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Tom’s story – on why Therapies Matter

“At the start of last year (2016) I was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma (a type of bone cancer) in my right tibia having suffering from pains in my lower leg. I had six cycles of Chemotherapy and then I had my operation where I had my tibia removed and had a donor bone put in which was hollowed out and my fibula was put inside of the donor bone. I then had a further eight cycles of Chemotherapy at the Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre on the Teenage and Young Adult Ward. I’m now using crutches to help me get around as my leg isn’t strong enough to walk on yet.

“As you can imagine, it’s been a long road to recovery and it wasn’t until August, that I was referred to the RUH’s Hydrotherapy Department for help with strengthening my leg and getting me up to speed with my recovery. At my first session, I was greeted by Bronwen, who’s one of the physiotherapists. She recognised me from a few years ago as I previously had a back operation at the Circle in Bath and had recovery Physio and Hydrotherapy sessions at the RUH, so it was nice to see a friendly face. She put me at ease straight away and so far I’ve been having sessions in the pool once a fortnight.

“I’m back at work now, but it was a struggle in the beginning as I can’t put any weight on my right leg and being on crutches it’s difficult to move easily and quickly as everyone else. But, since having the therapy sessions in the hydro pool, I’ve felt more independent, and I can get around, so I’m doing more and most importantly I can now pick up and hold my young daughter, put her to bed and do all the other things you want and need to do when you have kids, whereas I couldn’t before.  Hydrotherapy has helped me be more confident and I’m now able to be about 50% weight bearing, so it’s great feeling that I’m getting there.”

RUH Physiotherapist, Bronwen says: “Hydrotherapy is really a form of physiotherapy in water. Using the buoyancy, heat and pressure of the water, enables patients like Tom to walk in water when they are unable to walk on land. This helps reduce pain and swelling, so Tom can strengthen his legs and maintain fitness. It’s been great to see Tom’s progress, so far, he’s doing really well.”

If you’d like make a donation towards the new RNHRD and Therapies Centre, you can make it via our website (click here) or through JustGiving.com

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Bath Golf Club raises over £7,700 for RUH Cancer Centre

We say a huge thank you to Bath Golf Club for raising £7,755 towards the new Cancer Centre which will be built at the Royal United Hospitals, Bath.

This is an amazing contribution towards our Cancer Care Campaign and our Senior Community Fundraiser, Claudia Hickin was delighted to be presented with the cheque by Club Captain Stan Frith, Ladies’ Captain Louise Buxton and Seniors’ Captain Paul Suchley.

Bath Golf Charity cheque
Claudia said: “It has been wonderful working with everyone at Bath Golf Club – we know this cause is close to their hearts. Thank you.”


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Vikki’s story – why Therapies Matter

Vikki Knowles explains why the RNHRD and Therapies Centre means so much to her…

” In 2014 following a routine operation I developed severe pain and stiffness in my neck, shoulders and pelvis. This progressed quite rapidly and I became severely incapacitated with my husband having to help me wash, dress and manage everyday activities. I did manage to keep working in a limited capacity but the pain and stiffness was very difficult to manage at work. Getting in and out of my car was especially difficult and as a community specialist nurse this was possibly the worst aspect.

“I was referred to a Rheumatologist who diagnosed me with Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR). I was started on oral steroids and told that this would sort out all my problems. However, I wasn’t comfortable with the diagnosis as the symptoms seemed more extensive that those seen with PMR as the pain and stiffness continued to cause problems. I also experienced severe fatigue and interrupted sleep pattern.

“My GP who had been supportive referred me for a second opinion. Dr Chander, the second consultant I saw was extremely thorough and agreed that this did not look like PMR. Following extensive investigations and I was diagnosed with non-radiologic axial spondylitis.

“It was at this point I joined the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society (NASS) and heard about the Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) course being run at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD).

“In April 2017, I started the two week AS course. It was a revelation, the staff are amazing. I was lucky to be with a great group and we have forged a really close supportive network, which has helped keep us all motivated. Following the course I have gained pretty much full mobility and can now do all the things I was unable to do prior to attending including getting in and out of my car.

