Charity in new appeal

Bubble baby Emily Liu, with mum Zhihua, help launch Bubbles for the Bubble appeal. Picture by Phil Punton.
Bubble baby Emily Liu, with mum Zhihua, help launch Bubbles for the Bubble appeal. Picture by Phil Punton.

A charity which supports life-saving work helping babies and children suffering from the most severe immune conditions has launched a new appeal.

The Bubble Foundation UK, based at the Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle, has launched the Bubbles for the Bubble appeal.

Children from around the world are treated at the facility if they are born without an immune system or unable to fight infection, undergoing a bone marrow transplant.

The Bubble is aiming to raise £500,000 to fund new strands of research into genetic causes of Primary Immunodeficiency (PIDs), as well as research into the outcomes of treatment to ultimately improve the lives of people with immune disorders.

In many cases, the only treatment that offers a chance of surviving these illnesses is a bone marrow transplant – a difficult and painful process – which if successful, means babies and children can make a full recovery and go home to live normal, healthy lives.

Parents of children who have experienced life in the ‘bubble’ – an eight foot square ‘bubble’ of sterile air which protects from bugs and bacteria – are backing the appeal, which challenges people to take to social media and show their ‘bubbly side’ to raise money for the charity.

They are sharing their stories and experiences of their time in The Bubble and urging people to get behind the appeal, highlighting the difference it has made to their lives.

Maureen Cairns, mum of seven-year-old Lily Thornton, who spent six months in The Bubble and was treated successfully, is one of those behind the campaign.

Lily, from Whitley Bay, became ill at nine months old. She was diagnosed with a rare and life-threatening condition – HLH (hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis) – which meant her body did not know when to stop attacking bugs or illnesses, and, without treatment, would have led to total organ failure.

Maureen said: “You just never know when it might happen to you and what’s round the corner. We were perfectly healthy people, we just didn’t expect it.

“I’ve never experienced such gut wrenching fear. When you see your child going through that suffering, you’d give anything for it to be you in their place.

“The support network you have around you at The Bubble is what got us through.

“The research and treatments the team are pioneering are just amazing and without that, we wouldn’t be where we are today, with the happy little girl we have.

“I would urge people everywhere to support The Bubble – it really does make all the difference.”

Donating is simple. All you have to do is post your own bubble selfie or bubble related video, which can be of anything from blowing bubbles to doing the washing up.

Join in at The Bubble Foundation’s social media channels, and text donate to BUBB01 (+ amount you want to donate – £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10), to 70070, or donate via https://www.justgiving.com/bubblefoundation/

To find out more about the Bubble Foundation visit www.bubblefoundation.org.uk