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Five year old Toby's treatment bell triumph

10 January 2019

From the age of two, Toby Peters, from Rayleigh, has been fighting cancer. Now, at five years old and just before Christmas he finally got the chance to ring his end of cancer treatment bell at Southend University Hospital.

As well as a triumphant act that signals the end of treatment for Toby's acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, the ringing of the bell in Neptune Ward, has an extra added significance as it was the Peters family that instigated the idea for the bell on the children's ward.

A year and a half ago, Toby and his family, including mum Heather, dad Warren and nine year old brother Noah, wanted to give something back to Neptune Ward in the form of the bell, as their way of saying thank you to the staff for their hard work and dedication. They'd seen the success of a similar bell in Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) and wanted to help bring it to Southend.

Heather contacted the End of Treatment Bell Charity run by Tracey Payton in association with the Maria Watt Foundation, who aim to place these bells into hospitals nationally and internationally, for children and adults with cancer to ring when they complete their treatment.

Of seeing their youngest son finally ring the bell, Heather said: "We just want to say a big thank you to all the staff on Neptune Ward and throughout the NHS that has helped our family, especially Toby.

 

"He has fought extremely hard to be where he is today, to ring the bell. But, we couldn't have done it without all the smiles as we walked in onto the ward, or the care."

Toby rang the bell in front of his family, including relatives that had come over especially from Canada, and staff that had cared for him on the ward.

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Heather added: "I remember seeing the bell at GOSH and feeling a renewed sense of determination that Toby was going to make it to the end of treatment and was going to ring the bell.

"We wanted to give something back to every single member of staff on Neptune Ward, who always made us feel so welcome and secure."

The Peters family were there for that very first ringing of the bell in July 2017 by Conall Riley, then aged nine, from Westcliff, who was declared as being in remission for Ewings Sarcoma, a rare bone cancer, after 14 rounds of chemotherapy in 18 months.

Since then that bell on the children's ward has rung out a further two times. Play Specialist, Emma Fox, said: "The bell is an important milestone for families reaching the end of treatment. It also holds real significance for the staff, as we spend so much time with these wonderful children and their relatives and we look forward to seeing our patients ringing the bell and celebrating that occasion with them."

NR85b (2018)