“The educational component of the AS course is also of great value as even though I am a nurse I learned so much more about living with the condition. It equips you with the tools to maintain a healthy lifestyle and keep you moving but it depends on the individual continuing to practice what they have learnt. I have started yoga and Tai Chi as recommended and do my exercises regularly so that on my six month post course review my scores had continued to improve. I would never have achieved this had I not been lucky enough to have access to the group as there is no local AS services where I live.

“Attending the AS course has truly changed my life and I feel so grateful to have had such excellent support from the wonderful staff at the RNHRD.”

If you’d like make a donation towards the new RNHRD and Therapies Centre, you can make it via our website (click here) or through JustGiving.com

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Ed Jackson explains why Therapies Matter

Earlier this year, Ed Jackson joined The Forever Friends Appeal as an ambassador for the new RNHRD and Therapies Centre fundraising campaign. We’re delighted to have him on-board, helping us increase awareness and raise funds for the much-needed new Centre that will bring together a number of services including rheumatology, therapies and a number of pain management services under one roof, in a new purpose-built facility at the Royal United Hospitals, (RUH) Bath.

The former Bath Rugby back row player had a freak accident at a family barbeque in April last year. He dived into the shallow end of a swimming pool thinking it was the deep end, and was left with a broken neck. At 28 years old, he was told at the time that he may not walk again.

But, after a gruelling recovery and rehabilitation at three different hospitals, including the Royal United Hospitals Bath, he’s making incredible progress.

Ed Jackson's road to recoveryEd said:

“As a spinal injury patient, I have learned just how important the environment is to wellbeing and recovery, having spent so much time lying down and staring at the ceiling, and unable to leave the hospital setting. Therapeutic environments, calming surroundings and mental stimulation are hugely beneficial. Staff at the RUH do an amazing job, and I believe that they should be supported by working in the right environments to help them to deliver the best level of care too.

“We need the public’s support to help raise the much needed funds towards an innovative and therapeutic new centre. Thanks to the Brownsword Match Funding Challenge, every pound you donate will be matched by the Brownsword Charitable Foundation, doubling all your support. If you can support the campaign, please click here. ”


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RUH Patients are face of Therapies Matter campaign

Real life stories from patients are the focus of a new campaign by The Forever Friends Appeal to help reach its £2 million fundraising target for the RNHRD and Therapies Centre being built at the Royal United Hospitals, (RUH) Bath.

The Appeal’s ‘Therapies Matter’ campaign features people of all ages and backgrounds who have received therapy to aid their recovery, or for some to learn how to manage their long-term condition. Using powerful, emotive words each patient’s story is now on display in the hospital to captivate the public’s interest in supporting the Appeal.

Tim Hobbs, Head of Fundraising, The Forever Friends Appeal said:

“We’ve created a campaign to highlight how RUH patients have benefited from therapies and we’ve got some remarkable stories to share. For many patients, their lives have been completely turned around from having intensive treatment such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, hydrotherapy and others. That’s why it’s so important the RUH has this new innovative, state-of-the-art RNHRD and Therapies Centre, so they can continue to provide the much-needed therapy services to the some 25,000 people who are treated each year.

“We’ve had many patients contact us to take part in our campaign, so throughout the year we will share their stories on our website and social media to highlight how therapies have helped them recover, achieve personal goals and get back to ‘normal’ life.

“I hope this campaign will resonate with the public and encourage those who can, to make a donation towards the RNHRD and Therapies Centre which is costing c£16m to build. Having benefactors Andrew and Christina Brownsword’s pledge to match every pound donated up to £1m is fantastic and we would very much welcome help from the public to achieve our target of raising £2m.”

Featuring in the ‘Therapies Matter’ campaign is the Appeal’s Ambassador, former rugby player, Ed Jackson who was told that he may not walk again after suffering a broken neck in a freak accident in April 2017. Ed received intensive physiotherapy as an inpatient at the RUH and visited Orthotics as an outpatient to help him walk again, he is making incredible progress. Ed said:

“As a spinal injury patient, I have learned just how important the environment is to wellbeing and recovery, having spent so much time lying down and staring at the ceiling, and unable to leave the hospital setting. Therapeutic environments, calming surroundings and mental stimulation are hugely beneficial.

“Staff at the RUH do an amazing job, and I believe that they should be supported by working in the right environments to help them to deliver the best level of care too. We need the public’s support to help raise the funds needed to build this innovative and therapeutic new centre.”

