Top Neurosurgeon joins Team Tom

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Tom’s Trust is delighted to announce that Helen Fernandes, renowned Neurosurgeon at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, has agreed to become our Patron.

Helen Fernandes was appointed as Consultant Neurosurgeon at the internationally renowned Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge in 2002, the first female surgeon to be appointed there. She specialises in the treatment of both adult and paediatric patients with brain and spinal problems. Until recently, Helen chaired the UK branch of Women in Surgery, which is part of the Royal College of Surgeons, and in 2011 she was one of four Addenbrooke’s experts named in The Times directory of top surgeons.

She says “I am deeply honoured to be asked and accept the role of Patron to Tom’s Trust. Supporting such a passionate and successful organisation is my small part, I hope, in helping making a difference for children and families who find themselves in these difficult circumstances.

I am very admiring of Tom’s parents and what they and others have created, it is humbling to be asked to make a contribution and I very much look forward to working with them.”

The operations that Dr Fernandes conducts for children can vary widely in their levels of complexity. Typical operations can include removal of a brain tumour, surgery to remove a tumour where malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the brain or spinal cord. Surgery to remove a tumour from the brain stem is another challenging operation that she performs on children. Although these operations can be risky, an important part of her job is reassuring children and their parents and offering them hope.

Debs Whiteley, Tom’s Mum commented “We are delighted to have Helen as our Patron and particularly recognise her dedication as a surgeon helping some of the children we support through our service. We feel privileged to have Helen on board and look forward to working together to make changes to this group of children’s lives.”

We provides tailored emotional and psychological rehabilitation to children aged 0-16 with brain tumours and their families. Tom’s Trust is unique in providing Clinical Psychology working with other therapists to provide the best possible outcomes for this group of children.

Through an innovative charitable partnership, we have founded the UK’s first complete rehabilitation service within a hospital environment, initially at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

Since its launch in 2013, the rehabilitation service we co-founded has cared for more than 250 children with a brain tumour. Between September 2015 and August 2016 we have supported 39 children newly diagnosed – 17 girls and 22 boys aged 0-16. This is an increase of 56% from 2014/15.

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