Telegraph Column: Sheffield fund auction raises cash to save lives

The first of Herd of Elephants , a scuplture trail across the city, the latest fundraising initiative by the Sheffield Childrens Hospital Charity begin to appear in situ.The charity's Ellie McCaldin outside the iconic Park Hill flats. Picture Scott Merrylees

The first of Herd of Elephants , a scuplture trail across the city, the latest fundraising initiative by the Sheffield Childrens Hospital Charity begin to appear in situ.The charity's Ellie McCaldin outside the iconic Park Hill flats. Picture Scott Merrylees

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I started training at Sheffield Children’s Hospital in 1993 and have been a consultant there for almost 13 years. As well as acting as the deputy medical director for the hospital trust, I am also one of the many doctors who would use the fluoroscopy system being fundraised for through The Children’s Hospital Charity’s Herd of Sheffield.

The hospital is a major trauma unit for our region, so we frequently see children suffering from severe blood loss after serious accidents. In these cases there are two options: attempt to stop the bleeding through a major operation or carry out a minimally invasive procedure which blocks off blood vessels, using a process called embolisation.

Embolisation allows children to recover far more quickly, without the large scars associated with operations. But whilst this option is more beneficial for our young patients, we don’t have the equipment needed to carry it out. Currently any child requiring embolisation has to be transported to Leeds. Not only does this mean that the child is treated in an unfamiliar environment – the journey itself can put them at risk. Even with a blue light and an ambulance team you never know what can happen en route.

As well as major trauma, the fluoroscopy machine could be used to treat long- term illnesses such as cancers or brain aneurysms.

It has the ability to shrink the size of tumours, making them far easier to operate on. It would benefit lots of different specialities and conditions and make a difference to the lives of so many other children.

I think the fact that the Herd is raising money for this life-saving fluoroscopy system is very symbolic. Elephants protect their children at all costs until they are fully grown. They look after their herd in the same way that we look after the children at our hospital.

By bidding at the Herd of Sheffield Auction you’ll be helping to fund a piece of equipment which is going to dramatically change the lives of children in the region and beyond.

Many people at the auction will have or know children who have been treated by our hospital already. Hopefully that will inspire them to bid high so we can get this done!

The auction will take place at the Crucible Theatre on October 20. www.herdofsheffield.com/get-involved/auction/ to book.