A FAMILY from Livingston has urged people to continue to raise funds for the newly named Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity (ECHC) after revealing how it helped them to cope in their time of need when their daughter fell seriously ill.
At just one and a half years old, Kevin and Amanda Calder’s daughter Layla spent two weeks in the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh hospital with where she was diagnosed with Encephalitis and Guillain-Barre Syndrome.
During this time, Layla’s parents, experienced first-hand the vital work that ECHC does for young patients and their families and has commended the charity for enabling the family to have a more positive hospital experience.
His praise comes as it was revealed the ECHC has become the new name for the Sick Kids Friends Foundation – and the move coincides with the decision to rename the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, which the charity has supported for 25 years, as the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People (RHCYP) when it relocates to a new purpose-built building in early 2018.
Kevin added: “I can’t imagine how much more difficult hospital experiences would be without the work of the ECHC.
“We are keen fundraisers for the charity. I have even done 11 Tough Mudders and several obstacle courses. We want to do whatever we can so we can say thanks to all the staff and volunteers.
“I think the name change is refreshing and a welcome change. I will continue to support the charity as much as I can and hope to raise further awareness of the fantastic work that they do – and in turn hopefully that will encourage others to do the same.”
Roslyn Neely, CEO of the ECHC, said: “Through the amazing support and fundraising of many, many people, we’ve supported the work of the Edinburgh Children’s Hospital for 25 years. But with the hospital changing to a new name, we felt this would be a positive opportunity to also update our own name.
“Aside from our name, nothing will change in terms of the work that we do. We continue to be a grant giving organisation which exists to transform the experiences of children and young people in hospital so that they can be a child first and a patient second.
“The clinical work of the hospital is world class and often ground-breaking. However, we rely completely on the public for all our donations and we still need support to help us provide the magical extras to benefit the hundreds of thousands of babies, children and young people who will be patients over future decades.”
Kevin said: “We wanted to ensure someone was with Layla at all times and thanks to ECHC either Amanda or myself was able to stay with her.
“Living in Livingston, this wouldn’t be possible without the use of the PJ’s Loft parent’s accommodation, which the charity supports.
“Even the little things they do like giving gifts to the children after having a blood test completely changes the experience for the child. What would normally be a very traumatic experience is put at ease as they know a reward is coming.
“The work the charity does is really fantastic, what they give parents and children is such a lift and really takes the pressure off either financially or emotionally.”
The ECHC rebrand will better reflect the changes at the new hospital, which will now treat young people up to the age of 16 – previously it was up to 13 years – as well as providing child and adolescent mental health services.
The charity recently reported it had had a record-breaking 2016, smashing its target for donations to soar past the £1.8m mark, as well as paying out £3,180,815 in grants – the largest amount ever paid in one year.
The majority of the £3million donated has been used to fund a package of art and therapeutic design projects at the new hospital at Little France – the largest programme of its kind in the UK.
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