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News

82 year old man to walk over fire for charity

A local man from Bath has made the brave decision to walk over red hot coals burning at over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit in support of The Forever Friends Appeal, the primary charity at Bath’s Royal United Hospital.

Ron Tully aged 82 from Weston explains, “I retired from Clarks in 1992 and I decided to look for a voluntary job. My wife who worked at the RUH suggested that I could try the Women’s Royal Voluntary Service (WRVS) who then ran an outpatient’s tea bar – so I joined the WRVS! This was closed down some time later. In 2000 I transferred my allegiance to The Forever Friends Appeal, who were in need of volunteers. This was 15 years ago and at a time when the Appeal was a team of 5 people!”

Ron continues, “I found volunteering at the Appeal such a satisfying and worthwhile case that I have stayed and volunteered for them ever since! My wife Sue took part in a Firewalk for the Appeal back in 2006 and I feel it’s now my turn to toast my tootsies in order to raise money for the RUH Cancer Care Campaign!”

One in two people are now affected by cancer and everyday lives are changed by this disease.  The Forever Friends Appeal’s RUH Cancer Care Campaign is raising £8.5million towards the building of a pioneering new Cancer Centre.  This Cancer Centre will be a state of the art building, with every part designed around the needs of patients with different forms of cancer.  It will transform care for patients and their families at the RUH.

Emily Lynch, Events & Community Officer for the Appeal says, “We are very excited and grateful that Ron will be taking part in our Firewalk in support of the RUH Cancer Care Campaign. What makes it even more special is that it will be Ron’s very first challenge event for the Appeal since starting his voluntary service in 2000.”

Back by popular demand, The Forever Friends Appeal’s Firewalk will take place on Sunday 20th March 2016 at Bath’s Lansdown Cricket Club. The Fire Walk is being organized by Time4Change and its founder Cliff Mann, the most experienced firewalking instructor in Europe. The entry fee for the RUH Cancer Care Campaign is £30. The Campaign has currently raised £7.1 million of its £8.5 million target, but now needs your help to raise the final £1.4 million needed to build the centre.

Events & Community Officer at the Appeal, Emily Lynch says: “Taking part in a Firewalk is a great way to challenge yourself, increase your confidence and overcome your fears while making a real difference at the Royal United Hospital. This is the second year that the Appeal has organized a Firewalk and as such, we’re encouraging all of our supporters to face their fears to raise money for what will be an exceptional new Cancer Centre at the RUH”.

Emily continues, “We are so grateful to Ron for all of his wonderful help and support over the past 15 years. Together with his wife Sue, Ron has watched the Appeal grow from a small team of 5 to what it is today – a strong team of 11 fundraisers! We hope you will join Ron and the team and help us meet our target for the new Cancer Centre at the RUH.”

Places are limited and online entries are now open! To sign up online today and make a real difference to patients and their families at the RUH, please visit our Firewalk page.

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Thousands raised in memory of Helen Straker

Two charities close to the heart of dedicated fundraiser Helen Straker have received a total of £55,000 in her memory.

Her husband estate agent and hotelier Gordon Straker presented cheques for £27,500 to both Dorothy House and The Forever Friends appeal towards the build of a new cancer unit at the Royal United Hospital, Bath at a ceremony at The Bear Hotel, Devizes.

He said: “I hope Helen would have pleased that we have continued with the fundraising. She did so much herself. I would like to thank everyone who supported our events.

“We have already started planning for next year and there will be an Elvis night in March and a ball in Bath in October.”

Mrs Straker died of cancer in September, 2013, aged 62 and was diagnosed in 2000. In the weeks leading up to her death she was organising a dinner for the same two charities. Her husband has taken over the fundraising baton and was pleased with the amount raised over the year. Fundraising events included a clay pigeon shoot, a golf day and a sponsored walk.

Over the years the couple raised huge amounts for charity and even hosted a cookery demonstration by Mary Berry in 2009 – the year before she found star status in the Great British Bake Off. Mrs Straker was also a Lady Lion but avoided the spotlight. With the constant support of her husband, Gordon, her friends and business associates, she was a tireless fundraiser and had tremendous enthusiasm and friendliness for everything she did. – Helen had a special blend of courage, fortitude and warmth.”

After her death her family spoke of the legacy she had left and this was continued last week with the presentation of the cheques by Mr Straker and trustees of the Helen Straker Charity Andrew Fleming, Nick Cordel, Neil Cowley and Steve Harbour.

