Children’s wards at King’s Variety are given a new look
Image above: [left to right] One of Meghan's consultants, Nick Thomas, Meghan, dad Marc, Rani Kamaran-Nair (ward manager) Image below: [left to right] Dad Marc, Meghan, sister Olivia, mum Sam, sister Charlotte
Marc Frost and his family were terrified when his 13-year-old daughter Meghan was diagnosed with a type of brain tumour called Craniopharyngioma. Meghan had been suffering from headaches that had grown steadily worse over some weeks, but it wasn’t until May 2010 that she was referred from her local hospital in Kent to King’s.
The family had been on holiday in St Lucia, but luckily made it back to the country in time before Meghan’s condition worsened.
‘She was having headaches for a few weeks which were misdiagnosed as migraine, and her eyesight was going a bit funny but the optician missed it as well,’ says Marc. ‘It was only a couple of weeks after being on holiday when everything happened. Meghan had an MRI on the Wednesday evening, and then on Thursday we had a phone call and had to dash straight to King’s.’
Meghan was diagnosed with a benign brain tumour. Treatment is difficult, and if not removed it can cause all sorts of unpleasant side effects. It’s not the sort of thing you expect to happen to your family, but in these circumstances the treatment Meghan received put them all at ease.
‘King’s was really helpful and supportive to me and my family,’ says Meghan. ‘The nurses on Lion Ward were really kind and understanding and the surgeons explained everything. It was worrying for all of us, but they put our minds at rest as much as they could before I had to go into surgery. The staff were so warm and caring, above and beyond what you’d expect.’
Meghan’s brain surgery to remove the tumour took six hours – an incredibly stressful experience for her family, but the operation was a success.
Fundraising for King’s
Meghan is now 19, and since then she and her dad have fundraised extensively for King’s, raising a total of just under £50,000 which is absolutely amazing. Marc has done the King’s skydive, Meghan has held fundraisers in her school, Cobham Hall as well as several other schools and businesses, and both Marc and Meghan have completed the King’s fundraising abseil. They did all this to help improve the care that young patients receive.
Meghan says, ‘We wanted to give something back anyway because they were so kind and helpful, so we thought, “why not raise a bit of money?” We were only aiming for £10,000 originally but ended up raising £50,000.
‘We did the King’s abseil down the front of Golden Jubilee Wing and that raised £10,000, which was purely to buy the 3D interactive distraction unit for Lion Ward. We’ve been to the ward to see it in action, which was very nice.’
The pair have sought corporate sponsorship as well as asking for donations from family, friends and colleagues, and Marc has been touched by people’s generosity.
‘I think Meghan’s story definitely highlighted the work that happens at King’s for a lot of people, since it’s a very personal thing when your child is ill. That was another reason why we were so happy with the treatment we got at King’s.’
Before and after pictures of the ward:
Before and after pictures of the quiet lounge:
Refurbishing Lion Ward and Princess Elizabeth Ward
Meghan and Marc’s fundraising has enabled a complete refurbishment of the Children’s Surgical Wards, Lion Ward and Princess Elizabeth Ward – and both had their grand opening on Friday 15 April. Meghan and her whole family attended, including Meghan’s mum, Sam, and her two sisters, Charlotte and Olivia.
Rani Kamaran-Nair, Ward Manager on Lion Ward, said: ‘Meghan and Marc’s donation really has made a huge difference to the wards and we’re very thankful to them.
‘The new parent’s room is particularly great as it gives families a nice place to relax in and spend some time away from a ward setting.’
The new improvements have been designed and installed by Sound Environments, a company focused on providing cost-conscious solutions to refurbishment.
Life after King’s
Meghan now has diabetes insipidus as a result of the tumour and has lost her peripheral vision and sense of smell. She also gets tired very easily, but that hasn’t stopped her pursuing her dream to work with children, and she is currently completing a Childhood Studies degree at the Canterbury Christchurch University.
‘My choice was definitely inspired by King’s,’ Meghan says. ‘I did my work experience on the same ward where I was treated and also in the fundraising department, so working with children is definitely the area I want to go into, but I haven’t yet decided between teaching, physiotherapy or speech therapy.’
It’s amazing that Meghan and Marc have given so much back to the hospital and we really appreciate all their help.
If you’ve been inspired by their fundraising, you can also sign up to do the King’s abseil this year and support your hospital.