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The Piam Brown Ward is the Wessex Paediatric Oncology Centre - based at Southampton General Hospital, treating all types of childhood cancer in the age range of a day old to eighteen years of age.

Charity information

The Piam Brown Ward is the Wessex Paediatric Oncology Centre - based at Southampton General Hospital, treating all types of childhood cancer in the age range of a day old to eighteen years of age. The unit has ten in-patient beds and a day ward area. Leukaemia is the most common type of childhood cancer, accounting for approximately one-third of new patients each year. On average the unit receives 60 to 80 new patients each year, whilst caring for approximately 100 to 150 patients on treatment at any one time. The unit covers the whole of the Wessex region - stretching from the Isle of Wight, Dorchester, Brighton and on past Basingstoke and includes the Channel Islands.

Once children finish treatment we follow them up for ten years from the time of diagnosis - a heavy work load! Besides our more obvious clinical needs, we also need funds to resource our playroom, school room, two bone marrow transplant rooms and also our MacMillan Nursing Team, who are based on the ward, but care for our children out in the community.

This is particularly important, since it allows families to stay at home for longer periods, for parents to continue in jobs, for siblings and the patient to attend regular school and to socialise with their own age groups. The MacMillan nurses will check on the children either at home or in school, offer support and advice to parents (and siblings), give some chemotherapy and teach parents to do likewise, and give platelets, etc. in the home. In addition, they offer a palliative service to our terminally ill children.

Any monies raised can be spent on purchasing much needed and more advanced medical equipment for the ward, comfort amenities for parents, who often spend long periods of time on the ward during treatments, replacement and new toys and activities for the play-room, a variety of items for the school, including new reading schemes, computers, software, music for the piano, hi-fi and CD players, books, story tapes, the list is almost endless! 'Outings' also form an important part of the social side of the Ward. They give the children something to look forward to, and we always involve them in the planning.
Every year our teenagers have a residential weekend at Avon Tyrrell (in July) where they participate in a variety of outdoor activities including orienteering, canoeing, cycling, rock climbing, swimming, tennis and horse riding. In 1999 we also took 15 of them sailing for the day, chartering a yacht (which came with two qualified instructors and insurance!). Mercifully we picked a warm day and they had a ball!

Our younger children go to Paultons, Chessington and Marwell and sometimes we have managed to organise a trip to an Army camp where they have ridden on tanks, and clambered over assault courses. The play staff run a 'siblings club' to reduce jealousy problems, which sometimes arise. They have their own agenda and time out to make them feel special too.

Something else which must not be overlooked, are the educational needs of the staff, i.e. courses, conferences etc. Without the necessary qualifications we wouldn't be able to staff the unit and there would be no Piam Brown Ward. As you will appreciate, all this costs a great deal of money (besides staff commitment), but we all feel it is a really good use of resources.

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