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Mum on the run for Bath’s Special Baby Unit

A mother whose son was born prematurely has vowed to run 13.1 miles in aid of the Hospital that helped saved his life. Megan Orrell, 32, from Hilperton, had a complicated second pregnancy that would rival any expectant mother’s biggest fears and her son’s first few weeks were something of a rollercoaster ride. Baby Oscar was born weighing just 3lb 3oz and spent the first seven weeks of his life on the Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care (NICU) at the Royal United Hospital in Bath. Thanks to the wonderful care and treatment he received on the specialist baby unit, Oscar is now a bright and bubbly 16 month old.

Megan will be lacing up her trainers this winter in preparation to run the Vitality Bath Half Marathon on Sunday 13th March 2016. She will be joining The Forever Friends Appeal’s running team to help raise funds for NICU as a thank you to all those who looked after her son Oscar when he needed it most.

Here’s Oscar’s story, as told by Megan: “I had experienced complications in my second pregnancy right from the start and at 6 weeks I was told during an early scan that I had a sub chorionic hematoma (blood clot on the placenta) and that this would increase my risk of miscarriage and premature birth… pretty frightening. At 27 weeks my waters broke and I was given steroids to mature my baby’s lungs and antibiotics to lower the risk of infection.

Just under 3 weeks later I went into labour and little Oscar was born on 24th July 2014 at the RUH at 30 weeks exactly, weighing a tiny 3lb 3oz. He was whisked straight off to NICU where he would spend the first 7 weeks of his life.

Like a lot of premature babies, his journey through NICU was a bit of a roller coaster. He didn’t need much breathing support to start with and was a good weight for his gestation, however at 2 days old doctors were concerned about some blood in his stool and he was transferred to St Michael’s in Bristol with a suspected twist in his bowel. Luckily it turned out he had just swallowed some blood during the delivery and 6 days later he was back in Bath’s NICU.

Just when we thought he was on the mend he got an infection and needed antibiotics and oxygen. It felt like he would never be strong enough or well enough to go home. However after the infection began to clear up, he thankfully turned a corner and started to breastfeed and became less reliant on the oxygen. We finally got to take our beautiful boy home at 37 weeks weighing 5lb1oz.”

During Oscar’s stay Megan and her partner received amazing support and care from the team of nurses, doctors and support staff – who always explained everything that was happening and what it all meant as clearly as possible and even helped lift the family’s spirits by celebrating little milestones, such as being moved from high dependency to special care. When Oscar finally went home two of the outreach nurses continued to visit on a regular basis to check his progress for the first 6 months.

Megan continues: “Today Oscar is 16 months (13.5 corrected) and is doing really well. He has caught up with his growth and is on track with his development, crawling and pulling himself up to standing and babbling away, in fact you wouldn’t be able to tell he was premature and I put that down to the excellent care he had whilst at the RUH.

So I am running the Bath Half as a way of saying thank you to the incredible staff who looked after Oscar and to raise money for the Unit, so that they can continue to provide excellent care for future premature and sick babies in the area. I am also doing it as a bit of a personal challenge, as an opportunity to get fit again… before I had my wonderful daughter Ruby, who’s now 4 and Oscar,  I was a keen runner and can’t wait to get stuck back into it!

I have run the Bath Half in the past and loved the support that you get from the crowd and the general atmosphere from the fun two-lap course. It’ll be a challenge but nothing like the journey Oscar had as a baby. It’s going to be an amazing race and I’m so thankful to be able to give something back for the care, support and future given to Oscar.”

At the Royal United Hospital in Bath one in ten babies are born too early, too sick or too soon and therefore need additional care like Oscar. The Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care (NICU) provides this type of care to around three hundred babies every year. These babies, who can fit in the palm of your hand or are too sick to survive on their own, need everything that modern technology can offer. This very Centre was 50% funded by The Forever Friends Appeal, the main charitable arm of the Royal United Hospital, from charitable support as part of the NICU ‘space to grow’ Campaign and provides these premature babies with the best possible start in life. Charitable donations and support from people like Megan Orrell, continue provide state-of-the-art treatment and diagnostic equipment for this Unit and its never-ending needs, that help staff deliver the best possible care to these fragile young lives.

To sponsor Megan and support premature babies at the RUH like Oscar, please visit her online fundraising page: www.justgiving.com/Megan-Orrell

Although general entries for the 2016 Vitality Bath Half are almost sold out, The Forever Friends Appeal still has a number of Silver Bond places! If you would like to join the team, which is proudly sponsored by local business Velopost, please visit our Bath Half page or give the Events Team a call 01225 821535. Places cost £35 and you can choose to raise funds for a ward or department that is close to your heart like NICU, or the RUH Cancer Care Campaign which is raising £8.5 million towards the build of a state of the art Cancer Centre at the Hospital. If you already have a place in the race but would still like to be part of one of the biggest teams in Bath, please get in touch – the Appeal would love to hear from you!

