GOSH patient Maddison talks living in isolation with astronaut in space

Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) patient Maddison received the long distance call of a lifetime this week when British astronaut Tim Peake took time out of his day on board the International Space Station to speak to her in her isolation room at GOSH.

During the call, five-year-old Maddison, who is recovering after a bone marrow transplant to treat her acute lymphocytic leukaemia, discovered she and Tim had many similarities including being isolated from their families and needing restricted diets, but both for very different reasons.

She was keen to find out what Tim eats in space as she begins to try food for the first time in over a month. Mum explains: “Maddison has been in isolation at GOSH for five and a half weeks now and so she was very excited to speak to space from her room. 

"She has just started on a special diet of milkshakes and packaged food after her treatment which she doesn’t like very much. Tim Peake must have to eat different foods and have protein shakes and so I’m hoping it will encourage her to drink them!”

GOSH patients talking to Tim Peake
The astronaut spoke to around 30 other patients who gathered in the hospital school and discussed how he spends his day carrying out scientific research, just like the pioneering research carried out at the hospital. Tim was also asked questions about how to stop things floating around on the space station, how he cleans his clothes, and what he misses about home. GOSH is unique in treating children with the rarest diseases who often have to spend long periods in hospital during their treatment, leading to them spending time away from home, friends and family.

After Tim became the first person to run the London Marathon in space on Sunday, nine year old patient Zak, who has had eye surgery at the hospital, asked for some training tips for his own special race, the RBC Race for the Kids, a 5k family fun run on Sunday 15 May in aid of the hospital. The event will see lots of patients and families walk, run or scoot to the finish line including Zak and his sister Jessica, who was treated at the hospital for a brain tumour.

Zak was advised by Tim to have lots to drink before he runs so he doesn’t get dehydrated but mainly to enjoy himself and have some fun!

If you’re looking for a way to support Great Ormond Street Hospital there are still places in the RBC Race for the Kids 5k fun run at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on Sunday 15 May, sign up and help to raise vital funds for the hospital. Sign up here.