A girl who had to live in an isolation 'bubble' as part of her treatment for a rare illness is calling on people to support the charity which has helped support her family.
Phoebe Doneghan, from South Shields, is fronting the Great Rainbow Bake Campaign to help raise funds for Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity, which supports families with a seriously ill child.
The six-year-old was diagnosed with Fanconi Anaemia in March 2018, an extremely rare disease that affects the bone marrow.
She is continuing to recover from a bone marrow transplant, which meant she had to live in isolation in the early days after the procedure.
Her family, who live in Westoe Crown Village, has been supported by Rainbow Trust for the past year and she has been chosen to be the face of the charity’s baking fundraiser.
Phoebe’s mum Lauren, 35, an assistant area manager for South Tyneside Homes, said: “It is fantastic that Phoebe is well enough to front the Great Rainbow Bake Campaign and it’s an opportunity for our whole family to show our thanks to Rainbow Trust for all the support we have been given over the past year.”
Shortly after Phoebe’s diagnosis she underwent a grueling bone marrow transplant, with the team at the Great North Children's Hospital at Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle caring for the Westoe Crown Primary pupil.
Incredibly her dad Tom, 33, who works as a senior executive officer for the DWP, was a perfect match for his daughter and was able to donate bone marrow to her, but the recovery process has been very challenging.
Lauren said: “Phoebe had had severe pneumonia over Christmas 2017, and had blood tests.
"Until then she had been absolutely fine, she’d get sick over Christmas, but we thought that was just Phoebe.
"Tests revealed that her bone marrow was failing so she had a bone marrow transplant on July 12, 2018.
“Phoebe had to spend 37 days in an isolation ‘bubble’ after her bone marrow transplant, where she could not have any visitors aside from me or my husband.
"Since August 2018 she’s still been in semi-isolation at home where she couldn’t mix with people outside the family as her immune system was still so compromised.
"Only now are we able to start her mixing with friends and letting her go to parties.
"She’s still not back at school although we are hoping she can start soon.
“Having our Rainbow Trust family support worker Monica Dooley there was a huge support to myself and my family, it gave us a much-needed break to do chores, make phone calls or grab something to eat.
"Those long days in isolation were relentless, so having Monica come in to give us a break made such a difference for all of us.
“We are so grateful for Monica who has supported and guided us through a very difficult year. I would recommend Rainbow Trust to other families in need and we urge as many people as possible to get involved with the Great Rainbow Bake, even in a small way, to help raise funds for the charity.”
When serious illness affects a child, like Phoebe, family life is turned upside down and time becomes more precious than ever.
Rainbow Trust pairs each family with a dedicated expert family support worker to help them face and make the most of each new day.
Rainbow Trust family support workers are there for the whole family to help with whatever they need so that they don’t have to manage alone.
Oonagh Goodman, director of fundraising and Marketing at Rainbow Trust, said: “We are delighted that Phoebe is well enough to front our Great Rainbow Bake Campaign.
"It is time dust off your aprons and get silly, get messy and get baking with friends and family to help us fund our vital support for families with a seriously ill child.
"Money raised from the event will enable families with a seriously ill child to make the most of the precious time they have together.”
Rainbow Trust is a national charity providing expert practical and emotional support to families, where they need it, to help them make the most of each new day. It relies almost entirely on voluntary donations and thanks to the generosity of its supporters helps over 2,500 families through its nine care teams in England.
The Great Rainbow Bake, which is also supported by 2016 Great British Bake Off winner Candice Brown, takes place from May 6 until May 12 and invites people to take on the challenge of rainbow baking with family, friends or colleagues to raise vital funds to support families with a seriously ill child when it matters most.
Rainbow Trust has eight care teams of family support workers across England, including the North East covering Cleveland, County Durham, Northumberland, Redcar, Teesside and Tyne and Wear helping families at home, in hospital and in the community wherever they can to make life easier.
To get involved visit rainbowtrust.org.uk/bake to sign up and download your fundraising pack which includes bunting, posters and cake labels.
People can also find inspiring rainbow recipes to suit all budgets and skill levels, including rainbow cakes from Great British Bake Off winners Candice alongside Nadiya Hussain, plus cake kits by Craft and Crumb to purchase.