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Manchester Foundation
Trust Charity

Hollyoaks Star Backs Charity’s Lantern Walk to Support Patients Like Her Son

Adam Condron at a fundraising school sale
Wednesday 26th October 2022

HOLLYOAKS actress Kelly Condron has, for the first time, shared the story of her son’s hospital treatment, in the hopes it encourages families to sign up to a Manchester charity event.

Kelly is backing Manchester Foundation Trust Charity’s Lantern Walk, which will see participants do a sponsored walk around Heaton Park at dusk on Saturday 12th November to fundraise for hospitals across Greater Manchester. This year the event is kindly sponsored by Manchester-based business Happy Linen Company.

Kelly and her family were participants in last year’s event and know all too well what lifesaving and life-changing work the hospitals do. Her son George has been a long-term patient of Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital – one of ten local NHS hospitals the event will help support.

“Ever since George’s treatment at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital we’ve done whatever we can to raise money for them,” said Kelly.

“The Lantern Walk last year was absolutely brilliant. It truly is magical seeing all the lanterns twinkling in the dark at the end of the walk. And Heaton Park is such a beautiful place to walk around.

“It’s a really accessible and family-friendly event too. I’d encourage anyone to take part.”

Kelly with George and Matilda at last year's Lantern Walk

George Condron, aged 11, has been diagnosed with Barrett’s oesophagus, having suffered from reflux since he was a baby. The condition, which is more common in older people, can cause indigestion and heartburn. Some sufferers have difficulty swallowing food. A less common side effect is having reflux – where food comes back up from the stomach into the food pipe.

Unfortunately, George’s symptoms are bad acid reflux and this has caused damage to his oesophagus. Procedures to help widen and stretch it have been performed by surgeons at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.

Kelly, 39, explained: “He’s had about 10 procedures at the hospital to stretch his oesophagus and help with his swallowing. His first operation was about five or six years ago, so we’re semi-regulars now. We’ve spent quite a lot of time in the children’s hospital.

“He’s been through so much with his Barrett’s oesaphagus and he’s been in and out of hospital a lot. But we do feel very grateful that we get to take him home after relatively short stays. Some families don’t get to do that. It’s those families I often think of and want to help.

“Entering the hospital can be scary at first, but when you get to know the teams and speak to other parents, it becomes normality. The medical experts and the Play Team are so good with George – they got to know him and what he needed to make him less nervous. Honestly, I can’t thank them enough for everything they have done. They feel like extended family now.”

George in his hospital bed sneaking a cheeky donut finger

Kelly, George, his little sister Matilda, seven, and dad Adam, 43, have all joined in fundraising to support Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital since George’s diagnosis.

Kelly, who plays Zara Morgan in Hollyoaks, said: “We’ve done the Charity’s dressing up days and cake sales with James Brindley School. Whatever we can do to say a ‘thank you’ to everyone involved in George’s care.”

This year’s Lantern Walk will see hundreds of parents, children and families do a sponsored walk taking in Heaton Hall, The Temple and the beautiful Heaton Park gardens. Participants can choose from one of two accessible routes – either a 2km or 5km course.

George holding one of his previous donation cheques at the hospital in 2018

Viv Williamson, Manchester Foundation Trust Charity’s Senior Events Manager, said: “We know there are many children like George out there who have had a scary time in hospital made more comfortable, and even a joyful experience, thanks to our brilliant NHS staff at our hospitals.

“It will be such a special moment when we see everyone at Heaton Park to celebrate these wonderful hospitals and raise some much-needed money to fund treatment, research and care projects for hospital services across Greater Manchester.”

This year’s event is kindly sponsored by children’s bedding and homeware brand, Happy Linen Company. The company produces a range of affordable bedding and matching homeware accessories designed to inspire little ones’ imaginations.

Amar Gangani, Managing Director at Happy Linen Company said: “This is such a special event and we’re proud to support the charity as sponsors of the Lantern Walk.

“We can’t wait to see all the families taking part and meet some of the amazing supporters whose lives have been touched by the hospitals in the Manchester Foundation Trust Charity family. We’ll look forward to seeing you all there!”

Registration is just £4 for adults and children aged four and over. Walkers can pre-register for a free fundraising guide, packed full of hints and tips.

All money raised from the event will ensure Manchester Foundation Trust Charity can fund treatment, research and care projects throughout its family of ten NHS hospitals, clinical services and local care organisations. The hospitals in this family are: North Manchester General Hospital; Manchester Royal Infirmary; Wythenshawe Hospital; Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital; Manchester Royal Eye Hospital; Saint Mary’s Hospital; University Dental Hospital of Manchester; Withington Community Hospital; Trafford General Hospital and Altrincham Hospital.

To sign up today visit our Lantern Walk page.

Adam, George and Matilda Condron in their Royal Manchester Children's Hospital Charity T-shirts

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