THEY have been pounding the pavements for months as they prepare for one of the biggest challenges of their lives, and now GOSH Charity can officially announce that the Team GOSH runners taking part in this year’s TCS London Marathon will be raising money to build a new Children’s Cancer Centre at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).
With event day just weeks away, GOSH Charity, the 2023 TCS London Marathon Charity of the Year, hopes to raise £3.5m for the Build it. Beat it fundraising appeal, to build a world-leading Children’s Cancer Centre for children across the UK and beyond.
The iconic event is just the start of what will be the biggest fundraising appeal in GOSH Charity’s history, with the organisation hoping to raise £300million to help support transformation in children’s cancer care and save more lives.
Every day, five families in the UK receive the devastating news that their child has cancer, and this is the start of an extremely challenging journey. (CRUK, 2023) The Children’s Cancer Centre will be a state-of-the-art building, caring for children with some of the most complex and difficult-to-treat cancers. Designed with the needs of children and families at its heart, it will support every aspect of care for children and their families, from diagnosis to remission.
The centre will have new inpatient wards, intensive care units, new operating theatres and a cancer daycare centre where children can receive their chemotherapy treatment, meaning the hospital’s specialist teams can all work more closely together in the same part of the campus. Alongside the clinical services, the Children’s Cancer Centre will also feature a new hospital school and outdoor spaces including a roof garden, to make sure children can still be children while they are going through their treatment.
GOSH already treats the highest number of children with cancer in the UK, with a long history of pioneering medical advances and breakthroughs in cancer care. While investment in research and treatment has significantly improved survival rates, cancer remains the most common cause of death in children aged one to 14 (CRUK, 2023), with some forms of cancer only having a 2% survival rate. (DIPG, 2023)
To launch the Build it. Beat it appeal, GOSH Charity has released a special film depicting the stories of four families who have been treated at GOSH; seven-year-old Archie, three-year-old Yumna, four-month-old baby Ralphie, and baby Max who sadly passed away from a malignant rhabdoid tumour just before his first birthday.
Three-year-old Yumna was diagnosed with stage four high-risk neuroblastoma in December 2021 just days after her second birthday. She immediately started intensive chemotherapy treatment before having surgery in 2022 to remove the tumour. Yuma is now having targeted immunotherapy, using the immune system to fight the cancer, which she will be having until April.
Salma Bibi, Yumna’s mum said:
“When Yumna was diagnosed, I just felt numb. Cancer hadn’t touched our family before, so we didn’t really know anything about it – we were just in complete shock.
“I had always heard about Great Ormond Street Hospital but didn’t know much about it – you hope you’ll never have to. But the support Yumna and my family have received has been amazing, the staff see you through the toughest times and do everything they can for you.
“The treatment has been gruelling for Yumna, but we are hoping for the best and are so grateful for everything the hospital has done for us. The Children’s Cancer Centre will be incredible. Speaking from experience, you spend a lot of time in the room with your child, so even things like having more outdoor space to have a five-minute breather would make a huge difference.”
Actor Sophie Okonedo, CBE, who provided the voice-over for the film, said:
“Great Ormond Street Hospital has already done so much to improve outcomes for children with cancer but needs more space to continue finding pioneering treatments and cures. That’s why I am so proud to be supporting GOSH Charity’s Build It. Beat It appeal to help build a new Children’s Cancer Centre.”
Louise Parkes, GOSH Charity’s chief executive, said:
“GOSH has been at the forefront of children’s cancer care for years, but it needs a new home for breakthrough treatments and pioneering research to benefit children from all over the world.
“It is devastating that cancer is still the leading cause of death in children, but building on decades of research and clinical expertise, the Children’s Cancer Centre has the potential to help change this. That’s why we are thrilled to be launching the Build it. Beat it appeal to help build a game-changing new facility that will help beat childhood cancer. As someone taking on the TCS London Marathon myself, it is so motivating to be running for such an incredible cause, but to make our vision of the Children’s Cancer Centre a reality, we need your help. We are calling upon the public to support the appeal and help us save more children’s lives.”
To find out more about the Children’s Cancer Centre at GOSH and help save more lives, please visit: gosh.org/cancer.