Sunday, December 20, 2015

Elton Meets The Australian PM, Backs the GOSH Appeal

Thank-you Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for welcoming me so warmly into your office. Thank-you for supporting the Global Fund in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Together we can all make AIDS history.


Sir Elton John praised the “care and devotion” of staff at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) today as he threw his weight behind The Independent’s Give to GOSH appeal.

The endorsement coincides with day one of the appeal’s second online Christmas auction, where prizes include two front-row tickets to see Sir Elton in Las Vegas, a London Eye champagne pod, and a private Topshop shopping spree.

The multiplatinum-selling singer, whose godson Louis Dundas was treated at the hospital before dying of a brain tumour in 2008, emphasised the importance of research into children’s palliative care, and urged readers to give generously “in the name of Louis and all the children who have been taken from us too soon”.

Even after doctors said he had only a month to live, Louis went on living for another 10, often in terrible pain, his experience highlighting gaps in our understanding of palliative care for children.

Louis’s mother, the businesswoman Ruth Kennedy, founded the Louis Dundas Centre, a groundbreaking centre at GOSH dedicated to the practice and research of paediatric palliative care. A significant amount of the money raised in the Give to GOSH appeal will go to the centre.

“The Louis Dundas Centre means something positive can come out of Louis’s experience,” the singer told The Independent. “And it is an opportunity to ensure that one little boy’s suffering brings relief to millions.” Reflecting on Louis’ death, he said: “Nothing can prepare you for the heartache of losing a child, but to watch that child suffer in unimaginable pain is perhaps an even greater cross to bear. Louis was just four years old when he died. Regretfully, for his family and all those that knew and loved him, he did not slip peacefully away as we had all hoped he might.

“I am thankful… to the palliative care doctors and nurses at GOSH for their tireless efforts with Louis and his family, both throughout his illness and after his death. However, his experience and the pain he suffered highlighted just how crucial research into paediatric palliative care and pain management is. This is something we cannot ignore. Children are our future and we as their protectors have a duty to make their lives, and deaths where it is sadly the case, as comfortable as possible.”

Sir Elton added: “Let’s help make the palliative care journey a less painful one for families in the future.”

Bidding will close at 9pm on Tuesday 22 December. For more information about all the lots – and to make your bid – please visit www.givergy.com/charity/gosh

- Independent

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