People across the region have raised thousands of pounds for the Bubble Foundation since the start of a Journal campaign.
Earlier this month, The Journal highlighted a crisis at the charity caused by dwindling donations.
Within weeks, generous people have been showing they care and more than £17,000 has flooded in to the Foundation since we launched our appeal. Gill Johnston, fundraising manager at the Bubble Foundation, said: “The response to The Journal’s campaign has been fantastic, the people of the North East have not let us down and so far we have received in excess of £17,000.
“This will go some way to enable us to continue to fund toys, educational equipment and Sky TV.
“We know that play is very important in the child’s recovery and now the hospital play specialist and nursery nurses can continue their important work.
“However, we still need to find funds to fund life-saving research and we would sincerely like to thank everyone who has made a donation or is organising an event, and to anyone thinking about it – you will be helping us to save these precious children’s lives.”
Since The Journal’s campaign was launched an anonymous donation of £9,000 was given to the Foundation.
The Bubble Unit at the Great North Children’s Hospital, based at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, is one of only two nationally designated services that treats children with little or no immune system.
More than 20 years ago, the Bubble Foundation was set up in support of the pioneering service, but this is now sadly at serious risk of closure due to a sharp reduction in donations.
The charity funds money for medical research, equipment, toys and educational aids, and if donations dried up it would be of serious detriment to the region.
One youngster who know first-hand the importance of the charity is Robbie Young, from South Shields.
In May this year the 12-year-old underwent a bone marrow transplant at the Bubble Unit.
The twin is now on the road to recovery and is enjoying life with his parents Trisha Oley, Edward Young and siblings Ryan, 12, and Ellie, nine.
If the Bubble Foundation was to cease then it would mean important research into immune system problems may stop and the region could potentially lose leading experts in this field.
In collaboration with Newcastle University, the Foundation gives up to £100,000 per year for research into immune deficiency problems.