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News

Couple walk the Canal for the RUH Stroke Ward

RUH Stroke Unit DonationRoger & Jane Hawkins from Colerne, put on their best walking shoes to say thank you to staff and the care they received in the Stroke Ward at the Royal United Hospital in Bath.

Jane Hawkins tells the story of why they wanted to support the RUH: “19 Months ago my Husband Roger had a stroke, I’m happy to say he is now 90% fully fit.

On the 5th March he decided he wanted to do a sponsored walk in aid of the Acute Stroke Unit in Bath.

So on the 16th of March 2013 we started off from Caen Hill Locks in Devizes.

Rog walked and I cycled. It took us 5 and a half hours to finally reach our destination at Claverton in Bath. The weather was ok to begin with but with only an hour to go the heavens opened and it poured down.

People were so kind when they found out what he was doing, some even gave us money actually on the walk- one gentleman gave us all his loose change in his pocket, and one lady gave us £5 at Bradford on Avon.

On the 14th of May we were very happy to present a cheque to the Forever Friends Appeal for £575.00.

We wanted to thank the RUH for all they did for Roger, they saved his life and brought my husband home. I am forever grateful.”

If you have had experience in a department in the RUH and would like to say thank you to staff and to help others treated in the ward, then please give The Forever Friends Appeal a call on 01225 825825

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Charity shop for the RUH opens it’s doors in Bath

Help Us Give Support known as H.U.G.S., has opened a brand new charity shop in Chelsea Road shopping parade in Bath, and will be donating all its annual profits to the RUH Forever Friends Appeal.  Forever Friends Appeal mascot, Big Ted, was therefore thrilled to be invited to officially open the shop and cut the ribbon on Monday 20th May.

The H.U.G.S. team have a wealth of experience in running charity shops and are therefore calling on the support of members of the local community to come along and visit the shop to see all the wonderful items that are on offer.  The shop has an extremely attractive feel both inside and out, with the eye-catching shop signage having been kindly provided by Freestyle Designs, based on the Windsor Bridge in Bath.

Maryann Benson, Shop Manager, comments:  “We want to make a contribution to our community, and we know that a shop can become a valuable local asset and a focal point for support. When we considered possible beneficiaries for our new charity, the RUH immediately came to mind. Mandy and her family had personal experience of the baby unit in the PAW when her grandson was born, and were impressed by the dedication of the staff and the quality of the care given to Jack. Several members of our team have been treated for cancer in the RUH, and during the past year in particular, we have all been grateful for everything that has been done to treat and support them. We felt that we would like to give something back.”

The current aim of the Royal United Hospital charity, The Forever Friends Appeal, is the RUH Cancer Care Campaign – raising funds towards a pioneering new Cancer Centre for the hospital.  Following the fantastic support from the public and the recent wonderful news of the £4million donation to the Campaign from The James Dyson Foundation, the Appeal have now met their minimum fundraising target and are therefore extending their Campaign by a further £2-3million.  This will enhance even further the therapeutic environment that RUH doctors are aiming to create, and maximise its impact for patients with additional state-of-the-art medical equipment, dedicated research facilities, as well as art and pastoral gardens.

Tim Hobbs, Head of Fundraising for The Forever Friends Appeal said; “The James Dyson Foundation’s donation is providing a massive boost in helping us reach our minimum target and allowing us, with the public’s support, to expand the ambition of the campaign.  They particularly want to support and help maximise the efforts and impact of the fundraising by the public so that the clinicians involved in the planning of the new Cancer Centre can be even more imaginative, inspired and innovative in their vision for the design of the building and how it works.  It is the public that will now help this pioneering building be truly exceptional and vastly improve cancer care in this region – in the same way as the Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care has already done for premature babies and their families.  The H.U.G.S. Chelsea Road charity shop is a wonderful way of supporting the Campaign and we are just so thrilled to be chosen as the beneficiary charity of H.U.G.S.  Chelsea Road is such a great location in the hub of the Newbridge and Weston community, and just so close to the RUH!  We would like to thank H.U.G.S. for their support and wish them the very best of luck in their charity shop endeavours.”

The extension of the Campaign will add to the overall budget for the new Centre – rather than reducing the NHS £15m financial commitment, giving a c66/33% NHS / Charitable funds split in the overall funding amount.

