Southampton Children’s Hospital Charity’s robbiesrally fund typifies the passion, commitment and loyalty demonstrated by our patients, their families and friends and supporters who get behind their fundraising events and activities in their droves.
It was set-up in memory of 10-year-old patient Robbie Keville at his request by father Mark and siblings Harry and Lara.
Robbie was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour at the age of eight and, despite the best efforts of medical staff, died aged 10 in February 2016 – four years after losing his mother Kate to breast cancer.
Through a variety of events – from an off-road car rally and 400-mile kayak, to a mega quiz which raised £32,500 and a recent regional run which saw Mark and Harry complete 10 marathons in 10 days – the fund is having a huge impact on developments in clinical care.
It is also boosted by the backing of a number of high-profile supporters, including British adventurer Bear Grylls – the fund’s patron – ITV news anchor Tom Bradby and former Scottish international rugby union star Thom Evans.
In June 2017, the efforts of robbiesrally led to the launch of a pioneering outpatient rehabilitation service – Robbie’s Rehab – for young brain and spinal tumour patients at Southampton Children’s Hospital.
The first member of the team, physiotherapist Kate Gatehouse, focuses on providing care for children once they have been discharged from hospital following treatment.
Currently, rehabilitation for children after neurosurgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment across the NHS is provided while patients remain in hospital but is limited once they return home.
“While treatment has improved recently in terms of saving lives, children who survive generally have more lasting damage as a result of the tumour and its treatment than those afflicted with other forms of cancer,” explained Mark.
“It has been shown that children benefit enormously from follow-on rehabilitation from, among others, neuropsychologists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists for their physical and psychological development.
“However, this treatment is often only available to the most seriously ill children who qualify for an inpatient stay when discharged children are often in very great need of rehabilitation so that they can return to normal lives, fulfilling their potential at home and at school.”
His goal aim is to provide a complete outpatient rehabilitation service – known as Robbie’s Rehab – in partnership with Southampton Children’s Hospital and Southampton Children’s Hospital Charity.
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.
Aabir Chakraborty, clinical lead for children’s neurosurgery at Southampton Children’s Hospital, said: “We are extremely proud of the high level of performance of our unit and excellent outcomes but rehabilitation remains an area in need of improvement nationwide.
“This exciting project, led by such a fantastic group in robbiesrally, will make a huge difference to our young patients, helping them to return to as normal a life as possible. I am proud to be associated with this work and look forward to seeing the benefits for our patients.”
Bear Grylls added: “Incredible pioneering spirit from robbiesrally, changing lives of parents and children affected by brain and spinal tumours. The new Robbie’s Rehab service is a huge step in bringing some comfort and support to those who need it.”
Make a difference today
To make a donation to Southampton Children's Hospital Charity please call 023 8120 8881 or text SCHC00 followed by the amount to 70070.