Wellingborough mum backs £3m children’s hospital appeal

Lisa Francois and her son Aiden
Lisa Francois and her son Aiden

A Wellingborough mum who travels a regular three-hour round trip to Nottingham Children’s Hospital with her young son has backed a major fundraising appeal to raise £3m to benefit young patients at the hospital.

Lisa Francois’s son Aiden, 10, has Steroid Resistant Nephrotic Syndrome which causes significant abnormalities in kidney function.

The appeal was launched by Nottingham University Hospitals Trust Chief Executive Peter Homa abseiling 100ft down the side of the hospital building, along with Nottinghams official Robin Hood.

The appeal was launched by Nottingham University Hospitals Trust Chief Executive Peter Homa abseiling 100ft down the side of the hospital building, along with Nottinghams official Robin Hood.

He currently needs regular albumin infusions and has been in hospital for a month.

While Aiden is in hospital Lisa has to either stay with him or travel a 140-mile round trip from her Wellingborough home.

Nottingham Hospitals Charity has launched its Big Appeal to raise £3m for the Children’s Hospital by 2018, with half the money earmarked for improving accommodation for families like Lisa’s who need to stay with their children at the hospital.

The appeal is also focusing on life-saving research into childhood illnesses and leading edge diagnostic equipment.

Lisa Francois and her son Aiden

Lisa Francois and her son Aiden

Lisa, who looks after Aiden and his younger brother Brandon, four, while working full time, says juggling family life with hospital visits is challenging.

She said: “It is hard because I am a single parent and Aiden’s younger brother started school this September.

“When I am at the hospital with Aiden I have to rely on family members to take Brandon to school but it’s not always possible.

“It’s also hard on Brandon emotionally being away from me for long periods.”

Lisa welcomes plans to improve accommodation for parents and families at the hospital.

She said: “Aiden has his own room at the moment and we have a fold-out bed in the room, but when you are on the open ward it would be nice to have somewhere you could get away.”

Nottingham Hospitals Charity chief executive Barbara Cathcart said: “This appeal will enable us to make a big difference to children like Aiden and their families, many of whom travel from far afield to bring their children to the hospital.

“Families sometimes have to book into costly hotel rooms or sleep on a chair at their child’s bedside which adds to their exhaustion and stress.

“We aim to provide the best possible care for our young patients with up to the minute equipment in a child-friendly environment.”

The appeal will also be raising money for new diagnostic equipment for the hospital and improved, more child-friendly environments.

Those wishing to support the Big Appeal can hold their own fundraising event, or go to the Nottingham Hospital Charity’s donation page or call the Charity team on 0115 962 7905 to make a donation or to volunteer.