“Ringing the Bell is one of those big momentous things you see in the wards. It feels like an achievement. Lizzie’s journey isn’t over yet but this marks something important.”
By Lucy Ashton
Brave patients are able to ring the End of Treatment Bell at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow again, following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.
The first two children to celebrate their milestones, following the re-introduction of the bell, were 11-year-old Toni Chalmers and eight-year old Lizzie Osborne.
Both were joined by family and staff members to mark the end of their treatment at the Schiehallion Ward at the RHC.
Toni was diagnosed with Leukaemia back in 2020 and after difficulty with her first round of treatment, spent the best part of six months in the hospital.
Her dad Robert was beaming with pride when he saw her ringing the bell. He said: “It was an emotional moment for our entire family, we’re so proud of Toni.
“We cannot thank all of the staff enough for everything they have done for Toni and our family, they supported us so much throughout her treatment and it’s amazing to see how full of energy and life she is now.”
Toni was discharged from the ward in 2021 following completion of her treatment, but was unable to ring the bell due to COVID-19 restrictions in place at the time. Those who completed their treatment during the pandemic will be contacted by staff to be offered the opportunity to ring the bell at a family fun day in the summer, or alternatively can be sent a special bell, through charity It’s Good 2 Give, to celebrate the landmark moment at home.
Robert added: “Toni has one more appointment remaining, but I thought it would be a good idea for her to return to the hospital to ring the bell, to say thank you to all of the staff and to help give her a little bit of closure on what was a very difficult time.”
Lizzie, 10, was diagnosed with lymphoblastic lymphoma in October 2020, after they noticed pains in their legs and a lump appearing on their face.
Lizzie’s mum Emma said: “If it wasn’t for Lizzie being so strong, we wouldn’t have stayed so strong.
“Ringing the Bell is one of those big momentous things you see in the wards. It feels like an achievement. Lizzie’s journey isn’t over yet but this marks something important”.
Kirsteen Meikle, Senior Charge Nurse, said: “The ringing of the bell is such a significant milestone and memory for patients and their families to signify the end of their treatment journey and we are delighted to be able to do this again.
“Our patients are absolutely amazing and it is an emotional occasion for everyone, including the staff.
“We’re also pleased to be working with the charity It’s Good 2 Give to ensure that anyone who finished their treatment during COVID and wishes to do this from home is sent a special bell.”