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A welcome gift for Evelina London

12.05.16 Categories: Patient stories, Supporter stories, News from the hospital,

Image above: Mum Vikki, Dad Lee, Darci (four), and Alba (one)

The Townsend sisters started fundraising when they were very young. On her first birthday, Alba asked for donations to Evelina London instead of gifts, in thanks for her treatment for pneumonia at the hospital.

Her sister Darci, now four, donated to King’s College Hospital instead of receiving gifts for her first birthday, after some of her friends had received treatment there.

Surprisingly, the two sisters share the same birthday, 22 February, both weighed 8lb 9oz at birth and were delivered by the same midwife. Mum Vikki and dad, Lee, also have the same birthday, on 1 April!

Suffering from a cold

Vikki and Lee here both very worried when Alba’s apparent cold that she had been suffering from developed into her struggling for breath. When they took her to the walk-in centre, they were told Alba just had a chest infection – little did they know they would be going to Evelina London in an ambulance two days later.

Whilst at Evelina London, Alba had to spend two days in an incubator in the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) with constant monitoring by a nurse, and then stayed under observation for a further 48 hours before she was able to go home.

Alba is doing much better now, and Vikki is full of praise for their experience at Evelina London.

‘The nurses were amazing and completed a hospital diary for Alba during her stay. It’s such a lovely idea, and something we've looked back on a few times to remind us of what happened during that week. We were also given a room to sleep in as we lived over a two hour drive away, which was unexpected but massively appreciated.’

A birthday thank you

AlbaAlba’s first birthday happened to be coming up just ten days after she came home from hospital. As a thank you, Vikki and Lee had the idea of asking birthday guests to donate to the hospital instead of buying birthday gifts.

They raised an incredible £350 on the day, plus an extra £100 in online donations. The party venue, Merlin’s at Leysdown, also donated £20. The money went directly to PICU to help other children like Alba.

Vikki says, ‘I hope the girls will be proud when they are older that even at such a young age, they made sacrifices to help others. They still received over 30 presents as well as some from people who chose to donate and buy gifts! Helping in this way is such a positive alternative.’

A rewarding gift

And after Alba’s birthday, the whole family still managed to visit Disneyland as planned – thanks to the care Alba received at Evelina London.

‘I would say to anyone wanting to donate who doesn't have the time to spend on organising a huge fundraising activity, please think about whether your child really needs an additional 20 presents on their birthday, on top of what their family already buys for them.

‘In the longer term, asking for donations to this fantastic hospital would be more rewarding, as you never know when your child may need their services.’

Thank you Vikki, Lee, Alba and Darci! We are so very grateful. If you would like to know more about how to support Evelina London, head over to our fundraising pages.

Image above: Darci