The Bubble Foundation
Wednesday, 24 October 2007
THE BUBBLE FOUNDATION
We'll be meeting a remarkable young man who was born without an immune system. Tune in to hear his story.
The Bubble Foundation aim to save the lives of babies and children born without an immune system. This is done in conjunction with the Children's Bone Marrow Transplant Unit in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, one of only two units in the UK and Ireland that can give these precious babies the meticulous medical and nursing care needed. We talk to one child who's been successfully treated and the people who keep this unit running.
Funding is essential for the maintenance of the Bubble unit in Newcastle, which also treats all the Irish 'Bubble Babies'. Denise Robertson is keen to raise awareness of the foundation so that their good work can continue.
Patrons of the bubble foundation also include Eamonn Holmes, Brian McFadden and Paul O'Grady.
How common is SCID?
SCID is just one of many related rare disorders (primary immunodeficiencies) (PIDs) where the immune system doesn't work properly, because there is a fault in the way it is put together. The severity varies; altogether 1:200 children have suffered from problems with their immune system at some time.The severe PIDs that need bone marrow transplantation (BMT) are rarer and affect 1:10,000 children which equates to about 70 children a year in Ireland and Britain.
About The Bubble Foundation
Imagine not being able to pick up your crying baby until you have scrubbed your hands clean for three minutes and put on a special gown. Imagine not being able to take your baby for a walk because he needs to stay in a sterile 'bubble' of clean air. Some parents don't have to imagine, for them it is real. Their children suffer from a rare, inherited condition called Severe Combined Immune Deficiency Syndrome, or SCID. They are born without an immune system and cannot fight the simplest of infection. Even the 'common cold' passed on a by a mother's kiss can be fatal.
The only way of keeping them safe from infection is to care for them in a 'bubble', a high-tech sterile space, measuring 8 feet square, their 'home' for the duration of their treatment. The only chance of survival for these 'bubble' babies is to give them a new immune system. Giving them a Bone Marrow Transplant, a difficult and painful treatment, is the only way. And the process typically takes 6 months, but can be longer, up to 2 years.The good news is that if successful, the babies grow new immune cells and can leave their bubble and go home to live normal lives.
The Children's Bone Marrow Transplant Unit in Newcastle-upon-Tyne is one of only two units in the UK and Ireland that can give these precious babies the meticulous medical and nursing care needed. We also provide a follow up service for these children and their families once they go home.
Children are referred to us from Scotland, Northern and Southern Ireland, and from Northern England down to Birmingham and the Midlands. There are bubble babies where you live too.The Unit has also begun to treat children suffering from leukaemia and severe forms of arthritis.And we are proud that the survival success rate of the Unit has increased from 50% to 80% in the last 5 years. The Bubble Foundation UK raises funds for medical equipment, toys and educational aids, welfare of the babies, children and their families, and importantly to fund research required at this cutting edge of paediatric practice.
We need support so that more babies and children can recover and go home to live normal lives.