A Heathfield couple whose world turned upside down when their son was diagnosed with leukaemia are raising money to improve the hospital ward he has been staying at.
Kyan Higgs was rushed to the Kipling Ward at Conquest Hospital in Hastings with suspected appendicitis in 2017, after suffering with severe tummy pains.
But after some blood tests, his mum and dad, Lia and Justin, were given the news that he had leukaemia.
Now, the couple, who previously lived in Eastbourne, want to raise funds for items for Room 7 in the Kipling Ward – where Kyan and other children are treated – to help make it a ‘better place to be’.
They have compiled a list of items that are needed, such as a TV, music docking station, a projector and sensory equipment.
Justin, 46, a signwriter and graphic designer, who runs Jellyfish Design Ltd, is going to decorate the room for free.
We were told that our son must not leave the room at all – the room was kitted out with everything we would need to survive the apocalypse.Lia Higgs
Lia, 44, a message therapist who runs Acropora Massage Therapy & Beauty in Heathfield, said: “When we arrived at the hospital we were taken into Room 7. While waiting for the doctor’s to arrive I remember looking around this room and thinking oh my goodness – you must be serious.
“We were told that our son must not leave the room at all – the room was kitted out with everything we would need to survive the apocalypse.
“But it was a plain, frankly depressing room with just a couple of old wall stickers, a fold-up camp bed a couple of chairs. I wondered how many children and families had stayed in this room before us.
“We were told that this was us for the next three and a half years. We were devastated – we could not believe it.”
Lia set up a gofundme online fundraising page on Monday and more than £1,000 was donated in just two days.
“I can’t believe it – it’s unbelievable,” she said.
“I am shocked by the amount of total strangers who have donated and the amount of people who have got in touch.
“The more money we can raise – if we can get Room 7 done – we could try and improve other rooms there.”
Kyan, now aged seven, is in his last year of treatment and is on track to beating the cancer, Lia said.
“It is such a hard time and such an emotional time for families,” she commented, while holding back tears.
“There are lots of charities out there that support the families with gifts, days out, holidays and money, but nothing that actually helps the families through the tough times when stuck and isolated from their homes, friends and family.
“Having to spend long periods of time away from things that just help to make life a bit easier, especially when you’re poorly.
“Together as a family; and with the support of the team at Kipling Ward, we are trying to raise money to purchase items for Room 7 that will help to make it a better place to be for all the families in Sussex that have and will need to use it.
“Sometimes you can be in there for a long time. When you are stuck in there for a long time you realise how little the room has. As a family we realise how much of a difference these things could make.”
Lia said the ‘love and support’ from NHS staff has been amazing and that they would love to provide more but they can’t due to not having the funding.
To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/f/kyan039s-kipling-makeover-mission.