New hospital rooms offer a taste of home for teens with cancer
The mother of a 13-year-old girl battling cancer for almost a year has said a new facility for young people will make a big difference.
Lauren Fitzgerald was the first to try out one of the new teenage rooms at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children. The Newry teenager also cut the ribbon to officially open the facility, along with fellow cancer patient Ruaidhri Taylor (18).
Lauren's mum Marie Claire said her daughter was impressed with the new and improved wing of the Children's Cancer Unit.
"Lauren stayed there last week and it was a big change for her," she said. "It's lovely, bright and fresh. It has an en suite, plenty of space, a TV and games console - lots of the stuff you'd find in a teenager's room at home."
The Sacred Heart pupil was diagnosed with neuroblastoma last July and will continue treatment at the unit until the end of July - and after that still faces immunotherapy until the end of September.
"She's already had chemotherapy, surgery, stem cell transplant and radiotherapy and though she's in the final stages of her treatment in hospital, the teenage room will make a big difference to the time she has to spend in the hospital," said Marie Claire.
Ruaidhri, meanwhile, raised funds to purchase several games consoles. "When you are receiving treatment at the Children's Cancer Unit, you can sometimes be here for weeks at a time," he said.
"So, to have a nice, cosy space to make your own for a little while is really important." The project was overseen by The Children's Cancer Unit Charity.