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Funding is Brainbow’s best ever birthday present

Brainbow, the Addenbrooke’s-based rehabilitation service for children and young people with brain tumours, celebrated its 10th anniversary today (Friday 15 September) – and NHS funding from this Spring.

Brainbow was founded as a collaboration between CUH and three visionary local charities - Anna’s Hope, Camille’s Appeal and Tom’s Trust.

Later the Joshua Tarrant Trust took over from Camille’s Appeal and between them, the charities have funded in excess of £3m, until the funding for Brainbow was fully adopted by the NHS in April this year.

The milestones were marked at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus where guests heard presentations by local, national and international speakers about the development and achievements of Brainbow. They learned about the influence of the service on rehabilitation for children with brain tumours in UK and beyond.

Dr Amos Burke, Claire Gormley, Denise Tarrant, Sean Tarrant and Jessica MacFadyen.
From left Dr Amos Burke and colleagues Claire Gormley, Denise Tarrant, Sean Tarrant and Jessica MacFadyen.

Brainbow originator and paediatric oncologist, Dr Amos Burke, said

This is an historic moment for the service which has benefited hundreds of young people and their families in so many different ways over the years.

Dr Amos Burke

We are particularly indebted to those charities which have worked relentlessly throughout the years to raise funds and turn Brainbow into the incredible service it is today.

“We are very grateful to the NHS for funding which secures our future and means we can provide rehabilitation support so many more children who have had brain tumours reach their maximum potential.”

Brainbow elf and little girl xmas 2020 picture by John Nguyen and Damien Mcfadden and Femail, Daily Mail
Fun at last year's Brainbow Christmas party captured by John Nguyen and Damien Mcfadden for Femail, Daily Mail.

Carole Hughes, co-founder of Anna’s Hope (opens in a new tab), in Stamford, Peterborough, said: "Over 17 years ago we lost our daughter Anna to a brain tumour, she was only three. Back then there was little rehabilitation support for children diagnosed with a brain tumour. We felt this was so unfair and Anna’s Hope was set up to change this.

“Today celebrates that by partner charities and clinicians collaborating together alongside Anna’s Hope’s significant funding of physiotherapy, speech and language and occupational therapy, pioneering change can be achieved. This is a milestone day for Brainbow and for children with a brain tumour and the guaranteed future of the service is a great legacy for Anna.

We wish to thank all those who have supported Anna’s Hope and for their continued support in helping make real difference to the lives of children with a brain tumour.

Carole Hughes

Debs Mitchell, co-founder of Tom’s Trust (opens in a new tab), in Teversham, Cambridge, and Saffron Walden, said: “It has been the greatest honour to have funded the clinical psychology team within the Brainbow service for the past decade in our little boy’s name. Our son Tom was treated at Addenbrooke’s when we lost him at the age of nine, so this hospital will always have an important place in our hearts.

“To hear the funding announcement is the most wonderful of news; we have worked so hard to provide vital mental health support for hundreds of families in East Anglia over the last decade through almost £1m of funding, and the need to support them as an essential service without charity intervention is something we have been campaigning for tirelessly for many years.”

“Knowing these families will continue to get the mental health care they need through the NHS means we have the opportunity to extend our support in Tom’s memory. After listening to our families we will be funding a new role in Cambridge; a transition specialist whose job it will be to ensure that teenagers living with the after-effects of a brain tumour and its treatment will have a smooth transition from children’s services to adult health services - something which currently happens at the age of just 14. They will support them as they forge their own independent paths and enter their adult lives. We can’t wait to get started.

Lastly, Tom’s Trust would like to say a huge thanks to all of our supporters, who we couldn’t have done any of it without.

Debs Mitchell

Denise Tarrant, co-founder of The Joshua Tarrant Trust (opens in a new tab) , in Haverhill, said: “It has been an honour and a privilege to be part of Brainbow for the last five years. The welcome and support we received from the already established team was incredible

To be given the opportunity to continue our son Joshua‘s legacy and support so many other children with brain tumours has made us all very proud. We wish Brainbow every success in their continued work for many years to come.

Denise Tarrant

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.

The charities that support Brainbow are represented by four balloons in the service’s logo, each with a special motif.

Artist's impression of new Cambridge Children's Hospital
An artist's impression of new Cambridge Children's Hospital

The funding announcement comes as plans develop for Cambridge Children’s Hospital (opens in a new tab), which will champion children’s physical and mental health, and become the first dedicated hospital for children in the East of England.

It will provide care for children and young people aged 0-19, including those with cancer. Visit Brainbow and the Cambridge Children Hospital (opens in a new tab) website to learn more about their work.