The H.U.G.S. team is gratefully accepting all donations; please drop any donations to the shop at 16 Chelsea Road between the shop opening hours of 9am to 5pm Monday to Saturday, and don’t forget to ask about Gift Aid.  If you are interested in volunteering at the shop, please call shop managers Mandy Fletcher or Maryann Benson on 07969 916703.

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Walkers take to the canal for Cancer Care

A record 225 people put their best feet forward on Saturday 18th May, taking part in the ‘Walk of Life’, a sponsored walk along the beautiful Kennet andAvon canal organised by theRoyalUnitedHospital’s Forever Friends Appeal charity. All walkers took part to raise funds for the RUH Cancer Care Campaign – helping to build a pioneering new Cancer Centre for the hospital inBath.

Walkers took part in either the full 21 miles from Devizes toBath, 12 miles in the morning from Devizes toBradford-On-Avon, or 9 miles in the afternoon fromBradford-On-AvontoBath.  Men and women joined in from all overBath,Somersetand Wiltshire, and were cheered on by marshals all along the route.  The weather was kind, with perfect temperatures and the rain staying at bay for the full day walkers to reach Sydney Gardens, in Bath beautiful sunshine.

This popular walking event was proudly sponsored by Bath based, Mogers Solicitors who also had a 16 strong team taking part. Jo Hones, Events and Community Officer said: “We are just so proud of all our wonderful walkers!  We would like to thank them all for their support, as well as our fabulous team sponsors Mogers Solicitors, our volunteer marshals and everyone who helped make this event run so smoothly.  We have had some really fabulous feedback with everyone thoroughly enjoying the day – despite the blisters!  The Walk of Life is going from strength to strength and growing in numbers each year. Last year the walkers raised over £30,000 so hopefully this year we will raise even more towards building a pioneering Cancer Centre.’’

Click here to see all the photos of the day

 The current aim of the Royal United Hospital charity, The Forever Friends Appeal, is the RUH Cancer Care Campaign – raising funds towards a pioneering new Cancer Centre for the hospital.  Following the fantastic support from the public and the recent wonderful news of the £4 million donation to the Campaign from The James Dyson Foundation, the Appeal have now met their minimum fundraising target and are therefore extending their Campaign by a further £2-3 million.  This will enhance even further the therapeutic environment that RUH doctors are aiming to create, and maximise its impact for patients with additional state-of-the-art medical equipment, dedicated research facilities, as well as art and pastoral gardens.

This is the first public event since the amazing news of a £4 million donation from the James Dyson Foundation and Tim Hobbs, Head of Fundraising for The Forever Friends Appeal was keen to make the public aware that their efforts were going to make the new Cancer Centre something truly remarkable.   Head of Fundraising for The Forever Friends Appeal, Tim Hobbs, comments:  “Following this truly wonderful donation, the continuing support of the public and other donors is so important.  The Dyson Foundation wanted to help us secure our minimum target so that we could extend our fundraising ambitions and the vision for the building. They particularly want to support and help maximise the efforts and impact of the fundraising by the public so that the clinicians involved in the planning of the new Cancer Centre can be even more imaginative, inspired and innovative in their vision for the design of the building and how it works.  It is the public that will now help this pioneering building be truly exceptional and vastly improve cancer care in this region – in the same way as the Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care has already done for premature babies and their families”.

The Walk of Life was created with and in memory of loving wife, sister, mother and daughter Vanessa Kyte, who sadly lost her life in November 2007 having lived with cancer for seven years.  Vanessa, who lived in Frome, was extremely passionate about fundraising for cancer care.  Every year, Vanessa’s family and friends love seeing the Walk grow and help raise even more funds for the cause that was so close to Vanessa’s heart.

Vanessa Kyte’s sister, Nicola Noble from Warminster, has continued with Vanessa’s fundraising drive and says:  “It has been an incredible week with the £4 million donation from the Dysons and it carried on with a beautiful sunny day with people from our community walking along the canal raising money towards the new cancer centre, which will now make it not just an amazing unit but an incredible one!  It’s always lovely to hear such moving stories as to why people take part in the walk. I have met so many lovely people throughout the day – Ness would have thought everyone taking part were incredible.’’

 

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Join Ted’s Trek20 and take on the Great Wall of China!

Take part in the trip of a lifetime and join our team

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James Dyson Foundation’s £4m donation to improve cancer treatment at the RUH

The James Dyson Foundation has donated £4m to the development of a pioneering new Cancer Centre at the Royal United Hospital (RUH) in Bath. The donation is the largest in the hospital’s history.

