A young patient has inspired a generous donation of entertainment units which will allow youngsters on ward L49, the children’s day unit at Leeds Children’s Hospital, to have access to up-to-date equipment to play games and watch DVDs.

Five -year-old Alfie Haigh attends the ward once every three weeks for several hours of treatment for a rare auto-immune disease, and this means he has to endure lots of waiting with his dad James and mum Emma.

Alfie soon discovered that the existing equipment on the ward to entertain young patients was old and not very reliable, and his dad decided to do something about it.

James teaches carpentry and joinery at Bradford College and also works closely with the West Yorkshire Fire Service, and with friends and colleagues from the Fire Service headquarters at Birkenshaw he took part in the Total Warrior race at Bramham Park last year to raise money for the ward.

Fundraising has also been going on at Alfie’s school, Woodside Academy in Bradford, whom were represented in the Total Warrior race by their own Graham McNulty

So far, James and his colleagues have raised around £2000 to buy five monitors and associated equipment. Which he has had mounted on custom-made, medical specification trollies he designed himself and were built by his uncle.  The money has also bought play stations, x-boxes and a selection of the latest games, with more items yet to come.

James commented: “Fundraising is a difficult task, far harder than I expected given the cause, but I was determined to do what I could to help the ward, the staff and the children whom are treated on it, and I actively encourage others to do so.

“I also wanted to make sure the equipment was exactly what the ward needed, so that it would be secure, portable and adjustable for the needs of each patient. As part of this I designed the medically compliant and failsafe trollies, and my uncle fabricated them from my designs and specifications for me.

Play leader Kairen Edwards said: “We’re absolutely thrilled with this donation, which will make a big difference to the experience of children waiting for procedures on the unit as well as those in the Children’s Surgical Admissions Lounge, who can also benefit. Quite rightly Alfie was the first to test out the new equipment and was very pleased at the result, helping him pass the time while he was being treated!

As well as his regular visits to the ward in Leeds, Alfie is also under a the care of a specialist in the field of paediatric immunology, Professor Andrew Cant  in Newcastle’s Great North Children’s Hospital  who is hoping to understand more about his rare and painful condition.

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