‘Wild’ changes at Cork leukemia unit aim to make hospital experience easier for youngest patients

‘Wild’ changes at Cork leukemia unit aim to make hospital experience easier for youngest patients

Alannah Foley from Killorglin with Staff Nurse Aisling Cotter.

The Leukemia Unit at Cork’s Mercy University Hospital has undergone a number of ‘wild’ changes as part of efforts to make the hospital experience a little easier for its younger patients.

In the region of 30 to 40 patients receive treatment on the ward each year, which recently announced its name change from St Bernadette’s Ward to the more child-friendly name of the Safari Unit.

It is not only the name of the facility that has changed though and new vibrant signage has been added to the main doors and walls to brighten the area and help to make young patients feel more at ease.

The new signage has been funded by the Mercy University Hospital Foundation through generous donations from the public to its ongoing Kids & Teens Appeal.

Speaking about the changes, Dr Clodagh Ryan, Consultant Paediatric Haematologist in the Mercy Hospital said the changes have made it very welcoming.

“On behalf of the Safari Unit, St. Anne’s Ward, I would like to thank the Mercy Hospital Foundation and it’s supporters for the brightening up of the entrance to the unit. It has made it very welcoming, particularly to the children we treat and their families; and it has been admired by all.” 

Four-year-old Alannah Foley from Killorglin, Co. Kerry is one of the many patients who benefit from the support of the Mercy Kids & Teens Appeal.

She was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis in 2019 - a condition that causes tumours to grow on nerves.

Alannah’s mom, Geraldine, said the little changes such as the new signage can make a big difference on the ward. 

“Alannah was just 2 years old when she was diagnosed. The staff in the Mercy have been a huge help to all of us along the way. They’re great with Alannah and help to keep her smiling through it all. Support from the Kids & Teens Appeal has made things a little easier too. Things like the new signage might seem small, but it makes a huge difference when you spend so much time on the ward.” 

Alannah is one of five young patients who recently helped to launch the upcoming Mercy Heroes campaign which will raise funds for the Kids & Teens Appeal. 

Taking place on Friday, October 22, people can get involved by making a donation online at www.mercyhospitalfoundation.ie or by joining forces with friends, family or colleagues to host a virtual or in-person coffee morning.

Schools are also being encouraged to join in the fun by holding a Dress-Up/Dress Down Day to support these young heroes.

All funds raised will go towards the Mercy Kids & Teens Appeal and will support upgrades like those made to the Leukemia unit, as well as services like POONS (Pediatric Oncology Outreach Nursing Service.) 

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