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AD | Alder Hey Children’s Charity + Daniel’s Story

16th September 2019

Dexter spent the first two years of his life living in Liverpool city centre and when he was around 14 months old, he slipped in the bath, cutting open his lip. We were referred by the walk in centre to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital where a team of amazing consultants performed plastic surgery on his lip to minimize the risk of scarring. The care we received at Alder Hey during that traumatic time was second to none and it will always hold a special place in my heart. Today I am highlighting the amazing work Alder Hey Children’s Charity carries out eahc month, as well as Daniel’s story, who is very local to where we live now and without the help of Alder Hey wouldn’t be here today. You may recognise Daniel from the 2018 Matalan PJs campaign!

Daniel’s Story

For the first few years of Daniel Bell’s life, he was like any other toddler, full of energy, happy and full of life at home in Ormskirk, but doctors soon discovered Daniel had a brain tumour the size of a fist.

At aged three, mum Rosalind and dad Colin, had noticed a change in Daniel’s behaviour. He wasn’t the same happy go lucky toddler he used to be. Rosalind explains “His personality literally changed. He was grumpy had lots of tantrums, was sick and went back to sleeping in the day too, which was the total opposite of what he was previously.”

Thankfully Rosalind recognised some of the symptoms of a brain tumour. Daniel was taken to Ormskirk A&E who quickly realised the severity of the situation and Daniel diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Daniel was rushed straight to Alder Hey which is a centre of excellence for brain conditions. “It was like the bottom had fallen out of my world, our lives changed in a split second. We were told he needed to go to Alder Hey right away and we were blue-lighted to Liverpool,” says Rosalind.

Once at Alder Hey, Daniel was taken straight to theatre where Neurosurgeon Ms Sasha Burns drained fluid on his brain during a 3 hour life-saving operation and the next day Daniel’s tumour was removed during a 9 hour operation by Mr Conor Mallucci, who recently featured in BBC2 documentary Hospital.

“Mr Mallucci told us that Daniel had a cystic tumour which was the size of an adult’s fist and there was a possibility of Daniel losing motor and mobility skills as the result of the procedure,” explained Rosalind.

The operation was a success, helped by the use of Alder Hey’s 3-T MRI scanner, a pioneering scanner which allows surgeons to scan the brain in theatre. Alder Hey is the first hospital in Europe to have this kit, which was paid for by Alder Hey Children’s Charity.

“It was 6pm when we heard that Daniel was out of theatre. We were approaching HDU to see him when we heard Daniel shouting at the nurses. I have to admit it was the best sound ever,” said Rosalind. “Mr Mallucci said that the operation ‘went perfectly’ and that he had successfully managed to remove the whole of Daniel’s tumour. We spent 6 days on HDU to recover and then went to the neuro ward for a week. The nurses were incredible,” said Rosalind.

Alder Hey

Rosalind said: “When we got the scans from Oncology which told us that no further treatment was needed it was an amazing relief. I cried a lot after that.”

Daniel is now a healthy and very active little boy and also a budding actor. “Daniel is really happy. He is a cheeky little kid and he loves being with his friends. He has performed in Little Shop of Horrors with his local Performing Arts Club and he loves to raise money for Alder Hey Children’s Charity.”

As a result of his fundraising, Daniel was named a Fundraising Ambassador for Alder Hey Children’s Charity, which made everyone in the Bell family very proud. “I was really emotional when they told us that Daniel was to be an ambassador for the charity. It is an honour and a privilege,” said Rosalind. “Alder Hey is such an inspirational place full of amazing people. The staff put the children first often at the expense of their own time. It is impossible to put into words how world class they are at what they do. We are fortunate to have them on our doorsteps.”

All of the Alder Hey Children’s Charity ambassadors help to raise money for the charity so that it can continue to provide vital funds to provide life-saving medical equipment and facilities that make a real difference to families every day.

Recently the charity installed distraction technology in many rooms to help divert attention away from the treatment or medical examinations that need to be carried out by medical staff, and to entertain young patients with colourful, bright and positive images projected on the walls. This immersive technology helps to transform a white walled room into a magical world where children can escape from reality and be free from fear and anxiety.

Dexter holding a phone sitting in bed next to his brother, pushing his face next to his and giggling

How can you help Alder Hey Children’s Charity?

To be able to continue to provide innovative solutions such as the distraction technology and provide vital funds for Alder Hey, the charity relies on the support and kindness of the public.

There are many fun and exciting ways for people to help and support Alder Hey Children’s Charity such as:

  • hosting a bake sale
  • a charity car wash
  • signing up to a Run for Charity race

Alder Hey Children’s Charity has recently launched a brand-new running hub to inspire and motivate people to run for charity. With delicious recipe ideas, running tips and 5k, 10K, half marathon and marathon training guides, if you’d like to challenge yourself to run a 5K, 10K or even a marathon why not go and check out the Alder Hey Running Hub now?

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