‘Her mum would have been so proud’

April 30 2018

AN exceptionally brave girl has been raising funds for the cancer centre that cared for her mum.

Alexandra Couston (known as Alex) was diagnosed with leukaemia in December 2015. During Alex’s treatment on ward 703 at The Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre (BHOC), her partner Conrad Hutton often spent the night at her side, trying to sleep on a chair, making a bed by pushing two chairs together or lying on the bench seating in the patient lounge, as unfortunately the ward wasn’t equipped with sleeper chairs. 

Following a long and brave battle, Alex died in July 2017. Wanting to do something positive in her memory, Conrad and their three daughters Scarlett, Mabel and Iris decided to collect donations in lieu of flowers at her celebration of life service, in line with her wishes.

 The idea was to help fund the purchase of a Readybed Sleeper Chair for ward 703 as part of a campaign by Above & Beyond, a charity that raises funds to support Bristol’s city centre hospitals. These chairs easily convert from a chair into a bed, allowing loved ones to stay with patients during their time in hospital and is something that would have helped Alex’s family during her treatment. 

As part of the fundraising appeal, Iris, who is a Year 4 pupil at Emersons Green Primary School, also decided to organise a second hand toy and cake sale at her school with two of her friends on Friday March 16. 

Conrad said: “One day Iris came home from school to say that she, and her friends Evie-Bea and Megan, had decided to hold a toy and cake sale to raise funds for Above & Beyond. They had a meeting with their headteacher Mr Hemmings to discuss it and decide on a date, and Iris wrote a short article for the school newsletter to publicise it and also spoke to the whole school in assembly too. 

“I am so proud of her for so many reasons; for wanting to help others; for being so brave; for her determination to do it; for her focus on making it successful; for raising around £600. Most of all I am so proud, and I know her mum Alex would be too, that she has been able to, at the age of nine, make such a positive contribution. Alex always thought of others before herself and I can see so many of her qualities in Iris.” 

As part of their fundraising Alex’s family have been able to raise £2000, helping Above & Beyond to purchase four Readybed Sleeper Chairs for BHOC’s Haematology Department. 

Lydia McGivern, community fundraising officer for Above & Beyond said: “I’d like to say a huge thank you to Iris, Megan and Evie-Bea who did an amazing job fundraising for Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre.”

To find out more about Above & Beyond, visit https://www.aboveandbeyond.org.uk