How The Aimee Drew Trust Started
Our little girl Aimee was only 5 years old when she died in her mummy's arms in January 1997 after a brave battle against lymphoma cancer. Aimee was diagnosed with immune problems when she was just two years old. We firmly believed her life could have been saved if she had been seen by a trained immunologist who would have had a greater understanding of her problems and their treatment.
In 1997 there were only two hospitals in the country with that facility - Newcastle Children's Hospital and Great Ormond Street. Sadly, Aimee wasn't referred to either hospital and the severity of her condition went undetected. The Royal Manchester Children's Hospital worked hard to treat her cancer but couldn't get to the root of her underlying health issues.
Following Aimee's death, her Mum Suzanne and I were each determined to do something positive to mark Aimee's life and create something worthwhile from a tragic situation.
After speaking to Aimee's consultant, Dr Andrew Will, he revealed there was a real need for a paediatric immunologist in the North West area. If £20,000 could be raised then a consultant from Newcastle could come down to Manchester to hold a regular clinic and see children like Aimee. This sum would fund the clinic for a 2 year period.
The unstinting support from friends and family was amazing. After ten months, the Aimee Drew Trust Fund had raised the initial target amount of £20,000. The first clinic was held in October 1997 and the demand for appointments became so high that it was apparent the clinic needed to be held on a more frequent basis. Further funds were raised to pay for additional 'consultant time'.
The clinic continued to grow and two years later the hospital trust agreed to take over the running costs of this now vital service. The Aimee Drew Trust had reached its initial goal, as the clinic and its future funding was secured. Further excellent news was that Senior Lecturer/Consultant Paediatric Immunologist Dr Peter Arkwright was subsequently appointed to develop and expand this service across the North West, permanently based in Manchester.
Over the years the immunology clinic has grown beyond all recognition, and has gone on to save many children's lives. We are so grateful for all the support we have been given over the years. To be able to see a real tangible change to how children like Aimee can be cared for is something we will cherish forever.
Medical research continues to evolve of course and so the Aimee Drew Trust continues to provide financial support to the clinic, Dr Arkwright and his colleagues.