South Shields youngster's life was saved by pioneering Bubble Unit

Little Robbie Young is one of the many reasons why people in the North East should get behind our campaign to raise money for a world-renowned unit

Patient Robbie Young from South Shields with his parents
Patient Robbie Young from South Shields with his parents

Little Robbie Young is one of the many reasons why people in the North East should get behind our campaign to raise money for a world-renowned unit.

Today The Journal has launched a campaign to raise vital funds for the charity linked to the region’s Bubble Unit.

The Bubble Foundation raises money for medical equipment, toys, educational aids and funds research into immunity problems.

A year ago, 12-year-old Robbie was given the shock diagnosis that he had non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system.

The twin, from South Shields, had to undergo six cycles of gruelling chemotherapy that damaged his immune system.

In May the youngster underwent a bone marrow transplant at the Bubble Unit at the Great North Children’s Hospital, which is based at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary. Robbie 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.

Mother-of-three Trisha, 49, said: “Our world was turned upside down when Robbie was diagnosed with his illness.

“When Robbie was in the Bubble Unit it was hard because you could have no facial contact with him and, as a mum, it was difficult not to hug him.

“I was terrified to go into the unit but the staff make you feel so comfortable and put us all at ease.”

Following his bone marrow transplant, Robbie was kept in isolation for three months and, although he is back home, he still cannot go into crowded places.

The South Shields Community School pupil continues to receive treatment and attends the unit each week.

Robbie has even been fundraising for the Bubble Foundation by selling items that he has made.

He said: “I am feeling OK and I miss playing with my friends. But all the staff at the unit are nice and I want to raise money.”

His father Edward, 47, is backing The Journal’s campaign.

He said: “It is important that people are aware of what goes on in the Bubble Unit and how important it is.”

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