Tracheostomy patients celebrate Evelina London's 10th birthday

Posted on Friday 9th October 2015
Parents and children enjoying Evelina London's 10th birthday party

Families enjoying the party

More than 30 families celebrated the 10th birthday of Evelina London Children’s Hospital at ‘Trache Ted’s Picnic Party’.

Evelina London’s ear, nose and throat (ENT) nurse specialist team hosted the party on Saturday 3 October and invited tracheostomy patients past and present to come and join in the fun.

The party gave families of children who are either living with or have previously had a tracheostomy a chance to meet and celebrate our children’s hospital’s first 10 years.

A tracheostomy is a small plastic tube which is inserted into the windpipe to form an artificial airway for people with breathing difficulties. To help children understand their tracheostomy, the nurses often show them the tube being used by a doll and also encourage them to make their own Trache Teddy Bear or ‘Trache Ted’.

Children and their families enjoyed a full day of celebrations including live entertainment, a disco, indoor picnic, face painting, crafts and even a party bag to take home.

Suk-Ying Man, one of the ENT nurse specialists who organised the party, said: “It was an opportunity to get families together to share their experiences and socialise, away from the clinical setting and in a happy environment.

“For the families that are still under our care, it was a chance to get off the ward and have an enjoyable and safe experience during a very stressful time. It helped to show the families that children with tracheostomies can lead a normal life with the correct training and support from our hospital and community services.

"Many of our patients have been under our care for the last 10 years, so we used our 10th birthday as a reason to celebrate their achievements.”

Ellé Saunders from Surrey, mum of eight-month-old twins Ryan and Blake, commented at the party: “It’s the first time we’ve been able to come off the hospital ward as a family for a few months.”

After having an emergency tracheostomy at a local hospital, Blake was transferred to Evelina London for specialist care. He has a condition called subglottic stenosis which means his airway is narrow and he finds it difficult to breathe. He currently relies on a ventilator but it is hoped that he will eventually undergo surgery to stretch his airway, helping him to breathe independently.

Ellé added: “It’s such a good idea to organise something like this. It’s nice for us to see older children who’ve had similar difficulties just being normal kids. I can see it’s not stopping them from having fun and it’s giving us hope for Blake in the future.”

Another mum said: “The nurses are amazing – they go above and beyond all the time.”

Special thanks to Starlight for donating party bags, to MediCinema for donating soft toys, to Magical Quests children’s entertainment for donating their time, and to Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity for funding the event.

Find out more about Evelina London’s 10th birthday.