At the event, held during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, leading paediatric neurosurgeons showed the plans for the new facility to current and past patients and families, as well as local people and businesses who are helping raise money for the project.
The Big iMRI Appeal, run by Nottingham Hospitals Charity, is raising £1.2m towards the new intra-operative MRI machine, which will be used during children’s brain tumour surgery to help surgeons accurately remove as much of their patients’ tumours as possible. Thanks to its supporters, the Charity has so far raised £600,000 for the iMRI – halfway to its target.
Paediatric Neurosurgeon, Donald MacArthur, explained: “It is incredible to think that with modern treatment 70 percent of children can be cured of their brain tumours. Using an MRI during operations, or what we surgeons call an intra-operative i-MRI, is a significant benefit as it can help us completely remove tumours whenever there is the possibility of doing this, as well as limit the impact of surgery on our young patients.”
Along with a new display of the iMRI plans, families and supporters joined the neurosurgery team, Nottingham Hospitals Charity’s Chief Executive Barbara Cathcart and Children’s Hospital Director Stephanie Smith in each dedicating a toy arrow which the Children’s Hospital’s Robin Hood mascot ‘fired’ at the Big iMRI Appeal’s £1.2 million target. The Charity has so far raised half of its target for the project, raising £600,000 in the first six months of the appeal.
Nottingham Children’s Hospital is based at the Queen’s Medical Centre and is the leading regional centre for children’s neurosurgery, where over 1,000 MRI scans are carried out on children each year, including those with life-threatening brain cancer.
Local families whose children have been treated for brain tumours at Nottingham Children’s Hospital have backed the fundraising appeal for the new iMRI suite.
One-year-old Oliver Swift, from Arnold, Nottingham, was diagnosed with a brain tumour at just five months old. He was admitted to Nottingham Children’s Hospital in January 2018 after doctors discovered a large tumour, taking up almost half the left hand side of his brain.
After surgery performed by Donald MacArthur and his team, Oliver spent three weeks recovering on the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit and was discharged in February 2018. Oliver is currently undergoing chemotherapy, and the last MRI showed the tumour had shrunk by 20%.
His mum Charlene says: “Oliver is a very jolly little boy and the doctors are amazed at the recovery he has made. He can wave his arms and wriggle and move which is wonderful. I am very supportive of the Big iMRI Appeal and know that it could help children like Oliver in the future.”
Barbara Cathcart, Chief Executive of Nottingham Hospitals Charity, which is leading the Big iMRI Appeal, explained: “The appeal for the iMRI is part of an important partnership between Nottingham Hospitals Charity and the University of Nottingham. Between our two organisations we are aiming to raise £2.8 million to provide the state-of-the-art iMRI.”