Donation helps children escape to a virtual world

Staff from Padua ward with Jessica Miree from TheRockinR with the games console. The console is on a movable trolley and the staff are standing around it, with Jessica kneeling in front - she is wearing a t-shirt with the charity's logo on it
Staff from Padua ward with Jessica Miree from TheRockinR and the games console

Published on 26 February 2021

Poorly children can escape to a virtual world without leaving their hospital bed, thanks to the donation of a purpose-built gaming console.

The device, designed specifically for hospital use so it can be sanitised after use, was purchased for Padua ward at the William Harvey Hospital by Lisah-Jayne Paice, whose daughter Abbie regularly receives treatment there.

Friends, family, and supporters across the world donated to a crowdfunder after Lisah-Jayne appealed for people to send birthday cards to Abbie, who turned 10 during lockdown.

Thousands of people responded, with many also donating money to buy equipment to benefit other youngsters who need to spend time in hospital.

Lisah-Jayne, from Chartham, near Canterbury, said: “We’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who donated. We were able to buy a console for children to play games at their bedside, as well as toys, soft play equipment and a sensory tent.

“It’s a brilliant achievement and we’re so grateful to everyone who has helped make it happen.”

Abbie was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2012 and had three years of treatment. After being well for five years she started to experience symptoms again and has now been diagnosed with excess spinal fluid, which is causing pressure in her head affecting her optic nerves.

Whenever she needs to spend time in hospital, equipment such as games consoles as well as input from hospital play specialists help her deal with the treatment and overcome her fears and anxieties.

Ailish O’Hara, one of the play specialists at the William Harvey Hospital, said the donated items would be hugely beneficial for their young patients.

She said: “The games console has already made a massive difference, and it brings our ward up to speed with the current games and trends so young people can play the games they enjoy and are familiar with.

“We were absolutely delighted to receive the donations from Abbie and her family.”

The console was provided by TheRockinR charity, and is custom-built for a medical environment. It is durable and designed to be easily cleaned, and can be moved around the ward so children who are bed-bound are able to play.