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MyCare – Autumn 2023

A teenage girl smiles at the camera. She's wearing a yellow top and square glasses.
06 September 2023

MyCare is Sheffield Children’s quarterly newsletter. You can either pick up a printed copy or read about some of the interesting stories and updates from the past few months below.

In the Autumn 2023 issue you can read:

  • Aoife’s tale

    A teenage girl smiles at the camera. She's wearing a yellow top and square glasses.

    Fourteen-year-old Aoife has been a patient at Sheffield Children’s for most of her life, after being born prematurely as one of two surviving identical triplets. She is also a member of our Youth Forum, who discuss the Trust issues that matter most to them.

    Hi, I’m Aoife. I’m writing this to tell you about how Sheffield Children’s have supported me, and how you can support them in the creation of the incredibly exciting National Centre for Child Health Technology (NCCHT) at Sheffield’s Olympic Legacy Park.

    Sheffield Children’s has saved my life on more than one occasion, and I wouldn’t be here without them. After being born prematurely, I’ve grown up with two health conditions – chronic lung disease (also known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) which affects my breathing, and cerebral palsy which mainly affects my legs and means I can’t walk independently all the time.

    When I was younger I was able to walk with my sticks and used my wheelchair for longer distances, but as I grew up, I became stuck in
    a flexed position that started to make walking quite difficult.

    I have fond memories of the playgroup and therapy rooms at Ryegate Children’s Centre when I was younger, and the people there are so friendly.

    I love the hydrotherapy pool, and in 2021 I visited the Gait Lab for the first time, so they could measure and analyse my walking to determine what treatment I could have to help with my mobility. They used specialist equipment to look at how I move my legs and feet, and how that impacts my joints when I walk. Sheffield Children’s is one of only a few NHS Trusts to provide this sort of service.

    Following this, I was offered orthopaedic surgery on my legs. I was very nervous about the surgery because I didn’t know how I would feel afterwards and was worried about the pain. I had it in October 2022; now I can straighten my legs and I’m currently learning to walk again with the help of special braces and a walker. I went back to the Gait Lab where they said I’d been making great progress. They took a video of me walking with my walker as well as lots of measurements.

    But why am I telling you this? It’s because Sheffield Children’s are building a new research and technology centre called the National Centre for Child Health Technology and The Children’s Hospital Charity (TCHC) needs your help to raise £2million towards its build.

    Without the technology they have at the Gait Lab, it would have been much harder to decide on the right treatment for me. At this new centre, they will be doing research and creating new technology that will help to solve some of the biggest challenges in children’s healthcare. There will be state-of-the-art facilities and some of Sheffield Children’s clinical care, like the assessments I’ve had at the Gait Lab, will be moving there.

    So, I’m inviting you to learn more about the NCCHT and contribute towards the creation of something amazing. Visit:


    Out of this world

    A women looks towards a projected space background

    Imagine being surrounded and in reach of the stars, the moon and our solar system? Well that’s what children and young people at the Becton Centre were able to experience recently!

    The team from WonderDome were invited by Becton School – along with their pop-up planetarium – to provide a unique learning and immersive experience.

    Inside the inflatable dome, using visual and audio equipment, students and staff travelled through a 360-degree view of space, meeting astronauts along the way.

    The visit was part of Becton School’s Summer programme which included visits from a mobile zoo, magicians and Sheffield Wednesday Football Club.

    Students at Becton School also took part in mindfulness days where they planted seeds, painted pots and created positive scratch cards for each other.

    Becton School’s wonderful staff volunteered to work in their holidays so that the children and young people can enjoy the sessions.

    Thank you to everyone involved.


    a group of women are looking up at a camera smiling and waving

    Judith, a Public Health Staff Nurse from our School Age Immunisation Service (SAIS), who helps protect your children against very harmful diseases by providing vaccinations.

    How do you help families?

    SAIS are responsible for vaccinating school age children against flu this winter, HPV* in Y8, and Meningitis ACWY and DTP* in Y9. We’re also catching up with MMR* vaccinations which some children missed during the COVID pandemic.

    Why should my child be vaccinated?

    Vaccines are the most effective way to prevent infectious diseases. They help protect vulnerable people in society as well as your own child. They are also completely safe. The very minor side effects are much better than the diseases they protect against.

    We know it’s not always easy though, and we have lots of ways to help children who are anxious about injections. Special sensory clinics run during school holidays, and we even have a VR headset which can help distract children during their vaccination.

    What question do you always get asked by families?

    ‘Does it hurt?’ We don’t lie, it’s completely normal for there to be a scratch but it’s only for one second. The needle is so tiny because there’s a very small amount of solution needed for the vaccination.

    *HPV= Human papillomavirus, DTP= Diphtheria, Tetanus & Polio, MMR= Measles, Mumps and Rubella. Learn more:

    Your chosen stars

    A line of our Star Awards trophies

    Each year Sheffield Children’s holds a very special event to celebrate the wonderful work that goes on across our sites – the Star Awards!

    We can spot some special people for ourselves, but we wanted to know who shone brightest for you – we asked, and you responded!

    We received 180 nominations from families and patients who told us about how our colleagues had gone the extra mile for them. Then it was time for the tricky job of whittling your nominations down to just two winners – an individual and a team.

    (Sheffield Eating Disorder Assessment and Treatment Team). was described as “a literal life saver who was an absolute credit to the NHS”. Her nominators also described how the hard reality of their struggles with eating disorders felt possible because of Lizzie and her “supportive, funny, and kind nature”.

    Meanwhile, our Paediatric Bone Disease Service is an internationally recognised team that provides high quality multi-disciplinary care. They were nominated by a family who said: “There isn’t anything the team wouldn’t do to support us. Osteogenesis Imperfecta doesn’t scare us or stop my son thanks to the love we get from them. They are heroes!”

    Congratulations to both of our Children’s Star Award winners, and thank you to everyone made wrote a nomination!

    Food Works on wards

    Freezers full of sustainably sourced frozen meals provided by Food Works are now available for families staying on wards at Sheffield Children’s.

    These meals suit a range of dietary requirements, including vegan, low-allergen, gluten free, vegetarian and meat options. They’re available in our Parent Kitchens to reheat and eat on a pay-what-you-can basis.

    Youth Forum turns 7!

    Our fantastic Youth Forum – including Aoife! – recently celebrated their 7th birthday and we threw a party in our Joy Garden to say thank you for all their incredible work.

    Thank you too to everyone who made it a special day. Everyone made a personal badge, a DJ helped our members learn a few new tricks, Nelly the therapy dog gratefully accepted pets, and not forgetting The Children’s Hospital Charity’s esteemed mascot, Theo the bear, who enjoyed throwing some shapes on the dance floor!

    A little extra support

    If you’re visiting us with a child who might benefit from a bit of extra support – whether that’s a pre-visit, a quieter waiting room, or a hospital passport – then please get in touch with us before your appointment and we will do our best to make things easier for you.

    Visit, or talk to Joanne Bowers on 07584 345848 or email

    Let’s hear from you!

    Your feedback helps us to improve services and thank staff who have made your experience better. If you’ve recently visited or used services provided by Sheffield Children’s, let us know how it went on the Feedback webpage.

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