James Dyson said, “Bath is our home and the base from which I have grown Dyson.  This new Cancer Centre will use cutting edge technology and well considered design to improve the health of its patients.  We have been hugely impressed by the outcomes of the Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care at the RUH; research has shown the incredible effect that a healing environment can have on recovery.”

The hospital’s charity, Forever Friends Appeal, announced last year that it was starting its largest ever fundraising campaign, aiming to raise a minimum £5.5m towards the £20.5m cancer project over the next three to four years.  Following this donation and fantastic support from the public, they have met that minimum target and are now able to extend their campaign by a further £2-3m.  This will enhance even further the therapeutic environment that RUH doctors are aiming to create, and maximise its impact for patients with additional state-of-the-art medical equipment, dedicated research facilities, as well as art and pastoral gardens.

RUH Cancer Cantre

John Cullum, Chairman of the Forever Friends Appeal said, “The James Dyson Foundation’s donation is providing a massive boost in helping us reach the initial target and allowing us, with the public’s support, to expand the ambition of the campaign.  It is important that the public and other donors now continue their fundraising efforts for this amazing new Centre – it will be the public that help make this pioneering building truly exceptional.  The funds raised will enable us to vastly improve cancer care in the region, in the same way that the Dyson Centre for Neonatal care has already done for premature babies.”

James Scott, the hospital’s Chief Executive said, “I am delighted that the hospital has received this very generous donation towards the building of our state-of-the-art Cancer Centre.  As a Trust we are already providing some of the best cancer care in the South West and the creation of a purpose built centre to bring all our cancer therapies under one roof in a truly therapeutic environment can only improve the patient experience even more”.

This support of the Cancer Care Campaign follows a £600,000 donation from the Dyson family and the James Dyson Foundation, to the hospital’s new Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  The award winning Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care is leading to better outcomes for its very young patients, research using a cohort of babies from both the new and old unit showed that: 90% of babies recuperating in this new environment are going home breast feeding, compared to 64% in the old building. And babies are better rested – sleeping on average for 22% longer.

The RUH Cancer Centre

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The RUH provides cancer services for a catchment area of half a million people in Bath & North East Somerset, Wiltshire and the Mendip area of Somerset.  The new Cancer Centre is expected to open in 2017/18.

Research shows that the healing environment created by a building can significantly improve patient experience, reduce stress and improve clinical outcomes.  The building will be designed with this in mind: using natural light to give bright, spacious interiors, and removing sources of noise to provide a more relaxing environment. It will also provide space for relatives and carers to stay overnight and inpatient rooms will be at the top of the building so that patients have the best views over the surrounding countryside.  There will be flexible, private spaces to sit and be quiet, or to have private conversations with clinicians, or other patients.

For more information on the Cancer Care Campaign click here

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Grateful mother says ‘thank you’

In September 2010, having recently returned from the August bank holiday weekend, Tom and Helen Bertin were at home looking after their two children Fenn and Evie. Little did they realise the traumatic series of events that were about to unfold with their elder daughter Fenn, who was then just aged two.  After a couple of days of appearing ‘out of sorts’ Fenn was soon taken very ill and admitted to Bath’s Royal United Hospital.  She spent the next few weeks battling for her life, from what turned out to be a particularly aggressive Group A Streptococcal bacteria infection.  To thank the RUH for their wonderful care and attention in helping save Fenn’s life, Helen chose to complete the 2013 Bath Half Marathon and raise funds for The Forever Friends Appeal charity.  Helen joined Ted’s Team on Sunday 3rd March and collected sponsorship through friends, family and colleagues specifically to go towards medical equipment and amenities for the RUH Children’s Centre.

Once admitted to the RUH, at first it was not clear exactly what Fenn was suffering from.  Under the care of Consultant Paediatrician Bernie Marden, it was thought to be meningitis, though her symptoms were not the usual indicators. Fenn was put on IV antibiotics and a series of tests and examinations were conducted to try and determine what kind of infection she was suffering from.  Before long her condition rapidly deteriorated and her blood pressure dropped alarmingly low.

