March 22, 2024

Hear The Marsden Kids

Campaigning against the closure of children’s cancer services at The Royal Marsden in Sutton, we speak with local resident Jenny Houghton, organiser of the parent-led campaign Hear the Marsden Kids...

What led you to organise this campaign?
“My son Lewis was treated at The Royal Marsden in 2015 with Stage 4 Burkitt’s Lymphoma (a fast-growing tumour in his stomach). Even at the darkest of times, they gave such support and expertise. Lewis thankfully is now 8 ½ years in remission. We owe everything to The Royal Marsden.

“As an ambassador, I was asked to provide ‘expert-by-experience’ insight but unfortunately this fell on deaf ears, so as part of a united group of parents, we felt we had to strongly oppose the decision as widely and publicly as possible to show that it wasn’t just six angry, irrational parents opposed to this, but thousands!”

What are your concerns at the proposed move to London hospitals?
“The proposition is so flawed. I’m speechless it’s even being considered. There’s no guarantee that if the move goes ahead that Evelina, London or St. George’s, Tooting could match, let alone improve the current level of clinical care and expertise offered at The Royal Marsden.

“It will increase journey times and transfers for the vast majority, making those from Surrey, Sussex, Kent & Medway all travel further into London – when you have a critically-ill child with no immune system, this isn’t an option.”

“We owe everything to The Royal Marsden.”

What’s been the response to #HearTheMarsdenKids ?
“Incredible! It’s not just a small group opposing this but tens of thousands strongly in support. I’ve been in tears reading the comments from parents and families posting on the petition page; it shows how important this hospital is to so many people.

“We have shared our Open Letter with both the Secretary of State for Health & Social Care, Victoria Atkins and the NHS Chief Executive, Amanda Pritchard which includes valid, accurate and extensive reasons why this proposal needs to be reconsidered.”

What are you hopeful for?
“I hope and pray this decision is reversed. The NHS is on its knees and needs substantial investment and clear direction – why then spend in excess of £40million to close a purpose built, world leading children’s cancer hospital?!

“We’re all dreading the possibility this will go ahead but when something is so important and a decision is so wrong, we had to do what we could to challenge it.”

Ways you can support #HearTheMarsdenKids
Donate at
Post #HearTheMarsdenKids on social media

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