Evelina London lights up the London Eye

Posted on Friday 6th December 2019
The London Eye lit up in Evelina London colours

The London Eye lit up in Evelina London colours

An iconic London landmark was lit up in Evelina London's colours to celebrate our 150th anniversary, with the assistance of some very special young helpers.

On Thursday 5 December, the London Eye was illuminated in the colours of the Evelina London logo by children whose lives have been transformed by our teams.

Those hitting the switch to light up the London Eye were four-year-old Nancy, from Berkshire, eight-year-old Josh, from south London, six-year-old, Emilia from Surrey and five-year-old Tourae, from south London.

The children were joined by their families and some of the staff who cared for them. They were also treated to some festive songs, courtesy of Evelina Voices, a choir made up of Evelina London and Guy’s and St Thomas’ staff.

Janet Powell, director of nursing at Evelina London said: “It was a true honour to have four of our children and young people helping us to light up the London Eye. Every year is special, but celebrating our landmark 150th anniversary has been particularly important in highlighting the incredible work of our staff, as well as the strength and resilience of our children, young people and their families.

“It was a real treat to see such a recognisable London landmark illuminated in the colours of our logo, especially because you can see the London Eye from our hospital. It was a message that we will continue to provide the best care possible for the next 150 years and beyond.”

Dr Aaron Bell and NancyNancy’s story

Experts in our fetal cardiology team discovered that Nancy had an incredibly rare heart defect when her mother, Kayleigh, was 20 weeks pregnant.

Nancy was born with right atrial isomerism, which meant her heart was on the wrong side of her chest, she had one heart valve, tangled intestines, an upside down appendix and was born without a spleen.

Nancy underwent four major surgeries, including three open heart surgeries, all before her fourth birthday. She no longer experiences the shortness of breath and fatigue she’d experienced since birth.

Her mum Kayleigh, 32, said: “It’s been a difficult journey but seeing Nancy now, you wouldn’t know she’d been through so much. We owe so much to the staff at Evelina London and really can’t thank them enough.”

Emilia with sister Lily and the big red button that turns on the London EyeEmilia’s story

Emilia was diagnosed with congenital nephrotic syndrome at just 12 days old. The rare condition meant that her kidneys were leaking a large amount of protein into her urine, causing swelling around her body. Emilia’s immune system was suppressed, leaving her open to infection and at risk of kidney failure.

Emilia had one kidney removed when she was two months old and the other at two years. She was then on dialysis each night for 12 hours at home for almost a year.

Her father, Tim, donated his kidney just before her third birthday, which has given Emilia a new lease of life. The father of two said: “Although Emilia has to be regularly checked and infections and illnesses that would be fine for most could seriously affect her, her day to day health has been improved exponentially.”

Tim and Emilia were joined by Emilia’s mum Mary and her nine-year-old sister Lily. Earlier this year, the family took part in the British Transplant Games, a huge event involving children from all over the country who compete in a large range of sports and activities.

To raise money for Evelina London, the family took part in the Donor Run at the British Transplant Games. In addition to this, Tim cycled all the way to the games in Newport, South Wales, from their home in Godalming, Surrey.

Tim, 41, said: “We appreciate the staff at Evelina London so so much. We went in blind to what was happening, all we knew was that someone so precious to us was very sick, and all of the staff helped to educate us while continually showing a level of care and empathy that we will never forget.”

Tourae’s story

Tourae with his mum, brother and Evelina London staff.Tourae was born at just 23 weeks and spent three months under the care of our neonatal intensive care unit.

Earlier this year, Tourae was admitted back to Evelina London after contracting influenza A and swine flu, which left him with severe breathing difficulties and led to him having an asthma attack. He spent seven weeks in hospital where he underwent life-saving ECMO (Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation) treatment.

The ECMO pump does the job of the heart and lungs. It continuously takes blood from the body, adds oxygen and removes carbon dioxide and then returns it to the body.

When Tourae was well enough to go back home, his mother Carroll helped to organise a superhero themed day at his school to raise money for Evelina London.

Carroll, 43, said: “We’d do anything to say thank you to the hospital. Although Tourae was born prematurely, he’s never let it hold him back. When he got sick so suddenly, it made me realise that it could happen to anyone. A friend, a family member, your next door neighbour, anyone could become ill at any time and might need incredible care like we received from all of the staff at Evelina London.”

Josh with his brother BenJosh’s story

Josh had two operations to repair his elbow after breaking it in four places. When in hospital, Josh saw posters about our 150th anniversary and asked his mother, Samantha, if he could raise money.

Samantha, from south London, said: “We’re extremely proud of Josh for wanting to raise money for Evelina London. We decided that as a family we would do 10 walks of 15,000 steps each to make 150,000 steps for Evelina London's 150 years and raised £800.

“The care Josh received was incredible and the hospital facilities are so fantastic. It felt like every effort is made to make the place feel friendly and less daunting for kids. It was great to give something back to the hospital and we’re all so excited about seeing Josh light up the London Eye.”

Celebrating 150 years of caring for children and young people

150 years ago, Evelina London was born out of love, when Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild founded the hospital in memory of his wife, Evelina. Since 1869, we've been saving lives, improving health and inspiring better futures. 

Find out more about how we are marking our special birthday at Evelina London.