This year marks the tenth anniversary of the very special Alfie Gough toy run, bringing joy to children at Great Ormond Street Hospital for what may, for some, be their last Christmas.
The Alfie Gough Trust is run by Sarah and Dean Gough in memory of son Alfie who lost his life to neuroblastoma -a rare type of cancer that mostly affects babies and young children – at the age of two on July 29, 2010.
The couple, from Ramsgate, have organised the toy run every year since 2010 as a way of helping other families to have a good Christmas while on the hospital ward. They have just completed the run for this year.
Sarah, who is also mum to Harry and Louis, said: “This is our tenth year and, on reflection, back in 2010 we had this idea and set out raising monies from selling raffle tickets in our local supermarkets over a few days whilst dressed as Santa’s elves.
“Our target was to raise the funds to buy toys for the children spending Christmas on the oncology ward at Great Ormond Street. It was always our way of staying connected to the hospital where we spent Alfie’s last Christmas together.
“Wonderful support from the community and the commitment of donations from local businesses help us keep this going. We were delighted to have support from Enterprise Rental Car of Broadstairs, Perry’s of Broadstairs, Margate Girls Youth FC and a children’s Christmas party held at Macies bar Ramsgate.
“With all those kind donations we can continue to bring this small piece of magic to those families with children at the oncology ward at Great Ormond Street, a place which is dear to us as a memory of our son Alfie.
“We are always taken aback when we arrive on the ward to see the number of families cherishing those special moments.”
The couple joined this year’s family Christmas party at Macies, which raised a brilliant £800 to spend on toy run gifts.
Sarah said: “We want to give special thanks to Sabrina who always manages to bring the magic of Christmas to Macies, making it an amazing place for families to come together. The bar has adopted the Alfie Gough Trust and made it their charity of choice and we are truly grateful to Sabrina and family and all the regulars.”
Through the Alfie Gough Trust, Sarah, Dean and their family and friends raise awareness of neuroblastoma and support children with cancer and their families with events ranging from the annual teddy bears’ picnic at King George VI Park to the Great Ormond Street toy run.
Dean said: “We always recall our time in the hospital where we met many other parents who, due to their child’s illness, were unable to continue to work or had lost their job. Many were faced with financial challenges.
“They were then spending Christmas on the ward with concerns for the future as a family. This small contribution of Christmas toys hopefully will bring joy at this special time to the families on the ward who may be spending their last moments together as a family.”
Find out more about the Trust here