A seven-year-old schoolboy who underwent two mammoth operations to remove a brain tumour has raised more than £1,300 for the Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
After recovering from his life-threatening illness, Max Somerset set his sights on a series of fundraising challenges for the Children’s Hospital Charity, including a 5k inflatable obstacle race last month.
At young Max’s request, the money he has raised will go towards the charity’s newly launched appeal for a £2.75m redevelopment of the hospital’s cancer and leukaemia ward.
Max’s mum, Rachel Somerset, aged 38, said they just wanted to say ‘thank you’ to the hospital which saved his life.
She said: “The surgeons and staff at the hospital are amazing. I can never thank them enough for all that they’ve done.
“This is the only way we can ever think of to help others that may be in the same situation.
“Your life just gets turned upside down. We just wanted to help do something just to help us show our appreciation.”
Alongside August’s inflatable run, Max’s school, Wombwell Park Street Primary School, held a sponsored non-uniform day, while the rest of the family held workplace sweepstakes during the World Cup.
“The race was so much fun, we loved it,” said Rachel.
“Max said the moment we finished he wanted to do it again next year.”
It was a all a far cry from last November, when six-year-old Max was diagnosed with a brain tumour after suffering with headaches.
After a trip to the opticians, the family were advised to go to Sheffield Children’s Hospital for a scan.
“At 2am in the morning, the nurse came back and gave us the devastating news that it was a brain tumour,” said Rachel.
“It was such a shock to us all.”
The very next morning, Max underwent a six-hour operation to remove a hydrocephalus, the excess fluid in his brain which had been causing his headaches.
And less than three weeks later, the little boy endured an even longer procedure - a nine-and-a-half hour operation - to remove the brain tumour, during which the hospital’s world-class surgeons succeeded in removing 98 per cent of the growth using a cutting edge ‘3T MRI’ scanner funded entirely by charitable donations.
The cancer and leukemia ward’s £2.75m redevelopment will provide private, en-suite facilities and a properly-sprung parent bed, replacing the current sleeping arrangements of a camp bed or a chair for those wishing to stay by their child’s side.
The plans will also see both the beds and the space increased, so children suffering from cancer - who have among the longest stays in hospital - can recover in a more comfortable environment.
“The new wing is just amazing, it’s so bright and welcoming,” said Rachel.
“The artwork is fantastic and the rooms and wards are so spacious, it will make such a difference to the parents and families that are there.
“It’s the little things that count and you can see so much thought has gone into everyone just to try and make a not-nice situation that little bit better.
“If we could can help to do something similar for the cancer ward, that would be incredible.”
Rachael Thomas, community fundraising officer at the Children’s Hospital Charity said they were ‘really thankful’ to Max and Rachel for raising such an incredible total.
She said: “Transforming the cancer ward has never been more needed and their support will make a real difference as we strive to build a better future for Sheffield Children’s Hospital.”
To find out how you can help build a better future for Sheffield Children’s Hospital by supporting the appeal for a new helipad, expanded emergency department and transformed cancer and leukaemia ward, visit www.tchc.org.uk.