QEHB Charity – Little Heroes Wear Masks
‘To help try and make that process a little bit easier.’
Little Heroes Wear Masks is a scheme running at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Charity, which provides young cancer patients with a personalised radiography mask for every little hero!
What is the Little Heroes Wear Masks scheme?
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham treats over 400 young people with cancer every year and is a centre of excellence for cancer care. The Paediatric Radiotherapy Centre can treat babies from just three months who need radiotherapy treatment.
Treatment can be every single day for up to six weeks. This treatment is grueling on a young patient’s body. Most children have to undergo general anaesthetic to receive their treatment and they must lie incredibly still whilst they receive the anaesthetic, a process that can be extremely stressful for the child and their parents alike.
Many children are required to wear a specially made radiotherapy mask over their head so that the treatment is precise and doesn’t damage any healthy tissue. The mask is rather bulky and clinical as a result children can feel trapped and claustrophobic or even frightened of the mask and the whole experience can be daunting and traumatic. Liam Herbert, Specialist Paediatric Therapeutic Radiographer decided in order to combat their fear he would turn their ‘masks’ into their favourite superhero or character. Liam takes the time to ask the patients about their hobbies and interests and then proceeds to paint each mask individually to suit them. So far, there have been superheroes, princesses and even dinosaurs. An idea as simple as this has really benefited the way children feel about receiving their radiotherapy treatment.
If successful, what will you use your LoveBrum funding for?
The grant would allow the charity to provide a specialist artist to paint the masks, ensuring every mask is completely individual and personalised. On average the unit sees seven children every week which would mean roughly 250 masks could be painted.
Each child is extremely poorly so it would be fantastic to be able to offer them a distraction and something fun and over and above what the NHS can provide whilst in hospital. The benefit that the personalised masks have had on the patients is huge, but it also makes a difference to the family.
Having a child going through cancer treatment is an incredibly hard and difficult time but with the distraction and personalisation that painting the masks can bring to the child, this also makes it easier for the family. Parents can see that their child is less stressed about the treatment they are about to receive and are excited about wearing a superhero or princess mask that they helped to design.
Where can people go to find out more about Little Heroes Wear Masks?
Sophie Carroll, Senior Fundraising Officer
Tel: 0121 371 4852