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Christmas Raffle 2015 results

We would like to thank everyone who has support the RUH Cancer Care Campaign by purchasing a ticket for the 2015 Christmas Grand Draw.

The winners are as follows:

No. Prize Winning ticket No. Winner’s name
1 KIA PICANTO CAR 58553 S STEVENTON
2 3 NIGHT BREAK FOR 2 WITH COAST & COUNTRY 68495 MRS NIX
3 CARRERA VALOUR ROAD BIKE 188147 P GOULD
4 DYSON ANIMAL VACUUM 92435 E JONES
5 LENOVO 8″ TABLET 104544 G KINGTON
6 MANOR HOUSE CASTLE COMBE – TEA FOR 4 184452 S ALPIN
7 FURNISHED DOLLS HOUSE 72485 Z GRIFFIN
8 MARY BERRY SIGNED COOKERY BOOK 162128 MRS LEWIS
9 COFFEE HAMPER FROM ‘COLONNA & SMALLS’ 4233 J JARRETT
10 GIRLS BICYCLE 189570 R SMITH
11 BOYS BICYCLE 116823 S CROKER
12 LARGE CUDDLY TEDDY BEAR 162643 PAWLUKIEWICZ
13 VOUCHER FROM ‘BATH SOFT CHEESE’ 73248 B ELDERIDGE
14 2 BRISTOL BLUE GOBLETS 133162 B BENNON
15 JAMIE CULLUM SIGNED PACKAGE 4500 G HOARE
16 STEIFF’ CAT SOFT TOY 78608 A COMSTOCK
17 VASE OF SWEET PEAS PAINTING 115045 A WINTERBOTTOM
18 BATH ALES GIFT PACK 181274 MRS COLLINS
19 VOUCHER FROM ‘WESTON FRUIT & VEG SHOP’ 184386 MR FISHLOCK
20 THE CASTLE INN – CASTLE COMBE – CREAM TEA FOR 2 113394 T ALFORD
21 MAGNUM OF ROSE WINE 50652 A ADAMS
22 CHRISTMAS PAINTING 183386 MRS SPRING
23 VOUCHER FROM ‘MAJESTIC WINE’ 65217 C GREAVES
24 CUDDLY RABBIT 108842 P BRIDGES
25 PACKAGE OF THORNTONS CHOCOLATES 160128 W HAM
26 CUDDLY DRESSED BEAR 24132 H SHELDON
27 HOMEMADE XMAS CAKE 97588 J DAVISON
28 VOUCHER FROM ‘BEYOND BEAUTY’ 182413 J MACKENZIE
29 A MINION 184389 B FISHLOCK
30 VOUCHER FROM ‘BOBBI BROWN’ 162748 A ROSE
31 VOUCHER FROM ‘ALLERGY TEST UK’ 198643 D PRESLEY
32 VOUCHER FROM ‘BANABLES BUTCHERS’ 141039 VEREY
33 PUZZLE 184694 R POA
34 BOTTLE OF PEAR WILLIAM-EAU DE VIE 33931 B PETERS
35 BLUE BOUTIQUE BODY SET 189734 T ATKINS
36 CHRISTMAS PUDDING & ADD ONS 189513 A COTTLE
37 RHS DESK DIARY SET 92195 J KING
38 OLD CROWN 2 COURSE MEAL FOR 2 55751 P JACKSON
39 DOVE TOILETRIES GIFT SET 182448 J HODGSON
40 REMOTE CONTROL HELICOPTER 184050 B PAYNE

 

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Cancer Survivors 13.1 Mile Thank You to RUH

A mother from Bath who was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2013 is to run the Vitality Bath Half Marathon 2016 to thank staff at Bath’s Royal United Hospital for her treatment and to help raise funds towards the build of a pioneering new Cancer Centre at the Hospital.

Tricia Symons, 54, from Bath explains: The Bath Half will always have a special place in my heart… From the first time I ran it in 2004 when I had just started running with my lovely friend Caroline, with the nerves, training schedules, what to eat, what to wear… I remember the first time we hit 13 miles in our training – we were so ecstatic that we had a massive celebratory lunch and then promptly passed out on the sofa for the rest of the day! Achieving 2 hours and 12 minutes with the help of our jelly babies, we were then hooked… And then in 2013 I was diagnosed with bowel cancer and I realised that I might never run it again…”

Before her diagnosis, Tricia was a keen runner and tennis player who was generally very fit and well. Tricia says: “Getting over the shock, then a serious operation, followed by six months of gruelling chemo seemed a daunting prospect, but the care I received from the RUH was fantastic. However, sitting in the chemo suite along with many other brave people made me realise that the new Cancer Unit was a badly needed resource, which could make everyone’s harrowing experience so much better.”

