Five year old Toby's treatment bell triumph is the perfect Christmas gift
21 December 2018
From the age of two, Toby Peters, from Rayleigh, has been fighting cancer. Now, at five years old and on the run up to Christmas he’s finally getting 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
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
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,
"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.
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
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."