporting GOSH Charity’s Christmas Appeal which is helping get seriously ill children one step closer to home. How will the donation help this?

“Every child should have the chance to be at home with their families for Christmas Day. By donating to GOSH Charity this Christmas, you’ll be helping fund vital resources and support that GOSH needs to get seriously ill children like Henry (who’s been animated in our Christmas film) one step closer to home.

“You’ll also be helping bring Christmas to the hospital for those children whose treatment needs to continue over the festive season and fund important services for GOSH staff working to care for the children. GOSH has Europe’s biggest Play team and your funds will help enable them to bring the magic of Christmas to many patients during this festive season.”

 

And what – or who – inspired the theme of this campaign?

“Helping to support the seriously ill children who arrive at GOSH every single day for life-changing treatment is at the heart of everything we do. Christmas is a time of togetherness and the dedicated teams at GOSH go above and beyond to help as many children get home to their families as possible. For those children whose treatment needs to continue over the festive season, the staff work exceptionally hard to bring the magic of Christmas to the wards, to help families create special memories together.

“We are continuously inspired by the GOSH patients and their families who show amazing strength in the face of adversity. Henry, aged four, who receives treatment for a rare cardiac condition, is the star of GOSH Charity’s Christmas Appeal, featuring in the ‘One Step Closer to Home’ animation where we follow his magical journey home. Having spent two Christmases at GOSH, Henry and his family are very excited about spending Christmas at home together this year.”

 

What is the best part about Christmas at GOSH?

“The hospital is transformed at Christmas time with all the staff going to huge lengths to make sure that everyone has a special time. Decorations line the corridors, the staff wear Christmas hats and sing songs, and the hospital’s Play team organise lots of fun Christmas activities to do with the patients – Father Christmas himself even pays a special visit!”

By donating to Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity this Christmas, you’ll be helping fund vital resources and support that GOSH needs to get seriously ill children one step closer to home. GOSH patient Adriana, who was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in August 2020, spent last Christmas in the hospital recovering from a bone marrow transplant. She says: “I got lots of presents and everyone really looked after us.” Her mum, Raimonda adds: “The staff did all they could to make sure we had a special time. There were lots of decorations and Adriana got so many presents.” This extraordinary hospital has always depended on charitable support. So, if you’d like to donate, you can do so here. Your generosity will go towards giving seriously ill children the best chance to fulfil their potential.

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