Eye Believe in the Magic of Christmas
£300k Christmas fundraising appeal launched at Birmingham Children’s Hospital
Do you believe in the magic of Christmas? Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity is set to sprinkle some festive cheer with its latest appeal Eye Believe which will make the dreams of the children and families who visit its Eye Department come true this Christmas.
Fronted by brave three and a half year old patient Joe Rosenbach, from Tamworth, the £300,000 fundraising appeal is set to totally transform the Eye Department, doubling the size of the waiting area and adding an exciting interactive play space.
Joe was diagnosed at just 11 weeks old with a rare genetic condition called Familial Exudative Vitreoretinopathy, a disorder which meant he could have lost his eyesight completely if it wasn’t for the specialist care from the Eye Department at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
Still being regularly treated by the hospital, Joe’s condition is now stable but for his parents the initial prognosis of complete sight loss causes constant worry.
Joe is one of over five thousand patients from all over the UK cared for every year by the hospital’s busy Eye Department, treating conditions from sticky eyes and squints to rare and blinding diseases like Joe’s as well as glaucoma and retinoblastoma (cancer of the eye).
With space at a premium the existing waiting room is hot, cramped and overcrowded, with patients, parents and siblings often having to attend multiple appointments on one day – meaning wait times can sometimes be lengthy.
In desperate need of an overhaul, the Eye Believe Appeal is calling for community groups, local businesses, schools and families to transform the department. The refurbishment will allow the charity to extend the waiting room, provide more comfortable seating for mums and dads and introduce a play area with interactive toys and an interactive floor suitable for children with impaired and normal vision. It will also allow for a much-needed buggy park.
Supporting the appeal, Joe’s mum Helen Rosenbach, said: “The doctors and nurses at the hospital are brilliant – they are gentle and patient with Joe and have been so kind to us during our darkest moments. But the department itself wasn’t always the most comfortable place to be. The waiting area was often really crowded making it not the ideal place to spend time with a little one.
“We initially thought Joe would never get to see what I, or his daddy, looked like, but the amazing Eye Department gave him the gift of sight. He now has the chance to enjoy a rich and vibrant life that is full of possibilities despite his condition and I can’t wait to see his face light up when he sees his presents on Christmas morning.”
Dr Joe Abbott, Consultant Paediatric Ophthalmologist at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, added: “Children can get restless and upset when they wait in an enclosed, hot space. With the support of this appeal we can transform each child’s experience so that they enjoy, and look forward to, visits at the Eye Department.
“Some children have literally hundreds of appointments during their childhood and for them the benefit of this appeal will be absolutely enormous. This is why it’s so important that we raise this £300,000 to make a huge difference to children like Joe and have a lasting impact on our families for many years to come. It will be the very best of Christmas presents for the many children we care for.”
There are many ways to support the Eye Believe Appeal to give the children and families who visit its Eye Department the warmest of welcomes all year round.
You can choose from one of 12 festive fundraisers including the popular Jolly Jumper Day on Friday 11 December, a Mince Pie Mingle with friends or work colleagues, or even a Carol-oke for the neighbours.
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