107-year-old leaves life-changing legacy gift to our hospital!

A legacy gift means young patients at Sheffield Children’s Hospital will now benefit from even faster diagnosis and treatment thanks to a new state-of-the-art scanner.

David ‘Stanley’ Brackenbrough left his entire estate towards the hospital, after being inspired by the care his great niece seven-year-old Isabelle Smith received at the hospital after being diagnosed with a brain tumour in December 2012.

Recalling the diagnosis, Mum Loran Smith, 33, said: “I noticed that the usage of her right hand and leg wasn’t natural when playing in the bath. She wouldn’t ungrasp her hand to hold items, so I took her to our GP who referred us to a neurologist at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

“It was such a shock to find out it was a tumour, it was a really difficult time. No-one was sure what would happen next, they said it could take her in a few weeks.”

Further scans revealed the tumour was a low-grade glioma, a benign non-cancerous growth which are the slowest growing type. However, its position deep within the brain currently means it is inoperable and Isabelle attends scans every 12 months to monitor its progress.

Loran continued: “It’s too dangerous for them to test the tumour and we’re not sure what, if anything, will trigger it to become aggressive. Luckily, she hasn’t had any kind of invasive surgery and hopefully it never comes to that but we’re just constantly watching for the signs.”

The care Isabelle received from the hospital inspired ‘Team Izzy’, a group of family and friends who have ran marathons and held events, raising over £15,000 for the hospital. It also prompted Stanley to leave his estate to The Children’s Hospital Charity when he passed away at the age of 107 in 2017.

Loran recalls: “Stanley always had affection for Sheffield Children’s Hospital and he loved Isabelle so much. Every time she visited him, she would tell him she wanted to be a doctor and he always encouraged her.

“He saw that they looked after her so well, so it became very important to him to help in any way that he could. The care we receive is incredible, the hospital and team can’t do enough for us. We are so lucky to have such an amazing hospital on our doorstep.”

Deborah Hall, Stanley’s niece and her husband Andrew cut the ribbon when the new machine was launched in January. Costing a total of £800,000, the equipment will allow radiologists to scan children with suspected cancerous tumours, epilepsy, painful injuries or neuro-disabilities with just one highly advanced diagnostic device.

It will also mean less discomfort for patients, with multiple scans conducted at the same time. The enhanced imagery will also provide more certainty when diagnosing patients so they can expect more tailored treatment.

“It’s absolutely amazing to think that he could help children like Isabelle in the future and maybe even Isabelle herself when she comes in. You always want to ensure that your children receive the best care possible and to know he will help other families too is really very special” Loran continued.

The remaining cost of the scanner was raised throughout 2017 and helped by The Children’s Hospital Charity’s National Elf Service Campaign, which encouraged supporters to take part in festive fun and fancy dress.

The appeal’s total was doubled by three big-hearted local businessmen, Graham Royle of GRI Group, Matt Davison of Portland Investment Group and another donor who wishes to remain anonymous.

Dan Walker’s celebrity golf day raised a further £50,000 while the ‘Children’s Champions’ group of individuals, companies and private family trusts raised £78,000 towards the cost.

David Vernon-Edwards, director of The Children’s Hospital Charity added: “We would like to thank David’s family and all of the generous donors from the bottom of our hearts for enabling Sheffield Children’s Hospital to offer this amazing device, which will make a massive difference for so many severely ill children.”

To find out more about a discounted Will writing service and how to leave a gift to help Sheffield Children’s Hospital in your will, click here