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Rockinghorse ‘Sabrina’s Wish’ campaign for life saving ventilators at Royal Alex Children’s Hospital

- January 31, 2014

Rockinghorse Children’s Charity has launched a fundraising appeal to provide new ventilators for the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton.

The campaign, called Sabrina’s Wish, will aim to update ventilation equipment in the High Dependency Unit (HDU) at the children’s hospital, considered a paediatric centre of excellence in the South-east.

As the official fundraising arm of the Alex and a vital supporter of the Trevor Mann Baby Unit (TMBU), Rockinghorse raises money for life-saving and cutting-edge medical equipment whilst ensuring that children are treated in an environment suited to their needs.

Brighton-born Martin Blencowe was inspired to begin fundraising for the Alex after his four month old daughter Sabrina was admitted to the children’s hospital.

She had contracted a serious case of viral bronchiolitis earlier this month, resulting in her fight for life.

Although serious complications are a rarity with bronchiolitis, Sabrina became one of the 3% of children that required urgent medical treatment. As she had been born six weeks premature, along with her twin Savannah, the risk was even greater.

Sabrina was admitted to HDU, and thanks to the doctors and nurses on the unit, she was brought back to good health. Martin, along with his wife, Lucinda Blencowe, made a promise to do whatever they could to raise awareness and fundraise for more life-saving equipment.

Sabrina’s Wish is the start of a long legacy that aims to help as many babies and children as possible that are admitted to HDU. In its first week, the campaign has raised £5,500, enabling Rockinghorse to purchase the first critical care ventilator for the Alex.

Visiting the children’s hospital earlier this week, Martin Blencowe thanked staff who saved his little girl, including HDU nurse Marion Tendall, and celebrated the first purchase of equipment from the Sabrina’s Wish campaign. He said:

“With so much dependence on NHS funding, it can be difficult for staff to get hold of life-saving equipment they know could benefit their young patients.

“Every year, 46,000 children are admitted to the Alex. If each family donated just £1, imagine the difference that could make. Raising £5,500 for the first critical care ventilator is just the first small step in a campaign that we hope will have a big impact.”

Brighton-born Martin, his wife Lucinda, and their twin daughters, Sabrina and Savannah, spend most of their time in Los Angeles where Martin works as a film producer. The campaign has had much support from friends and colleagues across the pond, including Martin’s close friend and associate, Gregory J. Bonnan – the creator of Baywatch.

Currently the Executive Producer of America’s hit new TV show, SAF3, Gregory is dedicating an upcoming episode of the show to the Sabrina’s Wish campaign, with credits at the end of the show to thank the doctors and nurses for saving her life.

Ryan Heal, Chief Executive of Rockinghorse Children’s Charity, is overwhelmed with the support for Sabrina’s Wish, he said:

“On behalf of Rockinghorse Children’s Charity, we are overwhelmed with the support received from Martin and Lucinda Blencowe and the Sabrina’s Wish campaign.

“We hope awareness of the campaign will enable us to purchase further machines which are desperately in need of upgrading. Thank you to everyone who has donated, every penny really does make a difference.”

To make a donation to Sabrina’s Wish, visit the JustGiving page online:justgiving.com/Sabrinaswish.

To find out more about Rockinghorse Children’s Charity and the work they do to help sick children in Sussex, please visit the website rockinghorse.org.uk.

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