BubbleBusters is a brand-new pilot project we’re launching that utilises telepresence devices such as desktop robots (AV1) in order to combat the lengthy periods of isolation young children suffer as a result of cancer treatment.

Chemotherapy compromises the child’s immune system, making them very susceptible to colds, chicken pox etc which can be devastating if contracted. Because of this, they can spend anywhere from 6 months to several years completely isolated within hospitals and in their home.

SpecialEffect is hoping to be a catalyst in helping these children to connect with their friends and their schools once again.

We currently have 6 robots in use with a further 9 reserved via referrals.

We’re working with a 9-year-old lad who’s mad about strategy and base building games. He LOVES playing games.

He has an aggressive form of Leukaemia and the surgery he’ll be having (Bone Marrow Transplant, usually a last resort yet he’s already booked in for it despite only being diagnosed a few months ago) will mean he’ll be isolated for a further 6 months minimum. During this time, the AV1 and the games he plays will hopefully bring him some much needed joy and social interaction during his recovery process.

Sam had been unable to go to school for over three years due to his ongoing treatment but the robot had begun to reconnect him with his classmates and help him start to catch up on precious lost time with schoolwork. Sam was our very first ‘BubbleBuster’ and the inspiration behind the whole project. Very, very sadly, Sam lost his battle at the end of November; utterly heartbreaking. Through Sam’s example, we aim to enhance the lives of many, many more children with leukaemia by providing a way to reconnect with their friends and education to bring an end to their isolation. ‘It’s life-changing for an isolated child. They’re not alone.’ [Sam’s mum]

Seren is a six year-old girl who was diagnosed with leukaemia last year. During lessons, her desktop robot sits on her desk at school and attends lessons as if she were in the classroom herself. She can even ask and answer questions – instead of putting her hand up, she makes a light flash on her robot’s head. At breaktimes, her friends take the robot outside with them so she doesn’t miss out on mixing with them socially.

‘Seren loves school and still feels part of that community, and because of the robot she knows they haven’t forgotten her which is vital for when she eventually returns. The robot allows her to have so many positive experiences; ten out of ten in spelling tests, reading her creative writing to her teacher and even playing games with her friends during Friday afternoon golden time.’ [Seren’s mum]

SpecialEffect are constantly fundraising and we are absolutely indebted to many wonderful Trusts, Foundations, individuals, businesses, schools and community groups for such incredible support who help us in so many different ways.

SpecialEffect, The Stable Block, Cornbury Park, Charlbury, Oxfordshire, OX7 3EH. Registered Charity No. 1121004. T: 01608 810055 E: info@specialeffect.org.uk www.specialeffect.org.uk

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *