Bid to raise £3.65m for pioneering rare disease unit smashes via major milestone

Birmingham Children's Hospital

Birmingham Children’s Hospital treats more than one in 20 children who suffer rare diseases

The Sunday Mirror teamed up with Birmingham Children’s Hospital to secure funds that would help some of the UK’s most desperately ill children. A bid to raise £3.65million for a pioneering rare disease unit has reached a major milestone after soaring past the £1.5m mark.

After thousands of donations – which included a £700,000 Government pledge – the hospital’s Star Appeal is now well on its way to reaching its target.

But the UK’s leading specialists on Saturday night issued an impassioned plea to keep up the momentum, saying: “Please help make our dreams a reality.”

Dr Larissa Kerecuk, the hospital’s rare disease lead, said: “We are very excited to reach this key milestone in our fundraising for the Star Appeal.

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George Osborne pledged £700,000 in Libor scandal fines to the hospital

“We are constantly striving to further enhance the outstanding care we deliver and are proud that our new centre has been co-designed with our patients, as it will improve the lives of thousands of families.

“For the first time our experts will work collectively to provide co-ordinated care for our children and young people affected by rare diseases, but none of this will be possible if we don’t hit our £3.65m target.

“Please help us make our dreams a reality and consider making a donation.”

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The Sunday Mirror helped kick-start the hospital’s Star Appeal by revealing the tragic stories of sick ­youngsters who have had pioneering care at the hospital.

And we vowed to help health chiefs raise enough cash to create a world-class rare disease centre for youngsters with undiagnosed illnesses.

Just weeks after launching our appeal, George Osborne used his budget to pledge £700,000 of fines from the Libor scandal.

Birmingham Childrens Hospital
The Star Appeal will create the UK’s first Rare Diseases Centre at Birmingham Children’s Hospital

It was part of a £5m foreign exchange market.

Sarah-Jane Marsh, chief executive at the hospital, said: “We are delighted to have reached such a significant milestone in our £3.65m Star Appeal.

“I want to say a huge and heartfelt thank you to everyone who has helped us to get there, including the Chancellor who pledged a very generous donation as part of his Budget Statement earlier this year.

“We are seeing more and more patients with very rare and complex conditions and each and every one of these children deserves to be treated in a unique and personalised way.

“That’s exactly why we need to deliver this new dedicated centre – the first of its kind in the UK for children with rare diseases.

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“There is still a way to go but we are confident that over the next nine months, with continued support, we will have raised the remaining £2.15m needed to get to our target.

“Please help us in any way you can as our centre will improve the lives of thousands of families from across the UK who have children living with rare or undiagnosed conditions, deserving of outstanding care.”

Currently Birmingham Children’s Hospital treats more than one in 20 of all children from across the UK who suffer rare diseases.

That accounts for more than 9,000 youngsters a year fighting more than 500 frightening illnesses.

The Star Appeal will create the UK’s first Rare Diseases Centre which will provide patients with diagnosis, coordinated care, research and treatment, but most importantly hope.

For more info on the Star Appeal visit or text STAR to 70800 to donate £5 (standard network rates apply).