We are Phil and Tracey Payton. We have three children: Holly, Ben and Emma.
In September 2013, our then 8 year old daughter, Emma, was diagnosed with Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma- a rare soft tissue cancer.
Chemotherapy started at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and in January 2014, the whole family flew to ProCure in Oklahoma so Emma could have NHS funded Proton Beam Therapy.
This is where we first came across an “end of treatment bell”.
Emma rang the ProCure bell on March 5th, 2014 and we returned to the UK.
We loved the bell and the symbolic nature of it. We showed it to staff on Ward 84 and they agreed that it would be fantastic to have one. We had one made in time for Emma to ring it after her last chemotherapy session on April 9th, 2014.
Since then, we have placed over 250 bells in the UK and abroad and have shared hundreds of patient stories, as well as celebration videos and photographs.
Despite our name, we have no stipulation as to when a patient can ring the bell. We would encourage patients to ring the bell whenever, and for whatever reason they wish to celebrate!
‘It’s not just a bell – it’s a symbol of hope’
Through our experience, we became aware of how underfunded research is into children’s cancers and how little knowledge the general public have about it. Through our social media pages, we run campaigns and share patient stories about real family experiences in order to spread awareness of signs, symptoms and treatments.
Our pages regularly feature adult stories as well as children’s. If you would like to share yours, please get in touch.
Tracey and Phil Payton