Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity has launched its Christmas Appeal to raise funds for specialist equipment to help make the hospital environment less scary for poorly patients treated there.

This Christmas, instead of donating toys, the charity is asking supporters to make a donation of money to help purchase the gift of ten 3D Pain Distraction Unit to ease patients’ fears and take their minds off the medical procedures they can dread.

At first glance, these state-of-the-art Units look just like giant TVs, but they’re actually so much more special. They project a series of interactive 3D images and games that children can control and enjoy whilst they undergo medical treatment. Wearing special 3D glasses, the child becomes completely immersed in a colourful world of virtual reality that distracts them from pain and blocks out the frightening sights and sounds of the treatment room.

One patient who would really benefit from the 3D Pain Distraction Unit is four year-old Charlie Bircher, from Cheadle.

Charlie, and his big brother Archie, aged seven, have a rare genetic condition called Cleidocranial Dysplasia. For Charlie it means that he catches chest infections really easily. He’s so prone to getting ill that two years ago his doctors fitted him with a special portal on his chest called a port-a-cath, so they can inject life-saving drugs directly into his body.

Living with the port-a-cath isn’t easy and Charlie doesn’t always like people seeing or touching it. Yet every 9-12 weeks he comes to hospital to have medicine injected directly into it.

Charlie’s mum Lauren comments: “Charlie is an incredibly brave little boy – but some days the fear and anxiety can be overwhelming for him. There’s nothing worse than seeing your child in distress or pain. And it’s especially difficult to see them stressed-out, fighting off a treatment or medical procedure that needs to be done. That’s why I think something like this could make a huge difference to Charlie’s experience at hospital.”

Each Pain Distraction Unit costs £12,000 and the Charity’s One Big Wish this Christmas is to raise enough money to put one on each of the hospital’s in-patient children’s wards, including the childhood cancer ward, burns unit, cardiology, bone marrow transplant ward, and in our paediatric emergency department and high dependency unit.

Sarah Naismith, Head of Charities at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital comments: “We are so thankful to all our amazing supporters across the North West and beyond for all the support we receive, and hope that they will fully get behind this year’s Christmas Appeal.

“The specialist units we are fundraising for will make a tremendous difference to poorly children like Charlie. They are clinically proven to make patients feel calmer and more relaxed and by taking a child’s mind off the procedure, the pain and fear associated with it, is reduced. This means the amazing doctors and nurses at our hospital can do their jobs more effectively – and mums and dads feel less worried and anxious too. Big or small, your donation will help our poorly patients when they’re going through a difficult time in hospital, no matter what the time of year.”

You can donate to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital’s ‘One Big Wish’ Christmas Appeal to help fund 3D Pain Distraction Units at our Children’s Hospital by visiting our website:


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