Charity fundraising group KATCH has presented £19,000 to the paediatric intensive care unit at Bristol Children’s Hospital as a thank you for the care it gave to schoolgirl Alice Strange.
KATCH (Kilimanjaro Ad-venture Towards Children’s Hospital) was set up by her parents Nicola and Paul Strange, from Cherhill, 14 months ago, involving friends and other family members.
Alice was eight when she was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2009. She has now finished treatment.
In October, eight members of the group completed a sponsored climb up Kilimanjaro, African’s highest mountain.
They have also organised events, including a barn dance and quiz night, but last week’s presentation, at the Black Horse in Cherhill, marked the end of their fundraising activities.
The money has been given to the official charity for the Bristol Children’s Hospital, named Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal, to help buy an intraoperative MRI scanner costing £1.5million.
The donation is the first towards the equipment, which will be the first of its kind in the south of England, and means children can be scanned and operated on at the same time.
Mrs Strange said: “It was nice when they told us what they were buying. If it helps one child, it’s worth it.
“We have all got on really well as a team. I think we’re all quite glad it’s over because meeting every week to discuss fundraising is a big commitment.”
Leukaemia nurse specialist Jamie Cargill, who accepted the cheque on behalf of the hospital, remembers meeting Alice and her family when she was on the unit.
He said: “It’s not until you see the whole community that you really realise what effect the diagnosis of a child with leukaemia can have.
“We don’t often see children when they’re well, it’s lovely.
“Sometimes all you see is the trauma of children being unwell, but this is what happens at the end.”
Lauren Vincent, fundraising manager for Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal, said: “We are so grateful and so impressed by the group’s commitment to fundraising.
“I have never known a group do so many different fundraisers and the fact that it will directly help children like Alice is fantastic.”