More than 300 snowflakes light up Sheffield Children’s this Christmas!

16th December 2020

Hundreds of sponsored snowflakes have lit up Sheffield Children’s, helping to raise much-needed funds to redevelop the hospital’s Cancer and Leukaemia ward.

The Children’s Hospital Charity’s much-loved display, established in 2004, brings people together with a shared goal to build a better future for the staff, patients and the families at Sheffield Children’s.

The Charity held its formal switch-on event on Friday evening (4th December). To keep everyone safe from COVID-19, an online event hosted on Facebook and YouTube replaced the traditional in-person gathering for the first time.

The coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing economic uncertainty also saw more communities coming together to support the fundraising.  Streets and suburbs, often brought closer together by lockdowns, formed groups to give what they could.

Two of The Children’s Hospital Charity’s patrons, BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker and Sheffield-born Manchester City footballer Esme Morgan, also backed the appeal by personally sponsoring their own snowflakes.

Made from Sheffield Steel, many of the snowflakes this year have been kindly assembled by volunteers at Lloyds Banking Group.

The Children’s Hospital Charity would also like to place on record our thanks to platform company Elev8, the Estates Management Team at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, Christmas supply company Fizzco and Wentworth Pewter for their invaluable support in ensuring the project’s success.

As well as the Western Bank site, snowflakes supporting Sheffield Children’s can also be found on the Becton Centre for Children and Young People, Crystal Peaks Shopping Centre and Pinstone Street in Sheffield City Centre.

For the first time this year, snowflakes have also spread beyond the city limits, with the Alhambra Shopping Centre in Barnsley generously supporting the fundraising effort.

Together, the appeal has raised over £275,000 to build a new Cancer and Leukaemia ward at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, which is more than 10% of the £2.75m required.

Tchad Western, Chief Fun Officer at The Children’s Hospital Charity said: “The snowflake appeal is always a special one, but after the challenging year we’ve all endured, to see so many people coming together in support of Sheffield Children’s has been awe-inspiring.

“We understand these are difficult times for everyone and we are so grateful to every individual, family, business, community group, school, street and suburb that has united behind our fundraising this year. 

“We have less than 12 months to raise the money for the new Cancer and Leukaemia ward at the hospital, which will change lives for generations and we’re determined no child has to wait a moment longer for that improvement that is absolutely necessary.

“£2.75m seems like a lot of money to raise, but we approach this challenge with a renewed spirit of optimism and hope, having just raised over 10% of the total together. With your support, we can make the dreams of our patients and their families a reality.”

A detailed business case for the redevelopment was approved by the board at Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust last month. Contractors will now be appointed following a tender process, with work expected to be able to begin in April 2021.

A centre of excellence, the Oncology and Haematology department at Sheffield Children’s covers a population spanning an area from South Yorkshire through to Nottingham and Grimsby.

The ward provides treatment for cancer and blood disorders in children from babies through to 19-year-olds in South Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Lincolnshire. It also sees patients from across the UK for chemotherapy, operations, and bone marrow transplants.

It is hoped the new space will be ready in 12 months’ time, yet how much the space can be improved will depend on how much can be raised in the intervening period.

The Children’s Hospital Charity last week revealed a ‘wish list’ for the new single patient bedrooms on the ward. Based on survey feedback from family, patients and staff, it includes:

  • A bespoke wall which can be personalised and made to feel like home.
  • More en-suite facilities for patients and their families.
  • A drop-down table for family meal times.
  • Lights for patients and parents, ensuring that they can read, write or take a break.
  • A TV screen opposite the bed.
  • Internal temperature controls.
  • HDMI sockets for games consoles and computers.

The renewed fundraising drive comes amid ongoing uncertainty. COVID-19 is set to cause significant fall of between £2.5-£3million in The Children’s Hospital Charity’s projected income this year. However, individuals, communities and workplaces have continued to support Sheffield Children’s where they can and every donation makes a difference.

It’s not too late to get involved with your own virtual snowflake. Donate £30 or more and your name will appear on a digital Sheffield Children’s Hospital and you will receive your very own snowflake certificate from Theo Bear to treasure. Visit www.snowflake.tchc.org.uk to get yours.

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