A charity fund which supports services for young brain and spinal tumour patients at Southampton Children’s Hospital has unveiled a new ambassador.
Tom Bradby, presenter of ITV’s News at Ten, has joined robbiesrally, which is part of Southampton Children’s Hospital Charity, and was set up in memory of 10-year-old patient Robbie Keville at his request by father Mark and siblings Harry and Lara.
He becomes the second prominent national figure to back the cause after British adventurer Bear Grylls became patron in May last year.
Robbie, who lost his mother Kate to breast cancer when he was six, was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour at the age of eight and, despite the best efforts of medical staff at Southampton Children’s Hospital, he died two years later in February 2016.
Since then, fundraisers led by Mark, Harry and Lara have been leading a campaign to launch a pioneering outpatient rehabilitation service – Robbie’s Rehab – for brain and spinal tumour patients in partnership with Southampton Children’s Hospital and Southampton Children’s Hospital Charity.
The service will be launched formally on 28 August at Southampton General Hospital when Mark and Harry finish ‘robbiesregionrun’, a fundraising event which will see them run 10 marathons in 10 days around all of University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust’s partner hospitals across the south.
The first member of the team, physiotherapist Kate Gatehouse, started earlier this month and will focus on providing care for children once they have been discharged from hospital following treatment.
“We are proud and delighted to announce that Tom has joined robbiesrally as an ambassador,” said Mark, who began fundraising in 2015 with an off-road car rally in ill-suited vehicles.
“We very much look forward to his advice and counsel as we grow and consolidate the charity’s work.”
The children’s neurosurgery unit in Southampton sees around 300 patients a year with a range of brain conditions and is among the country’s top performers, with a survival rate of 98.8% against a national average of 93.3%.
Mark added: “We know from our experience what amazingly talented staff there are in children’s neuro in Southampton and it was Robbie’s wish for us to continue to support them in providing the best services for patients.”
Southampton Children’s Hospital Charity enhances the care and treatment of young patients by raising funds to support areas that lie beyond the scope of NHS funding. For more information on robbiesrally, visit www.facebook.com/robbiesrally or www.robbiesrally.com.