A little boy who was diagnosed with a brain tumour at only 12 days old has become the first to switch on the Christmas lights at Edinburgh’s new children’s hospital.
Joey Sharp, now 11 months old, endured two life-saving surgeries just days after he was born at Christmas time last year, and has been undergoing chemotherapy treatment at the hospital ever since.
Alongside his proud parents and with the help of big sister Carly (3), Joey pressed the button to light up the 20ft tree and surrounding area, following an introduction and countdown from Forth One presenter Boogie in the Morning.
Mum Sam said: “Our little Joey was only 12 days old when he had emergency surgery in December last year. Hours before, we were given the devastating news that he had a brain tumour.
“We were told to prepare for the worst. Our world had shattered. I had been making Christmas lists and organising family fun. Suddenly, it all seemed hopeless.”
Sam, Joey's mum
Sam and husband Steven are backing our Christmas appeal, which asks supporters to help “Light Up Christmas” for those seriously ill children and young people facing a hospital stay this December.
Sam continued: “Throughout our time in hospital, ECHC’s activities gave us a break from our daily reality. Seeing Joey respond to bubbles in baby sensory sessions, and hearing singing and live music was wonderful. It gave us hope. The change that came over the ward when the charity arrived was amazing, everyone’s faces lit up.
“Joey is now 11 months old, cancer free and growing stronger every day. Without doubt, the support from ECHC made a huge difference to his recovery and our first memories as a family so it was wonderful to have him be the first to switch on the Christmas lights for the charity at the new hospital!”
Children, families and staff gathered at the hospital entrance and watching on from windows were treated to a musical performance by Edinburgh Brass Band before watching Joey and his family light up the giant Christmas tree – very kindly gifted to ECHC by Conifox Adventure Park.
Victoria Buchanan, from ECHC, said: “We would like to say an enormous thank you to Conifox Adventure Park, Edinburgh Brass Band, Boogie in the Morning and Joey and his family for helping to make our first ever Christmas Light Switch On at the new hospital so special.
“This is our first year in our new home at Little France, so we are determined to make it the biggest and best Christmas yet. Although we have lit up the building, we still need help to Light Up Christmas and make sure no child or young person in hospital misses out on the joy of the festive season.”