Thousands of children and young people living with a rare or undiagnosed condition are a huge step closer to being treated in the UK’s first Rare Diseases Centre for children thanks to a massive £69,000 donation.
The substantial sum was donated on behalf of savers with the West Brom building society and means Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity is now more than half way past its £3.65 million Star Appeal target to fund the much-needed national centre.
Treatment for the hospital’s patients with rare diseases is world-class, but many families have to spend a lot of time seeing different specialists on different days in different departments. To change this, the appeal will build a brand new centre that will provide a single place within the hospital for all assessment, diagnosis, treatment and research.
The money donated will help, for the first time, bring together a team of experts from specialities across the hospital all under one roof. It will also go a long way towards reducing family isolation, improving diagnosis and ensuring patients are at the forefront of research and medical advances.
The fantastic figure was raised from the annual proceeds of the building society’s Red Balloon Appeal Account, which was set up specifically to support the hospital and its various fundraising appeals. Customers save through the account and then once a year, the building society pays a sum to the hospital charity based on the average balances held.
James Wright, the West Brom’s Director of Marketing and Distribution, said: “Many of our customers recognise what a vital resource Birmingham Children’s Hospital is to patients and families across the city, and indeed beyond, which is why they choose to save with us through the Red Balloon account.
“The principle behind it is simple – the more people save, the more money we are able to offer in support of hospital appeals.
“In the case of the Star Appeal, it’s clear to see what a huge difference this facility would make and the sooner it is up and running the better.”
Louise McCathie, Director of Fundraising at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, said: “We are thrilled to have reached such a momentous milestone with our Star Appeal and want to say a massive thank you to savers at the West Brom for taking us one step closer to making our patients and families dreams a reality.
“It’s simply incredible that we have surpassed the halfway mark in our £3.65 million appeal, but we still have a long way to go to reach our target. If you are in a position to help us please consider donating, whatever the amount, as this new centre will improve the lives of thousands of children and young people from across the UK who are living with a rare or undiagnosed condition.”
The West Brom is a leading regional building society with 37 branches and 446,000 members. The Red Balloon Appeal Account was launched in 2007 and since then it has raised approximately £683,000 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity.
The Rare Diseases Centre will be housed inside the hospital’s new £37.5 million clinical block, on Whittall Street, along with a brand new combined inpatient and outpatient cancer centre and three new theatres.
For more information visit www.bch.org.uk/StarAppeal or text STAR to 70800 to donate £5 (standard network rates apply).