Our 25th Anniversary


  • Famous faces and ‘Bubble’ babies and children came together to celebrate its achievements.
  • In 25 years, the charity has raised more than £4m and helped take children born with the most severe immune conditions from six in 10 dying to nine in 10 living.
  • Helped fund world-leading new techniques pioneered out of the Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle.

A charity which has helped save the lives of hundreds of babies and children born with serious immune conditions celebrated its silver anniversary.

The Bubble Foundation UK marked turning 25 years with a special anniversary event held at The Copthorne Hotel in Newcastle this June.

Guests included charity president and Boyzlife star Brian McFadden, former Emmerdale actress Charlie Hardwick, ITV’s Dr Chris Steele, artist Alexander Millar, and many of the ‘Bubble’ babies and children treated over the years.

The family of Seth Lane who captured the hearts of people around the world on the day of his transplant two years ago with their ‘wear yellow for Seth’ appeal were in attendance, along with some of the very first babies and children treated at the Children’s Bone Marrow Transplant Unit in Newcastle.

The event was an opportunity to celebrate the charity’s many achievements over the years and say thank you to staff and supporters for their incredible work and backing. Entertainment included a ‘bubbleologist’, special fire boat on the River Tyne and music performed by local band the Smokin’ Spitfires, to mark the celebrations.

The charity launched in 1992 in partnership with the world-leading Children’s Bone Marrow Transplant Unit based out of the Great North Children’s Hospital. It funds research into cutting-edge treatment for children born with serious immune conditions, finances medical equipment, toys and educational aids, and supports the welfare of the babies, children and their families

The most severe condition, Severe Combined Immune Deficiency (SCID), is fatal if untreated within a year of birth. Even the simplest ‘common cold’ virus passed on by a mother’s kiss can kill.

In 25 years, the charity has raised more than £4m for research and support for families, and taken survival rates for children with severe immune deficiencies from six in 10 dying when it first started out, to nine in 10 living. It has pioneered new techniques for patients with no matched donor, as well as improving day-to-day care for children undergoing bone marrow transplantation, including better ways of treating infections.

World-leading paediatrician Professor Andrew Cant who is the director of the Children’s Bone Marrow Transplant Unit at the Great North Children’s Hospital, said: “Over the past 25 years, we’ve seen a tremendous increase in survival rates in what was once seen as an untreatable condition.

“Thanks to the funds raised to support our research, we have not only been able to help more babies and children survive, but because of the advancements in research, many young people now go on to enjoy an entirely normal quality of life. For me, it’s the combination of medical science and seeing people go on to do so well, that I find most rewarding.”

“Patients are referred to Newcastle from all over the world and it’s seen as one of the most respected places to come to. I love the Geordie ‘can do’ attitude and I’m fortunate to work with such a fantastic group of people.”

Over the past 25 years, the charity has helped fund state-of-the-art-equipment, accommodation for families and supported the wellbeing of children on the unit, taking an holistic approach to care. It has funded research into incredible ‘world-firsts’ such as the transplant of two-year-old severe liver GVHD patient Harriett Platt, who survived SCID after complications left her with little chance of pulling through.

Mum Helen Mylott, from Cheshire, said: “I was devastated when I found out my baby Harriett had SCID, but I can honestly say the staff at the ‘Bubble’ unit did a phenomenal job. We spent 11 months away from home in Newcastle and without the re-transplant for severe liver GVHD which had to be carried out, Harriett would almost certainly have died. Now I look at her, a smiling, happy little girl, who plays with her brother and sister and will be starting nursery soon, I can’t believe how far we’ve come.

“I can’t put into words how amazing The Bubble Foundation is. The aftercare they fund, the toys, the ECP machine to help cure GVHD – they just cover all bases. I’d like to also say a huge thank you to the staff who did everything they could to look after us during our stay on the unit and made such a difference during what was an incredibly difficult experience.”

Chairman of The Bubble Foundation, Wilf Gaffney, said: “We had a great day celebrating 25 years of the Bubble Foundation and the achievements of a truly dedicated group of people.

“My ambition for the Foundation is to take it to the next level. The NHS has changed and will continue to change. It is under pressure like never before. It is essential that all the stakeholders work together to maximise the benefits from the resources available. Charities like ours, help provide what the NHS can’t do on its own. We need to eliminate overlap. We need to share a common vision.

“I would like to thank everybody for what we have achieved in the first 25 years and humbly ask you to come with us for the next.”