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Local mum raises over £5,000 for children’s unit in memory of son

A Bournemouth mother has raised more than £5,000 for the children’s unit in memory of her son.

Jennifer McDermott’s son Alfie died from asthma last summer at the age of seven and in his memory she decided to give something back to the unit and staff that cared for him.

Fundraising for Alfie began when a group of parents at his school raised money for a memorial bench. The appeal was put onto Facebook and, as there was money left over, Jennifer decided that the extra cash would go towards supporting treatment for future patients with respiratory problems. When asked how best to spend the money, the children’s unit decided on a FeNO machine to be used by asthmatic patients in children’s outpatient services.

A FeNO machine measures nitric oxide levels and chest inflation. When you have more inflamed airways, as you do with asthma, it can result in an increase in exhaled nitric oxide. The machine is interactive and easy for children to use, giving immediate results that can be used by the doctors and nurses to help guide children and families on how to control their asthma.

Out of the £5,000 raised, £1,200 was made from the sponsorship of two of Jennifer’s family friends who completed a half marathon in Bournemouth Marathon Festival in October 2018 and one of Alfie’s friends Mia, 7, also ran one kilometre to raise money.

“I just want to say thank you to anyone that has helped make this a reality,” said Jennifer, who also brought in thank you cards for the staff that cared for Alfie.

“I’m incredibly grateful to everyone that has raised funds for this machine that will help treat children with breathing problems at the hospital.”

The unit doesn’t currently have a permanent FeNO machine and the new equipment will ‘of huge benefit’ according to the unit’s matron, Karen Fernley.

“Having our own machine will be of huge benefit to our patients and their families as it will make our assessment of asthma more effective,” said Karen. 

“Jennifer has done an amazing job raising the funds and the hard work and generosity from her and everyone that donated will help improve care for patients in the future.”

Alfie’s appeal is no longer accepting donations but if you would like to donate to Poole Hospital Charity to help fund provisions above and beyond what the NHS can offer, ensuring patients get treated more quickly and comfortably, visit

Local mum raises over £5,000 for hospital children’s unit in memory of son

Emma Eaton, deputy sister, children’s outpatients, Karen Fernley children’s unit matron, Jennifer McDermott, Alfie’s mother, Harry McDermott, Alfie’s brother John McDermott Alfie’s father, Sadie Newton, nursing associate and Dr Steve Wadams, consultant paediatrician and clinical director

Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Longfleet Road, Poole, Dorset BH15 2JB. Tel: 01202 665511

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