£4m appeal to transform Birmingham children's cancer unit

30-year-old facility to be revamped in bid to boost care for children and young people

Birmingham Children’s Hospital has launched a £4m appeal to transform the ward environment for young cancer patients.

The Children’s Cancer Centre Appeal will help to improve the lives of the 3,000 patients who are treated at the hospital every year.

The appeal will fund the transformation of facilities and accommodation, including increasing the space around patients’ beds, providing better communal areas for families, and improving the outpatients area.

Eight-year-old cancer patient, Abigail Alessi from Walsall, is being treated for Ewings Sarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer, and her image is being featured on appeal billboard posters around the city. Her father, Marchello, said: “We spend most of our time on the cancer unit and although the care is excellent, the environment is cramped and dull with little privacy at those difficult times. It would be great to have a new unit that gives children and families all the space they need as well as being more cheerful.”

Commenting on the current unit, which is more than 30 years old, Sarah-Jane Marsh, the hospital’s chief executive, said: “Our young patients with cancer are some of the sickest children and young people in the region. Some stay with us for up to a year, and many more visit the hospital regularly throughout their childhood, so it’s really important that we provide them with the best experience possible.

“Our existing ward and outpatient areas desperately need upgrading, but we can’t do it without the support of local people.”

She added that young people and their families would be asked to help choose the interior design theme for the new unit. Early options include ‘water world’, ‘jungle’, ‘race track’ and ‘outer space’.

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