Families who lost teens to cancer welcome plans for better facilities

The parents of two teenagers who died with leukemia in Belfast City Hospital in surroundings one of their terminally ill children described as 'hell,' have welcomed the Department of Health's plans to develop better facilities there.

However, the families of Ozzie Rogers and Adelle Keown much more still needs to be done for teenagers and young adults who are battling blood cancer in Northern Ireland.

The stories of Ozzie and Adelle were first revealed on UTV Live last October.

Adelle's father Robert revealed how he was forced to sleep on the floor next to his dying daughter.

Robert Keown Credit: UTV

"At the time, I would've slept on a bed of nails. That wasn't my concern at that time," Robert said.

"But now, that I've' had time to look back on it, that was wrong. On so many levels, that was wrong.

"The day I left Amy's House [near the City Hospital] there was another family coming in and I just felt for them," said Miranda Rogers, Ozzie's mother.

Miranda Rogers Credit: UTV

"I just thought if they're going to 10 North, what experience are they going to have in those surroundings.

In a letter seen by UTV, the Department of Health has acknowledged the concerns and said there were plans to develop better facilities for teenagers and young adults. They said they included 'the provision of more single rooms with ensuite bathrooms and improvements to the ward environment.

It also said the trust had made a number of interim improvements to the current ward environment' in the meantime.

"It's a start, it's better than nothing to be honest. It's been recognised," Miranda said, welcoming the proposals.

"It's only going to be one room and me personally, I don't think that's good enough. Who gets the room? Who do you decide to give the room to," Robert has questioned.

This latest development comes after months of campaigning by Sean Smyth whose daughter Eimear also died in the same ward of another type of blood cancer Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

Sean has made it his mission to fulfill Eimear's dying wish to improve facilities for teenagers and young adults and to get more people especially young men on the stem cell register.

Robert Keown, Sean Smyth and Miranda Rogers Credit: UTV

Sporting organisations like the Irish league and Ulster GAA are all on board and have signed up to the campaign.

Now, Rainey Old Boys in Magherafelt, where Ozzie played, has become the first rugby club on the island of Ireland to sign up to the campaign

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