“I made some nice friends in hospital…it wasn’t a sad time”
Hughie Higginson was just 10 years old when, in September 2020, he was told his sore legs and weight loss were down to acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
Although his prognosis was scary (Hughie’s family knew someone who had died from leukaemia) he has some happy memories from his time in hospital, thanks to the Play team and medical staff who go above and beyond for our young patients.
Hughie, like many patients who come to our hospitals, felt the caring staff and families and patients on the ward became close friends during his stay. And even now when he has treatments on the daycase unit, he loves seeing his favourite people and catching up.
He said: “The Play team and all the staff make the ward feel like family. It’s sounds strange if you haven’t been through it, but I did miss them when I wasn’t an inpatient anymore. They do so much to try and make hospital a happier experience.”
Here, Hughie gives us a little tour and shows us what a typical hospital visit is like…
One of the most special times at our children’s hospital for Hughie was his chance to play outside on the roof top play area. Having been admitted overnight and during the Covid pandemic, Hughie hadn’t seen anything of outside the hospital, or been able to explore much beyond his own bay.
He said: “In total I was in hospital for six weeks – two weeks before they diagnosed me and four weeks afterwards. Because of the Covid restrictions I could only have one parent with me at a time and they used to switch every week. It was sad not seeing anyone else, but we talked on the phone a lot and I waved out the window to people who came to the car park to see me.
“I remember the first time I went up the rooftop play area. I’d been in hospital about five or six weeks at that point. I wasn’t well enough to leave the hospital, so it was such a nice feeling being outside again but knowing I was safe and still in the hospital.”
In November 2023 he received the exciting news there was no more leukaemia present in his blood. Now Hughie is on the mend and hopes to finish his treatment in early 2024. Since feeling better he has started a new fundraising challenge with his best friend Freddie, running 1km around football pitches across the country to raise money. And this summer, the busy pals also helped us launch our rooftop play appeal. This special project will see the rooftop play area completely made over and modernised, after more than 14 years of use by our patients.
Whether you choose to support the rooftop or play services in general, you’ll be making a real difference to thousands of poorly children at Christmas and throughout the year.
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About Manchester Foundation Trust Charity
Manchester Foundation Trust Charity supports continuing excellence in treatment, research and care in our family of hospitals across Manchester and Trafford, comprising:
Manchester Royal Infirmary | Wythenshawe Hospital | Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital
Manchester Royal Eye Hospital | Saint Mary’s Hospital | Manchester University Dental Hospital
Withington Community Hospital | Trafford General Hospital | Altrincham Hospital
North Manchester General Hospital
As a charity our mission is simple: to support the excellence in treatment, research and care we provide to the 2.5 million patients who are treated by our hospitals each year. We want to make a real difference to the people we treat – young and old – by making sure that they continue to receive the very best treatment in the very best facilities.
Your support today could make a real and lasting difference this Christmas and all year round.