The brother of a patient at Southampton Children’s Hospital has donated £38,000 towards a £1.7 million refurbishment of children’s cancer unit Piam Brown.
Hugo Cordle, 22, ran the London Marathon in April to raise the amount for Southampton Children’s Hospital Charity – part of Southampton Hospital Charity – which put him in the top 1% of fundraisers at the event.
His brother, Freddie, now 15, was diagnosed with blood cancer acute lymphoblastic leukaemia at the age of five and, after receiving treatment under the care of clinicians in Southampton, he was given the all-clear in 2010 and discharged fully in May.
“This is a charity of huge importance to our family as it is where my younger brother was treated for leukaemia and they saved his life,” said Hugo.
“It was a truly horrid thing to see my little just five-year-old brother wired up to all these tubes and stuck in hospital. I shall never forget that day, it changed my life completely.”
He added: “This year marks ten years on from Freddie’s diagnosis and I thought what better way to celebrate than to take some full-on proper exercise and raise some money in the meantime.
“It coincided with the Piam Brown unit being totally refurbished; I went to the opening and it is so different to when Freddie was there – it is amazing. It gives children and their families more comfort and privacy, which is so important when you are in hospital.”
Initially launched as a £1.13 million refurbishment solely by University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, it was later extended to incorporate an additional £550,000 achieved through a fundraising drive led by Southampton Hospital Charity.
As a result, in addition to the planned works, which included a new bathroom, eight single beds with en-suites, a new toilet and wet room for parents and refurbishment of corridors and bays, the unit now has a new two-bed bay as well.
The charitable funds also covered a new disabled toilet, storage facilities, consultation and quiet rooms, waiting area and a kitchen for parents – with all designs developed in collaboration with current and former patients and their families.
The additional beds provided by the refurbishment offer the potential for the unit to take part in more clinical studies and the opportunity for children from outside the region to come to the hospital for novel immunotherapy trials which are not available in other centres.
Hugo said: “I am so pleased people donated so generously to me to support this fantastic refurbishment and expansion.
“I can’t imagine what life would have been like if Bodie, my nickname for Freddie, had not made it through.
“Mum isn’t so keen on this but, last year, I had a tattoo of the date Freddie finished his treatment. It means that much to me.”
Jeneen Thomsen, head of major gifts at Southampton Hospital Charity, said: “Hugo has raised such a huge amount of money for this cause – we cannot thank him and those who supported him enough.”