Image credit to FoodBelfast.com – @FoodBelfast
The restaurant pimp also known as Kevin McGuiness is a restaurant review blogger based in Northern Ireland. His son Thomas was 5 months old when he was admitted to the Bubble and this is his story as told by Kevin :-
In December 2011 after a lengthy period in the Royal Hospital, Belfast, we discovered that our 5 month old son, Thomas, was born without a fully functioning immune system which is a life threatening condition whereby his body could not fight fungal or bacterial infection. Whilst in intensive care, we were informed by the consultants that the only cure for his condition was a bone marrow transplant and one of only two hospitals in the UK and Ireland who could facilitate this procedure, was at the Bubble Unit at the Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle upon Tyne. So with this news, less than 24 hours later and 5 days before Christmas, we flew by Air Ambulance to England.
We were not only trying to come to terms with the fact that our son was fighting for his life , we now had the worry of finding somewhere to live for the foreseeable future. Here we were in a strange city with no family or friends around us and this is when the Bubble Foundation offered us support.
The Bubble Foundation provided accommodation in a block of flats which are specifically to house the parents of children who are in the Bubble and also transport to and from the hospital, with no expense to the parents. The standard transplant can take between 3 months to a year and this support provides a safety net for parents at such a stressful and financially draining time and is very much appreciated. They provide toys, medical equipment and also fund essential research which will enable children like Thomas, to go forward and lead normal, healthy lives.
In total we spent four tough months in Newcastle. Thomas was in isolation during this time, in order to reduce any further infection and we as parents weren’t able to kiss him but only watch as he went through the various stages of the treatment. After 46 days Thomas was allowed to leave his Bubble, the transplant went as well as the doctors could have wanted and Thomas continues to thrive.
The Bubble Foundation recognises that this hard time both emotionally and physically and the services which they provide are invaluable.
To show my appreciation I am organising a fundraising event during Belfast Restaurant Week with myself and John from FoodBelfast taking over the Circle at Deane’s for two nights in October. On the first night we will be cooking a four course meal and will be joined by Michael Deane and on the second night we will be joined by Barry Smyth. Both of these chefs have held Michelin stars for their cooking.
Both nights were fully booked and the total raised was £5454.