Emily was our first child and was born in 1992. Just after she was 2 years old we found that she fell over occasionally and was sick but then immediately fine. The symptons increased and we took her to an optician to have her eyes checked who moved us to a Paediatrician. Following a scan at the hospital we were immediately moved to Frenchay as they saw a tumour in her brain the size of a tennis ball. At Frenchay she had a shunt fitted to relieve the pressure in her brain and as much of the tumour as possible was removed.
After this she lost her ability to walk and on December 23rd 1994 we started an intense course of Chemotherapy at Bristol Children’s Hospital to attack the tumour. The news was never good. The worst scenario was that it could spread down her spine and it did… The percentages for having successful Chaemo was never good and when she died she was in the middle of trying some new stem cell replacement treatment. She loved being in hospital because she had a play lady and our constant attention and we did manage to be out of hospital for about 24 hours to celebrate her third birthday but would always return swiftly with a high temperature which meant getting back in to avoid infections.
Emily Kent Charitable Trust
After losing her we quickly set up a charity in her name called the Emily Kent Charitable Trust. Initially it was to raise money for anaesthetic equipment for the scanner at the Bristol Royal Infirmary. It was difficult to get children scanned in the MRI scanner as they did not have enough anaesthetic equipment to use on the children and therefore we had to wait to see how well the treatment had affected the tumour.
Following this we continued to raise money for equipment for children with Cancer in Gloucestershire. We bought big strollers for older children to be pushed around in following surgery or illness and even a laptop for a girl with cancer who was going back to school and could not write by hand.
Pied Piper Appeal
The Pied Piper Appeal had started in 1992 and approached us about donating some money to them for the New Children’s Hospital. We gave them £50,000 and it was agreed that the Oncology Ward once built would be named the Emily Kent Ward and is today. Bristol were also building a new children’s hospital and we also gave them £50,000 where the Day Care unit is also named after Emily.
It is common for parents to start a Charity in the name of a child they have lost. Losing a Child is difficult to comprehend. We all feel that we might lose our parents before our children and no one has the answers for you. It gives you a sense of purpose and we felt that we needed to do something positive from our loss.
We then had a son, Ollie followed by a daughter Georgia and I felt that continuing to talk about Emily and show big pictures of her at charity events stopped me from moving on as well as proved to be exhausting with two small children! We then closed the Charity and I moved on to raise money for charities such as Clic Sargent, Breast Cancer and the Teenage Cancer Trust.