CHILDREN who complete their cancer treatment at hospitals in Basingstoke and Winchester can now ring an end-of-treatment bell to mark the special occasion and ring in the next chapter of their lives.
Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, with the organisation End of Treatment Bells, has installed bells on the children’s wards at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital and Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester, giving young patients at the end of their chemotherapy plans the chance to celebrate.
When patients ring the bell, with the help of their families and staff who cared for them, they recite the poem: “Ring this bell Three times well, It’s toll to clearly say My treatment’s done, This course is run, And I’m on my way.”
Six-year-old Tyler was the first patient to ring the newly-installed bell at Basingstoke Hospital, after nearly three-and-a-half years of treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, a type of blood cancer.
Tyler was diagnosed in February 2015, and he has undergone often daily chemotherapy.
The special moment was shared with staff from the Trust’s child health team, many of whom have been involved in Tyler’s care over the years, as well as his mum and granddad.
Mum Carrie said: “Hearing that your child has cancer are the words that every parent fears the most. It’s been a really long journey and it hasn’t quite sunk in that Tyler has finished his treatment, but we’re really happy to hear that bell ring!
“He’s such a strong little boy and I am so proud of him. I am really looking forward to watching him experience life in the same way his friends do, being able to play and enjoy being a normal six year old.”
And she added: “The staff have all been amazing, I can’t thank them enough for the support they have given us.”
Alex Whitfield, chief executive at the Trust, said: “I’m proud that as a trust we were rated as outstanding by the Care Quality Commission for the care we provide, and the end-of-treatment bells are just one of the ways we are striving to always deliver outstanding care for our patients.
“It is great that our younger cancer patients can now celebrate and mark the end of their treatment plans in this way. It is really special and we are thankful to the individuals who sponsored the bells.”
Ms Whitfield added: “Our staff are there to help patients and their families every step of the way, and the bell is a wonderful way to share in some of the good moments together.”