[alertinfo]Join The Forever Friends Appeal team today and support any ward or department that is close to your heart or the RUH Cancer Care Campaign. Visit our Bath Half page here[/alertinfo]

Tricia decided that the next best thing to do was to start fundraising in support of The Forever Friends Appeal’s RUH Cancer Care Campaign, which is raising £8.5 million towards the build of a pioneering new Cancer Centre at the hospital. In between grueling chemotherapy treatments, she bravely signed up to take part in numerous events that the Appeal were organizing in support of the RUH Cancer Care Campaign, which included an overseas trek to China in 2014 and the annual Walk of Life. In addition, Tricia also organized her own fundraising activities – in her own words, this was “not only to help spread the word about the fantastic RUH Cancer Care Campaign, but to also divert my attention from my own battle with Cancer”.

Tricia continues: “And then two lovely things happened. My children decided to run the Bath Half 2014 in my stead whilst my lovely running friends formed “Tricia’s Team” and signed up too. Feeling grotty on race day, I nevertheless cheered them all on and rattled my bucket hoping that maybe the following year I’d be able to join these wonderful runners once more”.

Thanks to the fantastic care from the RUH, I’m happy to report that after the China Trek I was able to start running again and entered the 2015 Bath Half. I ran with my stepdaughter Sophie, who was running for the first time and it felt so special. The atmosphere was brilliant and I beamed all the way round, just happy to be alive and feeling very blessed!”

Two years since her diagnosis, Tricia has managed to raise an incredible £20,000 for the Appeal’s RUH Cancer Care Campaign but she’s not stopping there! Tricia will once again be lacing up her trainers this winter in preparation to run the Vitality Bath Half Marathon on Sunday 13th March 2016. She will be joining The Forever Friends Appeal’s running team to help raise funds for the RUH Cancer Care Campaign as a thank you to all those at the RUH who looked after her during her treatment.

Although general entries for the 2016 Vitality Bath Half are almost sold out, The Forever Friends Appeal still has a number of Silver Bond places! If you would like to join the team, which is proudly sponsored by local business Velopost, please our Bath Half Page or give the Events Team a call 01225 821535. Places cost £35 and you can choose to raise funds for a ward or department that is close to your heart or the RUH Cancer Care Campaign. If you already have a place in the race but would still like to be part of one of the biggest teams in Bath, please get in touch – the Appeal would love to hear from you!

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BuroHappold Engineering joins the Brick Wall Club

Local business BuroHappold Engineering joined the Brick Wall Club this October after fundraising £1000 at their Bath based office.

BuroHappold have been longstanding supporters of The Forever Friends Appeal, fundraising for their local hospital since 2000. This October staff at their Bath Office decided to hold a week of fundraising activities for raise funds for the Cancer Care Campaign. This included a bake sale, book sale, guess the name of the teddy bear and raffles to win a cake made by their in house chef. During the week staff raised an amazing £610.28, and then the company matched this to bring the total up to £1000!

Neil Squibbs, Managing Director and Partner at BuroHappold Engineering said; “BuroHappold has worked on a number of engineering projects at the hospital over the years and we understand that a well thought out, comfortable and upbeat environment can hugely benefit patients, as well as staff. We are delighted to be able to support this campaign to raise funds for the new cancer centre.”

The Brick Wall Club is a unique scheme for local businesses to support the Cancer Care Campaign. The RUH clinical care is amongst the best in the UK, but the cancer unit facilities are outdated and uncomfortable, and do not provide patients with the positive environment necessary to support the healing process. The RUH Cancer Care Campaign is raising £8.5million towards the build of an exceptional new Cancer Centre for cancer patients and their families.

Corporate Officer for The Forever Friends Appeal, Louisa Smyllie, comments: “We are thrilled that BuroHappold have joined the Brick Wall Club to support the Cancer Care Campaign. It is thanks to the support of local businesses such as BuroHappold that we will achieve our target and create an exceptional new Cancer Centre for the local community.’

To find out more about attending a tour of our Oncology department or to become a member of The Brick Wall Club or for more information, please call the Appeal office on 01225 825392.

 

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