Bell ringing is sound of hope for brave Jacob

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A brave Melton teenager became the first patient to ring a bell on a hospital’s new children’s cancer ward - signalling the end of his treatment.

Jacob Watkins (13), who was diagnosed with advanced Hodgkins Lymphoma B-cell in August, had spent a lot of time on the wards at Nottingham’s Queens Medical Centre (QMC), due to complications, so it was a huge moment for him and his family when he rang the bell on ward E39.

His proud mum, Trudi, said: “After all the complications, including 10 days at Leicester Royal Infirmary’s Intensive Care Unit after Jake fell sick at home on a break between chemotherapy treatments before Christmas, we almost gave up hope at that point. It’s amazing he looks so much better now and the relief for all of us is incredible.”

Kate Manning, ward sister for E39, said: “We’ve recently installed the bell on our new ward, following a charity donation. The idea is that patients ring it three times when they’ve finished their treatment. It’s such a momentous day for them and their families and we wanted to do something to mark this.

“Jacob was the first patient to finish his treatment since the bell was installed, and had spent a lot of time on our wards, so it was an extra special moment for everyone.”

Jake, who rang the bell earlier this month, also has an older brother, Daniel (19). He attended John Ferneley College up until Easter last year and is currently being home-schooled while his family await an autism diagnosis from the specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

Trudi, of Cedar Drive, added: “Jake will now have lots of scans and blood tests over the next six months to monitor his condition and a lot of physio to build up his leg muscles as he has to use a wheelchair when we’re out as his leg muscles have wasted. Hopefully after this we will find out if he has hit remission.”