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Manchester Foundation
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Hughie & Freddie

Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital

Hughie & Freddie’s Story

At 10 years old, Hughie Higginson started experiencing aches and pains in his chest and back. A few weeks and blood tests later, he was diagnosed with leukaemia. Now, 13, he and his best friend Freddie are some of our top fundraisers and Hughie is cancer free!

In 2020, Hughie Higginson noticed aches and pains in his chest and back, as well a soreness in his legs and knees. He went to his local A&E and had some blood tests, but they didn’t show much of what was going on. With the doctor’s approval, Hughie and his family went on their planned holiday. But during his trip, he started to lose weight and experienced back spasms.

After some back and forth to his local hospitals, Hughie was soon referred to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, where he was seen by lots of different specialists on Ward 84, which was then Oncology.

“I was a bit concerned when I first got onto the ward. It isn’t just a cancer ward, but lots of children do have cancer there. So seeing lots of children with bald heads I think shocked my mum a bit. But I was more concerned than scared.

It was another two weeks before they diagnosed me with leukaemia – one week at my local hospital and another week at RMCH. They explained it really well, in a way that I understood. My consultant said it was like my body was a garden and they had found some weeds in the garden. When they killed the weeds, some of the flowers might disappear too. But then when all the weeds are dead, the flowers will grow back but the weeds won’t. I liked that they explained it in that way so I could understand it.”

Hughie was relieved to receive a diagnosis as it meant he could get started on his treatment. A day later, he had surgery to have a port fitted for easy access to his veins and the day after that, he had his chemotherapy treatment. In total, Hughie was in hospital for six weeks and due to Covid restrictions and could only have one parent with him at a time.

Wanting to do something for his best friend in hospital, Freddie decided to run 2km for our Charity every day for 50 days in a row, finishing on Christmas Day morning 2020. Since then, the pair have continued to fundraise for our Charity and their story has attracted attention from local and national media and even bagged them a Pride of Britain Award and British Citizen Youth Award. They’ve also been interviewed on This Morning, BBC Breakfast and Good Morning Britain and met some of their celebrity heroes including Paddy McGuinness, Carol Vorderman and Mo Farah.

In 2023, the pair launched an appeal to completely makeover the rooftop garden at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, which after 14 years of use, needs a revamp. Thousands of young patients – many of whom may be staying at the hospital for weeks, months or even years – use the area to get some fresh air, time to play and enjoy a welcome break outside.

“I remember the first time I went up to the rooftop play area. I’d been in hospital about five or six weeks at that point. I wasn’t well enough to leave the hospital, so it was such a nice feeling being outside again, but knowing I was safe and still in the hospital.”

To date, Hughie and Freddie have raised almost £300,000 for our Charity, through football stadium runs, a children’s book and the rooftop play appeal. In November 2023, just in time for Christmas, Hughie received the news that he was finally cancer free.

“Having the main man Freddie by my side has made what could have been the worst time in my life, probably one of the best. I can’t state how much Freddie means to me and we will be best mates forever.”

“…it was such a nice feeling being outside again, but knowing I was safe and still in the hospital.”

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