The vascular birthmark clinic at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust now has a second ultrasound machine thanks to the efforts of a young fundraiser and the support of a national charity.
Funding for the new state-of-the-art machine has been provided by the Birthmark Support Group which was set up 16 years ago by parents of children born with birthmarks.
The £16,000 donation means more patients with vascular birthmarks can now be treated using injection treatments, without the need for any surgery or scars, at a number of venues across the South Tees area.
And it includes more than £2,000 raised by 11-year-old Oliver Gatenby who has been receiving treatment at The James Cook University Hospital after being born with a facial birthmark known as a venous malformation.
Last year Oliver and his dad Andy cycled an impressive 101km across North Yorkshire to raise funds. The duo rode from their home in Low Worsall (near Yarm) to Scruton, before heading to Masham and Bedale, and then returning home.
The vascular birthmark clinic, led by plastic surgeon Mr Tobian Muir, has performed more than 3,000 injection treatments to patients from all over the UK and as far afield as Sweden, Ireland and Bulgaria.
Mr Muir said: “State-of-the-art ultrasound machines are critical to ensure safe and more effective treatment for the many patients that come to our unit. They also allow us to perform ultrasound investigations at a first clinic visit to give immediate feedback on diagnosis and to plan treatments without delay.
“Every year we treat more than 100 new patients and we provide clinics at the Friarage in Northallerton, Redcar Primary Care Hospital and One Life in Linthorpe Road as well as at James Cook.
“This second machine will enable us to have equipment on two sites at any one time while also providing a back-up in case one should ever break down.”
Emma Ham-Riche, chairman of the Birthmark Support Group said: “Birthmark Support Group is pleased to have been able to fund this machine which will enable more children and adults to receive treatment.
“We are also extremely proud of Oliver, not just for his incredible fundraising efforts but also as a young ambassador for the charity, helping us to achieve one of our aims, which is to raise awareness and acceptance of birthmarks.”