Helen Bertin comments:  “Bernie Marden and his team did everything to try and keep control of her condition but it was recognised that they were fighting a losing battle.  Fenn needed to get to Intensive Care and fast.  It was thanks to the quick thinking and persuasive Bernie Marden that Fenn was transferred to Bristol’s PICU with what turned out to be a particularly aggressive Group A Streptococcal bacteria infection emanating from her right leg. The infection swept through her body at such a rate resulting in septicaemia that nearly claimed her life.”

After a week in intensive care, Fenn’s condition stablised though the infection proved challenging to manage with antibiotics alone.  After a further month in hospital, she underwent 4 operations on her leg in an attempt to flush the infection out directly though not before her hip joint had become dislocated under the stress of the infection, resulting in her being encased in a hip spica cast for 6 weeks.

Today Fenn is a very happy 4 year old who lives a full and active life, though the aftermath of the infection resulted in growth plate damage to her femur which will require corrective surgery over the coming years until she stops growing.  However it could have been a very different story.

Helen Bertin continues:  “This episode has involved several medical teams for which we are so thankful for their care and expertise. Two years ago I raised money for Bristol’s Intensive Care Unit as a small way to say thank you. This year our fundraising efforts focus on Bath’s RUH Paediatric Unit, who made every effort to manage Fenn’s deteriorating condition and engineered the speedy transfer to Intensive Care before it was too late.

Events & Community Officer for The Forever Friends Appeal, Jo Hones, comments:  “Helen is just so passionate about saying thank you to the RUH for the wonderful care they gave Fenn, and we were therefore so thrilled to have her join Ted’s Team in the Bath Half this year.  Thank you Helen for raising such a truly wonderful amount through The Forever Friends Appeal to go towards the Children’s Centre at the RUH.”

On Friday 10th May 2013, the Bertin family are presenting a cheque for just under £3,000 to Consultant Paediatrician Bernie Marden and Big Ted from The Forever Friends Appeal.

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Ann Widdecombe Stars in Strictly Line Dancing

Former Strictly Come Dancing Star, the Right Honourable Ann Widdecombe is the special guest at Bath’s Strictly Line Dancing event at the Pavilion, on Saturday 18th May 2013, 12 noon – 6pm.

Ann Widdecombe was born in Bath in 1947 and educated at Bath Covent. She is famously known as; a British Conservative Party politician, documentary-maker, broadcaster, and novelist. The Bath-born celebrity starred in Strictly Come Dancing in 2010, dancing her way through 10 episodes with her partner, Aton Anton Du Beke.

Event organiser and Keep Fit & Line Dance teacher, Maureen Conroy comments: “The Strictly Line Dancing afternoon is guaranteed to be a fun packed event with special guest The Rt. Hon. Ann Widdecombe, who has promised to join us and try out some line dances. Popular National Line Dance choreographer and teacher Maggie Gallagher, will be leading the dances.Line dances will be for all abilities, It will also enable those who have never tried this form of dance before to have a go.It is a great form of exercise keeping the brain and body active.”

The event will be raising funds for The Forever Friends Appeal’s Royal United Hospital Cancer Care Campaign. The Appeal is raising £5 million towards a new pioneering Cancer Centre at the Royal United Hospital in Bath. Much of the existing RUH cancer services are located in 70 year-old, inadequate, war time accommodation and are in desperate need of improving. The RUH is planning on providing a state-of-the-art, 21st Century build, fit for purpose.

Maureen continues: “I have chosen Forever Friends Appeal because the new Cancer Centre will be
beneficial to everyone in the Bath area.”

Statistics show that cancer affects 1 in 3 of us and with over 500,000 people in the RUH catchment area, the number of patients treated with cancer at the RUH is unfortunately growing. Zoe Tainton, Community Fundraiser at the Forever Friends Appeal says: “We treat 2000 new patients with cancer every year. This is why it is so important to improve the services for those around us and our future generations. We are very grateful for Maureen and the CC Stomper’s support for the past 13 years.
We are also very honoured that Ann Widdecombe will be joining us at this event, it is very kind of her to show her support.”

Building on the excellent track record with the RUH’s last capital project; the Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care, the new Cancer Centre will adopt a holistic approach. Combining; ‘clinical excellence’, a ‘therapeutic environment’, a ‘survivorship model of care’ and ‘proactive research’ – all designed to create a highly beneficial healing environment for patients and their families.
Over a hundred tickets have been sold for Strictly Line Dancing, so places are filling up fast. You can purchase your tickets for £10 in advance or £12 on the door.

For tickets please contact 01225 316280 or www.clstickets.co.uk

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