A collection of stories from children, young people, parents and carers about their healthcare experiences.
Mellie was diagnosed with anorexia at the age of 12. Four years later she was referred to The Phoenix, a specialist unit for complex eating disorders. The Phoenix will move into Cambridge Children's Hospital when it opens.
Reuben's story: A journey to diagnosis
Whole Genome Sequencing is a vital avenue of exploration for families of children with undiagnosed and complex conditions. At the heart of the new Cambridge Children's Hospital will be our Centre for Genomic Medicine, working to bring hope and answers for families, like Reuben's.
It was March 2021 when Laura’s son Alfie suffered a serious brain injury after being knocked off his bike cycling through his home town of Wisbech. Like so many teenagers, the 15-yr-old was not wearing a helmet, and had been talking through his headphones, when he got hit by a car.
On New Year’s Eve 2018, Niall from Wisbech started chemotherapy at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. It meant huge upheaval for the whole family. However, Niall's mum Claire believes it's important that the region’s first dedicated children’s hospital is built in Cambridge, a place already trusted to provide excellent children's healthcare.
Liam and Jo
Liam grew up in the Cambridgeshire town of March. As a teenager, he struggled with complex mental health challenges, spending many months at The Darwin Centre in Fulbourn. He believes a children's hospital dedicated to treating mental and physical health together will help reduce stigma for young people like him. Thank you, Liam and mum, Jo, for telling your stories.
Drawing on her experience as an inpatient at a specialist eating disorders unit, 23-year-old Summer from Essex has become a passionate advocate for Cambridge Children’s vision of integrated care – where a child’s mental and physical health are treated together.
Olina's story: My life with hidden disabilities
For the best part of a decade, Olina has lived with two hidden disabilities. Over time, through finding the right doctors, taking medication and understanding her limits, she lives a full life. Now 17, Olina, from Cambridge Children's Press Pack, is committed to raising awareness.
The link between mental health and physical health is at the core of the Cambridge Children's Hospital vision. Having a physical condition can have a big impact on how you feel psychologically, and vice versa. As a child, Crown from Luton was diagnosed with a rare disorder, which put a huge strain on her young shoulders. She says having someone ask about her mental health would have given her the chance to open up.
Born with Moebius syndrome, three-year old Charlee Baldwin has facial paralysis and weak upper body muscles which limit her movement. Her parents were told she would never move and she needed to be fed through a tube in her tummy. Now, thanks to a real team effort, not only has she learnt how to roll, sit and hold her head up she is also learning to eat puréed food and has started school.
At 18 months old Tessa Brook was diagnosed with lingual sarcoma, a cancerous mass on her tongue.
Adopting a holistic approach has transformed the care of a severely disabled seven-year-old Cambridge boy.
Cambridge Children’s will combine mental and physical healthcare. Jasmine’s story clearly illustrates why combining this approach is so important for children and young people
Imagine a world where you are sick up to 50 times a day. For 14-year-old Zachery Sayers from Hertfordshire, this had become a daily reality. Zach had been vomiting on and off since he was very young. However, while he had a history of gut reflux, doctors could find no physical cause for the vomiting.
A ten-year-old girl who suffered a stroke is the youngest person to receive life-saving surgery using a newly installed state-of-the-art imaging system in the Interventional Radiology suite at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.
Whole genome sequencing leads to better care for Millie-Mae
Max was born with paralysed vocal cords which restricted his breathing and required a tracheostomy within his first few weeks of life. When it was time to remove the tracheostomy, a small part of 18-month old Max Lee’s rib cage was the key to reconstructive surgery which allowed him to breathe, swallow and communicate on his own.
We’ll understand the person, not just the patient. When Phoebe got sick, it didn’t mean life as she knew it had to stop. It just meant we had to work harder to help her live it.
We’ll treat the child and the adult they’ll become. Precise genomic research will help young adults like Alex stay healthy now — and make sure they’re healthier long into their future.
The importance of treating children as individuals with unique and complex care needs has been highlighted by the mother of a girl recovering from an aggressive brain tumour.
Every child recovers differently. By understanding their individual needs we can help young people like Max feel better quicker.