A former Northampton hospital patient was inspired to set up a special birthday campaign to celebrate her 18th - and saw 150 presents donated to the children's ward.
Ellie Waters published a tweet in March appealing for toys to be donated to the Northampton General Hospital Children's ward, as part of her 18th birthday wishlist.
The social media post saw an amazing display of public generosity and more than 150 new toys, games and electronics were bought for the children’s wards - where Ellie was treated for stage 4 cancer when she was 14 years old.
Ellie was told she only had a 20 per cent chance of surviving the following five years and wanted to make her 18th birthday a special one.
She said: “I was told by the doctors that they were 99 per cent sure that I had cancer, my world came crashing down and I was in complete shock.
“I was terrified, ahead of me, I faced nine cycles of intensive chemotherapy, 28 sessions of radiotherapy and 12 cycles of maintenance chemotherapy.
"I didn’t know anyone who has undergone cancer treatment, so I didn’t know what to expect."
Now, Ellie has been out of treatment for two years, with clear scans.
Ellie decided that she had to make her 18th birthday a very special one after initially thinking she might not be able to celebrate the milestone.
She added: “The best way to mark the occasion was doing what I love best, fundraising.
"Having spent my 15th birthday receiving treatment at NGH, I thought it would be the perfect excuse to set up an Amazon wishlist so that I could donate loads of gifts to Disney ward.
“Despite spending my birthday receiving chemotherapy, it turned out to be a great day because the nurses kindly wrapped up presents for me to open. Being presented with those gifts put the biggest smile on my face, so I wanted to do something to make a child in hospital as happy as I was.”
Ellie had an initial goal of donating 50 gifts but after the hospital helped boost her tweet the public generosity was outstanding.
She said: “Coming back from school each day to loads of Amazon boxes was absolutely amazing. I really did not expect so many people to donate, many of which were people that I didn’t even know. It was heart-warming to receive a gift from a parent whose son or daughter had also been treated on the Disney ward. It made me realise how important these gifts are to the hospital.
“My favourite gift that was donated were worry monsters. These are cute monsters, you can open their mouth, write down your worry and place it inside. The idea is that the monster will eat your worries so you don’t have to worry anymore. I felt this was perfect for children who undergo surgery while in hospital, as I know how scary it can be.”
Play service coordinator, Sue Faulkner thanked Ellie and everyone who has made the children's experience of being in hospital a little brighter by bu a gift.
"The gifts will keep the children entertained while they are waiting for treatments and procedures, helping make their stay a positive experience," she said.
"We hope you have had a wonderful 18th birthday and enjoyed your celebrations with family and friends.”
Story credit Northampton General Hospital Insight Magazine.