When Lucca Beadle was just 12 days old, his mum Laura, was sure something was wrong. Within minutes of their arrival at the Horton General Hospital, Lucca had collapsed, and the family’s life was turned upside down. Following a series of emergency tests, Lucca was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect.

The incredible life-saving care that Lucca received prompted the family to show their gratitude in a very practical and caring way. With the support of the local community, they held a series of fundraising events and raised over £12,000 for the Horton General Hospital Charity, helping to fund a Virtual Reality (VR) headset for poorly children while in hospital. 

The VR headset acts as a method of distraction and can be used to entertain young patients during difficult or complex procedures. This, in turn, helps create a more calming environment for both the patient and their families.

Olivia Manley (pictured) was one of the first patients to use the new VR headset. Her mum, Sarah, described how the headset completely changed how Olivia viewed her hospital visits:

‘As a parent, you never want to see your child frightened, distressed or think of hospital as a scary place to be. Sadly, for Olivia, she often found procedures such as her cannula being replaced as part of her monthly infusions, the most traumatic part of coming into hospital. For us as parents, this was heart-breaking.

‘The first time Olivia used the VR headset it was like watching a different child undergo treatment. She was so immersed in what she was seeing and hearing that she didn’t even realise that the needle had gone in!

‘Now, when we go to hospital, she doesn’t even think about the cannula. She becomes immersed in the virtual world of animals, dinosaurs and even [outer] space which makes us both feel a lot more relaxed at going into hospital. This VR headset has been a game-changer to us, and I’m sure countless other families.

We can’t thank enough the Beadle family and all those for helping make a difference.’

Gemma Cole, from Oxford Hospitals Charity, added:

‘We’re so incredibly grateful to the Beadle family and everyone within the community for helping fundraise and support this incredible project.

‘Seeing first-hand how this headset helps transform patient care is incredibly inspiring and we know that it’ll make a difference to patients across Oxfordshire and beyond for many years to come.’