It’s not just people from Bath who are taking part in the campaign, Nic Noble, from Warminster, a supporter of the RUH said:

“An MRI scan revealed that six of my vertebrae had collapsed and I was diagnosed with osteoporosis. I was referred to Dr Bhalla at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD, known locally as ‘The Min’). The staff were fantastic; Dr Bhalla, the Physiotherapists gave me the support I needed for my recovery. I believe that this new Centre will help so many more patients like me, it’s a wonderful project that will provide a positive and nurturing environment for so many people in our community.”

Gina Sargeant, Head of Therapies, the RUH said:

“We run a variety of inpatient and outpatient specialist services for patients, from those who have acute injuries through to teaching those who have a long-term condition how to self-manage. But, our current facilities for these services are out of date; therapies are dispersed across the hospital, on two different sites and do not complement or assist the hospital’s aims for achieving the highest quality of clinical care.

“The whole ethos of a new RNHRD & Therapies Centre will bring all these services together and create a nurturing environment with dedicated specialist facilities for all our patients.”

The RNHRD and Therapies Centre will house many of the rheumatology, therapies and pain management services that are currently located at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD) and in the RUH.  It has been designed in conjunction with patients, staff and architects, and will include a large hydrotherapy pool, a specialist gym and rehabilitation equipment, and a biologics treatment space to support treatment, recovery, wellbeing and the management of long-term conditions.

There are many ways people can help The Forever Friends Appeal reach their fundraising target including; texting RUHB10 to 70070 to donate £10, make a donation on our website, on our JustGiving page or by signing up to take part in one of the Appeal’s walking, running or challenge events planned in 2018 and raise funds via sponsorship for the RNHRD and Therapies Centre.

For information about the RNHRD and Therapies Centre click here

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New Year Raffle – win a car for £1!

Enter our New Year’s raffle and you could win a new Kia Picanto! We have lots of amazing prizes up for grabs, so don’t miss the opportunity and buy your tickets today.

Our New Year raffle tickets cost just £1 and you can buy a book for £5. All the funds raised in the draw will go towards our RNHRD and Therapies Campaign to help the Appeal reach its fundraising target of £2 million.

Our top prize, a new Kia Picanto comes with benefits from KIA’s pioneering 7 year warranty as well as group 2 insurance and up to 78.5 mpg. Making it practical, fun and extremely easy on the pocket to own and has for the fourth year running been generously provided by Allen KIA in Bath.

We’ve got some fabulous runner up prizes in the draw including:

  • Dyson V8 absolute hand held Vacuum
  • Dyson Fan
  • Mammoth Mattress & Pillows
  • Bluetooth wireless headphones
  • Round of golf for four at The Manor House, Castle Combe
  • Bed and Breakfast and a meal for two at Bailbrook House, Bath
  • Afternoon tea for two at Beechfield House, Melksham
  • Spa Pass for two at Combe Grove, Bath
  • Family adventure golf ticket for Royal Victoria Park
  • Afternoon Tea for two at Ston Easton Park
  • Two Bath Rugby tickets
  • And many more!

Richard Gyde, Deputy Head of Fundraising, The Forever Friends Appeal said:

“We hope that with our amazing top prize, a Kia Picanto and great runner up prizes people will be  inspired to take part in the draw and help us equal the amount raised in previous draws – £20,000. This will go towards our RNHRD and Therapies Centre and will be matched funded thanks to the Brownsword challenge.

“With every ticket you buy, not only do you have a great chance of winning, but you are also supporting The Forever Friends Appeal in a fun way.”

Alastair Soper, Sales Manager, Allen Kia said:

“We are very proud to be supporting The Forever Friends Appeal again this year. This charity works tirelessly for a cause which everyone can relate to in some form or another. If our help and assistance is able to play just a small part in raising money then it is well worth it. We wish the Appeal success over the next few weeks with their New Year Raffle Draw.”

Tickets will be on sale in the RUH Atrium (main entrance) between 10am and 4pm from Monday 8th January for 3 weeks in the run up to the draw. The prizes will be drawn on Friday 26 January by the Appeal in the RUH’s Atrium and the winners will be notified on the day.

If you would like to help sell the tickets on behalf of the Appeal, please call us on 01225 825961 or click here to request some in the post.

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