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Christmas wonderland for children’s cancer service

Brainbow, the Addenbrooke’s-based rehabilitation service for children and young people with brain tumours, teamed up with Lapland UK to give families a winter wonderland Christmas party.

Brainbow Christmas party 2022

More than 50 families from across the East of England joined in the festivities at Lanwades Hall, near Newmarket.

It was the first face-to-face Christmas party the service has held since before the Covid pandemic.

The day featured lots of fun, games, and gifts for every child. Special guests included Father Christmas, elves, reindeer and Mrs Claus supervising the gingerbread.

Also offering support were Cambridge University Hospitals’ chairman, Dr Mike More, and representatives from the charities that partner and fundraise for Brainbow - Anna’s Hope, Tom’s Trust and the Joshua Tarrant Trust.

Brainbow Christmas Party 2022

Brainbow was founded in 2013 and offers a rehabilitation service to children and young people with brain tumours alongside support for families.

It’s made up of a multi-disciplinary team which includes physiotherapy, speech, language and occupational therapy, clinical psychology and education, and is led by paediatric oncologist, Dr Amos Burke.

Brainbow Christmans Party 2022
Sophia Lofthouse, aged 8, at the Brainbow Christmas party.

Eight year old Sophia Lofthouse travelled with her mum Christina to the party, from her home in Rushmere, near Ipswich.

Sophia was diagnosed five years ago with a type of brain tumour called a pilocytic astrocytoma.  Christina said:

"They put her in a coma and I had to go and give her kiss goodbye. They didn’t know at that point if they could do anything."

Surgery was a success, but Sophia now needs a feeding tube and suffers from cognitive delays.

Brainbow Christmas Party 2022

Dr Amos Burke said:

“We are extremely grateful to have held our first face-to-face party in three years and we thank all those who helped to make it happen. It was a wonderful experience for all the children and their families!”

Providing this kind of wrap around support underpins the new Cambridge Children’s Hospital (opens in a new tab), which will be a world first in caring for children’s physical and mental health together, as well as being the first dedicated hospital for children in the East of England.

This ‘whole child’ approach will combine with research into prevention and early diagnosis for diseases, providing the very best care for children and young people aged 0-19, including those with cancer.

Artist's impression of Cambridge Children's Hospital
Cambridge Children's Hospital

Here in Cambridge, we are already changing the lives of children and families across the East of England, thanks to advanced genomic medicine providing accurate and early diagnosis.

Professor David Rowitch

Professor David Rowitch, Research Lead for the Cambridge Children’s Hospital, said:

“The most common types of childhood cancers we diagnose in young people include brain cancers.

"By adopting a holistic approach, we can individualize treatment and rehabilitation to better fight cancer and improve outcomes for both the mind and body.”

Lapland UK is best known for its festive wonderland in Whitmoor Forest, Berkshire, which includes an enchanted forest, toy factory, mother Christmas’ kitchen, an elf restaurant, frozen skating pond, Father Christmas’ house and an array of lovable characters.

Anyone who wants to learn more about Brainbow or make a donation to the charities that support it

Follow them on Instagram @cuh.brainbow

Picture Credit: Daily Mail