December 2009 CHILDRENS-FUND-FIGHTS-FOR-LIFE
Children's fund fights for life as it move towards £600,000 target for state-of-the-art software

Fight for Life, one of UCLH Charity’s most active children’s funds, has almost reached its £600,000 target to pay for some exciting paediatric radiotherapy software for its linear accelerator.

“RAPID ARC will allow radiotherapy to be targeted more accurately and effectively when children are being treated for cancer at University College Hospital, which also provides the paediatric radiotherapy services to Great Ormond Street Hospital.

“The most innovative aspect of this software is that it enables us to treat children in ten minutes rather than 25” explains Julia Solano, Radiotherapy Services Manager at University College Hospital. “This makes it much more manageable for children and gives us the ability to spare vulnerable areas like the spine and eyes from radiotherapy.

“Being able to minimise the harmful effects of radiotherapy is so very important for the children’s quality of life when they reach adulthood. We’re hugely lucky to have the Fight for Life volunteers supporting us – I don’t know what we would do without them!

” Fight for Life –“The Big Fight for Little People” – was established in 1997 to raise substantial funds every year to maintain the radiotherapy unit treating children at UCH, which opened in London’s Marylebone Road in 2005. As well as providing services to Great Ormond Street Hospital, it is the primary paediatric radiotherapy unit in south-east England. Since Fight for Life began, it has purchased a Radiotherapy Linear Accelerator machine and a PET/CT scanner.

The fund, which is lucky to count celebrities Duncan James, Rachel Stevens and Gary Lineker among its Patrons, also maintains a children’s play area, which is regularly updated with new toys and equipment.

“The children under our care have been treated to the very highest standards and we can now claim in all honesty to be a world-class paediatric cancer treatment centre – second to none” says Fight for Life’s Medical Director, Professor Jeffrey S Tobias,
Consultant in Radiotherapy and Oncology and Professor of Cancer Medicine.

“As far as I am aware, there is no other similar facility anywhere in the UK with such a wide range of expertise and modern equipment.

” The idea for Fight for Life came from its chair, Nikki Benezra, while she was waiting to see her oncologist at the Middlesex Hospital.

“I noticed that young children and adolescents suffering from cancer were facing treatments of radiotherapy and gruelling weeks of chemotherapy in the same facility as adults” she says.

“These poor children often had to wait many months before being seen and treated. I knew then and there that I wanted to do something about this.

“Along with some of my closest friends, I was introduced to Professor Jeffrey Tobias. He told us his dream was to have a dedicated children’s unit, equipped with new toys, computers and games, as well as a play therapist to work with the children during their long visits. However, his ultimate goal was to have a new ‘Linear Radiotherapy Machine’, where children could be treated quickly in a child-friendly environment, which would probably be unique in the whole of Europe.”

You can find out more about how the fund made this dream come true and why the celebrity Patrons decided get involved in this remarkable charity at www.fightforlife.org