QEH pupils' group effort to fund US stem cell treatment for teacher’s wife who has MS

July 28 2016

Pupils at Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital (QEH) have raised a magnificent £37,488 following a fundraising campaign to support the family of much loved sports teacher Simon Albon.


Pupils at Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital (QEH) have raised a magnificent £37,488 following a fundraising campaign to support the family of much loved sports teacher Simon Albon.  

Simon wanted to raise £20,800 to travel to America with his wife, Laura, for pioneering stem cell therapy to treat her aggressive Multiple Sclerosis (MS).  Thanks to the amazing fundraising efforts the school community there is enough money to pay for both Simon and Laura’s travel to the US, and fund an upgrade in the treatment to give Laura the very best chance of success. 

Simon said: "I am in awe of my wife and her ability to battle her disease every day.  We have a gorgeous 15 month old son and she is a superb mother.  It breaks my heart to see what she has to endure to complete everyday tasks.  Even simple trips to the shops are too difficult and most of the time Laura avoids trips out of the house, unless I can be with her to support her.

“Stem cell therapy has shown remarkable results all over the world in halting the disease but we are several years away from this being available on the NHS, hence the need to travel to America.”

The money has been raised via the crowdfunding website, Go Fund Me, but also by a number of different activities that the boys came up with.  Bertie Scoble, Year 12, held an afternoon tea and charity auction at his home and raised in the region of £4,000.  QEH Year 9 boys held a Charity Challenge Day, taking part in a number of physical activities that they received sponsorship for and raised £2,360.  Year 7 boys also held a Charity Day which included a staff car wash and raised £460, plus a group of Year 7 parents got together and organised a £10 an hour football match with lots of activities which raised £2,270.  

The boys have also completed lots of individual challenges. As well as sponsored swims and charity concerts, one boy took his cello to Clifton Village for an impromptu street performance, raising £90, another walked the 12 miles to school which meant he had to get up at 3.45am and raised over £200.

The Junior School took part in a ‘Climb Everest’ event which involved boys climbing Brandon Hill enough times to have climbed Everest and one of the catering ladies knitted a fantastic QEH bear which was raffled and raised £163. QEH will also be making a donation to the MS Therapy Centre in Bradley Stoke, which has supported Laura hugely.

Former pupils of the school have also thrown their support behind the campaign and took part in charity football match at the school’s sports grounds at Failand in June, organised by Old Elizabethans AFC.

Laura, who worked as a nurse within the NHS, was diagnosed with MS in February 2009.  Her symptoms range from severe fatigue, an inability to balance and walk, numbness, depression, swallowing and speech problems and bladder issues.  She used to be able to play sports and exercise, walk to work and complete a busy shift on the ward looking after her patients.  Now she is lucky if she can walk 100 metres with a walking stick.

 Stephen Holliday, headmaster at QEH, said: “Simon is an incredibly popular teacher, among pupils, parents and staff, and it is wonderful to see the whole school community coming together to support his family.”

You can learn more about the school’s fundraising efforts, and make a donation via the gofundme page: www.gofundme.com/FightLaurasMS.