September 30th 2015
It’s one of those things you read about and hope never happens to you. A nightmare that you hope remains just that, and never becomes a reality. But for one former Cobham Hall student and her family, the nightmare became all too true; at just 13 years old, Meghan Frost was diagnosed with a Craniopharyngioma, a very rare brain tumour. However, Meghan did not let this beat her. After two surgeries and a course of radiotherapy, she made an astounding recovery. But saying ‘thank you’ to the medical staff that cared for both her and her family during this traumatic time, and who aided her recovery, simply didn’t seem adequate enough to the young teen.
And so Meghan began a campaign of fundraising initiatives – from small events within her school, to larger adventures including a sky dive and abseiling (both with her father Marc, who is a Cobham Hall Governor). Since 2011, Meghan and her family have gone on to raise almost £50,000 for the King’s College Hospital Charity. The money is intended to improve Lion Ward, to ensure it brightens the lives of the children undergoing treatment there. The biggest single purchase was a 3D distraction unit, which helps reduce pain and anxiety during uncomfortable procedures. Meghan’s fundraising efforts are now being honoured with a plaque at the entrance to a room on Lion Ward, now named ‘Meghan’s Den’. Her father, Marc, said, “By giving something back to the wonderful staff that helped her, Meghan feels she has been able to say a really big and meaningful ‘Thank You’. I couldn’t be more proud of her.” Meghan has recently started an Education Studies degree course at Canterbury Christ Church University.
At Cobham Hall, we’re incredibly proud of Meghan and her family, primarily for overcoming the awful situation they found themselves in, but also for epitomising the attitude of Cobham Hall students. As a Round Square school, Cobham Hall upholds the belief that education is about the whole person, and that includes developing empathy and compassion for others. As a result, fundraising is something at the heart of school life.
Just last academic year, students and staff at Cobham Hall raised a staggering £7,995.16 for various charities. Not bad for a school of 200 students! Events ranged from bake sales, sponsored reading and stalls selling items at a Christmas Fair and Bonfire Night, to activities for the more ambitious; running marathons and cycling between John O’Groats and Land’s End. The money raised has gone to help charities including MacMillan, Compassion UK, Stroke Association, ReadWell, Stonewall Charity and the Girl Effect. Money was also sent to help orphanages in Vietnam, India and Kenya and contributions were also made to the Round Square Prince Alexander Fund and to Starehe Girls Center in Kenya, to pay the school fees for Caren Jeruto, our sponsored girl. Cobham Hall’s Round Square representative, Miss Caro Quintana said, “This is a fantastic effort, and will make a difference to so many people. The question now is what can we achieve this year?”
In addition to the wonderful amount of money raised for charity, Cobham Hall girls also look inwardly, and see what they can do to benefit themselves and their school. A sponsored swimathon held in March saw 49 girls in Years 7 to 9 swim a staggering total of 53,125 metres, more than 33 miles! This event raised over £1000, and with funds also donated by Unicorn, the Parent-Teacher Association, the school’s swimming pool now has four new starting blocks and new lane ropes. Claire Muller, Cobham Hall’s swimming coach said, “The blocks will improve the girls’ diving and starts to a high competitive standard.”
We look forward to seeing what fundraising activities take place this year; we’re already off to a good start with a Bake Sale for Macmillan (led by our Student Leadership Team) and one of our teachers slept outside as part of a ‘sponsored sleepout’ to promote Maidstone’s Winter Shelter.