Get set to Sparkle for Axl!

Kelly Thornham News

Bradford Hospitals’ Charity is asking people to wear something sparkly on Friday 9 December and help raise money to fund toys and specialist play equipment for young patients.

The annual Sparkle for Axl Day – held in memory of little Axl Walker – sees NHS staff and members of the public donning something sparkly for one day and making a donation.

Axl had a rare blood disorder and was a regular patient at Bradford Royal Infirmary before he sadly died three days before his third birthday in 2018. Since then, Bradford Hospitals’ Charity – the official NHS charity of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – has raised money in his memory to ensure other young patients have access to toys to distract and relax them while they are in hospital.

Watch the charity’s appeal film here: https://youtu.be/EF6DtnlW2fQ

Bradford City AFC has thrown its support behind the appeal again this year by dedicating a match to the Sparkle for Axl Appeal. The City v Rochdale game on Saturday 17 December will see charity supporters out in force with their collection buckets. Football supporters will also be asked to hold their phone torches in the air during the half time entertainment to make the stadium ‘Sparkle for Axl’.

Claire Walker, Axl’s mum, said: “My family and I are so proud to support Bradford Hospitals’ Charity and Sparkle for AXL Appeal. It’s so important to us that we can keep Axl’s memory alive and build this legacy.

“It made a massive difference to Axl having toys to distract him while he was having his treatment and it allowed him to still feel like he was a child. Play is a big part of child development, so it’s vitally important we continue to raise money to help buy toys and equipment to give children a little normality while in hospital, and distract them while treatment is taking place.”

Sharon Milner, Director of Bradford Hospitals’ Charity, said: “Play is crucial for wellbeing and healthy development. Not only does it provide a distraction during what can be a stressful time, but research has also found that we are better able to cope when we are relaxed, and so this can help with recovery. It also helps children share their feelings, which is so important.

“We funded more than £24,000 worth of toys and play equipment during the past year, which just shows the importance we place on the happiness and wellbeing of our young patients.”

More information about the Sparkle for Axl Appeal can be found at https://bradfordhospitalscharity.org/sparkle/

Please let us know if your school or workplace is holding a Sparkle for Axl Day by emailing [email protected] or calling 01274 274809.

You can make your own donation to Sparkle for Axl by visiting https://bradfordhospitalscharity.enthuse.com/cf/sparkle-for-axl-appeal or text AXL followed by your donation amount to 70085.

Lucas, Claire, and River Walker with a photograph of their beloved Axl