Jake was just three years old when he caught a life-threatening virus that attacked his liver. In December 2021, he was diagnosed with hyper acute liver failure and the family were told he would need a transplant to save his life.
Within a week of being at King's College Hospital, Jake was placed at the top of the nationwide emergency liver transplant list.
While the family waited for his transplant, Jake was put into a medically induced coma to prevent brain damage. He spent two weeks in the intensive care unit and five weeks on Ray of Sunshine paediatric liver ward before being discharged.
“The treatment and attention Jake received at King's was exceptional,” says Jake’s mum, Olivia.
“The staff were incredible, they cared for Jake like he was their own son. We wouldn’t have our Jakey, and Hugo wouldn’t have his brother, without King's and the care that he received from their wonderful staff. We owe them everything.”
To show their immense gratitude, the Rice family pledged to raise £10,000 to help King’s College Hospital Charity refurbish and replenish the hospital’s playroom.
Many children at King’s can spend weeks confined to their bed or the ward and the playroom is their only chance to escape hospital life. Toys, games and activities are vital tools in aiding physical and mental recovery and the Rice family were determined to raise enough money so that there were enough resources for every child.
“When Jake was physically able, he spent most of his time in the hospital playroom,” says Olivia.
“It became his happy place where he could be a three-year-old again. It was a place where he wasn’t being poked and prodded with needles and constantly assessed by doctors. He got to play with toys and paint dinosaurs and be a child again.
“We want to transform the playroom into a magical place for kids. We want to give every child a chance to disconnect and – even just for a few moments – feel like they are at home. They need new toys, books, musical instruments and activities. And for children that leave the ICU, who are struggling with withdrawal symptoms from the very strong medication and, in some cases, are suffering with post-traumatic stress, sensory lights and activities will help aid their recovery.”
The Rice family have more than doubled their original target and have so far raised an incredible £25,000! And they are not stopping.
“We would also like to help ease the burden of other families at the hospital by transforming the parent room, which has very limited amenities. If we can help make a parent’s stay more comfortable, that’s one less thing they have to worry about.
“We started fundraising to express our deepest gratitude to King’s for saving our little boy’s life and to give something back to help other families who are on this terrifying journey. Please donate as little or as much as you can, so that, together, we can create a little bit of happiness for the children and families that are suffering on a daily basis. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts!”
Will you be there for King's staff, patients, and their families?
King's College Hospital Charity makes a real difference to our hospitals by enabling developments above and beyond what the NHS is able to provide so that patients like Jake can achieve the best possible outcomes.
Show your support and donate to the Rice family's fundraising page by following the link below.