Care for children with liver disease is set to be transformed if a new fundraising drive raises one and a half million for King’s College Hospital.
King’s College Hospital Charity launched the Transforming Liver Care (TLC) appeal last week to raise funds for cutting-edge equipment, improve care, and provide support for them and their families.
Today, more children than ever are surviving serious liver disorders – 94 per cent – in part due to the specialist care given at King’s Paediatric Liver Centre.
Children with chronic liver disease face physical challenges but can also be affected by long-term mental health and educational needs.
Some experience mental health problems, lower IQ, and a higher rate of learning disabilities. More than thirty per cent will need specialist education support.
The charity hopes funds can be used to help overcome these problems and help children recover and live healthier, happier and more productive lives.
In 2018, seven-year-old Liam Hills was diagnosed with liver cancer. Doctors at other hospitals told his mother, Sarah, nothing more could be done for him – until they came to King’s.
“To find out that your child has cancer, to see him get really poorly and then to be told that nothing further can be done for him is unimaginable but King’s were different,” she said.
“They said they were going to try to fight for Liam and as soon as we got here we felt instantly reassured.
“We felt we were treated like real people, not numbers. Everyone took time out of their day to talk to us, explain everything to us, even finding us somewhere to stay.
“It’s never easy being far from home and they know that.
“People really went out of their way to do nice things for Liam; to make him feel happy.
“We really feel like we’ve been treated with love.
“When we realised that Liam was going to need a full transplant I was really scared.
“It’s a big deal but I trusted the surgeons. They all wanted to do Liam’s operation – they all wanted to help my son.
“To me that speaks volumes. It just goes to show what a special place King’s is and what a massive difference a hospital like King’s can make.”
Liam was given a successful transplant, and after just two days was transferred from the high dependency unit and looking forward to getting home in time for his eighth birthday.
Corporate medical director for Paediatrics at King’s and head of the Children’s Liver Centre, Professor Anil Dhawan, said: “The service we provide in the King’s Paediatric Liver Centre is the largest comprehensive service of its kind.
“We treat 3,000 children from across the UK and have the best long-term survival rates, thanks to the incredible work that’s carried out.
“However, there’s still more that can be done and this campaign will help fund ground-breaking research, buy essential equipment and improve the environment for patients and their families.”
For more information and to support the appeal, visit: www.supportkings.org.uk/tlc