Four mums whose children have been treated for cancer at The Royal Marsden have ensured children waking up in hospital on Christmas morning will do so in brand new pyjamas.
Charmaine Green from Croydon, who began the collection, Francesca Waite, from Canterbury, and Sarah Corbett and Liz Donovan-Molinaro, both from Bromley, along with their friends and supporters, have collected a staggering 1569 new pairs of pyjamas so that children in hospital can feel special when Santa visits.
Charmaine's daughter Nevaeh finished treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) almost five years ago. Francesca's son Blue, seven, has been in remission from Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) for over four years. Sarah's son Jenson has been in remission from lymphoblastic lymphoma for almost five years and Liz's son Enrico, four, is currently receiving treatment for ALL.
Francesca said: "Blue spent two Christmases in hospital. The doctors and nurses really do everything they can to make it a special day but it's still hard, and any little treat like this can really help lift a child's spirits."
Charmaine said: "When you're in hospital the last thing you want to wear is a hospital gown. There were so many times when I took Nevaeh to the hospital and she ended up as an inpatient and we had nothing with us."
They have donated 784 pairs of pyjamas to the Oak Centre for Children and Young People at The Royal Marsden in Sutton, with the rest going to local hospitals.
The first recipient of a pair this year was nine-year-old Samuel Cortes, who was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML) and ALL in 2014, underwent a stem cell transplant and is now being treated for a high-grade B Cell Lymphoma.
Samuel's mum Luisa said: "Hopefully he won't have to spend the festive season in hospital but receiving the pyjamas has put a big smile on his face and he has been showing them happily to the nurses on the ward. Seeing your child's face light up makes a big difference to us."
Francesca's friends Debbie Glew, daughter of Kent's 'Panto King' Dave Lee who died of pancreatic cancer five years ago and Lisa Kirk, a Virgin Airlines air hostess from Derby, also collected pyjamas. There are pairs in various sizes, colours and patterns from as far away as Japan and Macy's in New York.