01225 825691
forever.friends@nhs.net

News

Fundraising continues for Cancer Centre as minimum target reached

Thanks to the help of dedicated supporters, major donors and the goodwill of the public, the minimum £8.5million fundraising target needed for the pioneering new RUH Cancer Centre has been reached.

We launched the Cancer Care Campaign five years ago in response to the hospital’s Fit for the Future redevelopment opportunity to transform Cancer care for its patients and their families.

But, we’re not stopping fundraising efforts. Tim Hobbs, Head of Fundraising said:

“Whilst we are taking time to celebrate this significant milestone, we are continuing the Cancer Care Campaign. Many of our donors are very much encouraging us to sustain the campaign into 2018 to maximise our fundraising efforts for the new Centre to ensure it is truly special in its design, facilities and equipment

“I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank our supporters for their fundraising efforts and contributions towards the new RUH Cancer Centre. Fundraising in the fight against cancer never stops, therefore we will continuing to support this amazing project to achieve the very best care, treatment and quality of environment for our patients.”

The current RUH Oncology buildings were built in the 1940s to house injured service personnel. Nearly eighty years on, these buildings are still in use, obstructing rather than creating an environment that can actively support the healing process.

The new Cancer Centre will cost c£27m to build and construction is due to commence in 2019, once the new RNHRD and Therapies Centre is in place.

James Scott, Chief Executive, Royal United Hospitals, Bath said:

“Giving patients who are living with Cancer the best, most effective treatment and opportunities for surviving this disease is what this campaign is all about. Therefore, fundraising £8.5m is an incredible amount, and I would like to thank everyone who has made a contribution so far, your support is greatly valued.

“The new Cancer Centre will offer a highly beneficial healing environment, enabling our staff to provide clinically excellent care in an environment that is nurturing and therapeutic. With your help continuing to fundraise for the Cancer Care Campaign we can create an exceptional world class Cancer Centre.”

For information about our Cancer Care Campaign click here

Read more

Community Group raises £75K for Cancer Centre

A group of devoted residents from Warminster have raised an incredible £75,000 for The Appeal’s Cancer Care Campaign.

The Cancer Care Campaign was set up by the Appeal in 2013 to raise funds for the pioneering new Cancer Centre due to be built at the Royal United Hospitals, (RUH) Bath in 2019.

The 15 members of The Warminster and District RUH Fundraising Group have been fundraising for five years and they meet on a monthly basis at The Organ Inn, Warminster’s High Street.

Every year, the group plan fun and exciting fundraising activities in Warminster and its surrounding areas, including their popular pig races (fluffy toys instead of real ones) which has seen over £5,000 raised in one night.

Nic Noble, Co-founder of Warminster and District RUH Fundraising Group said:

“This group is an extension of my family, we’ve all had a family member or friend who has had cancer in one form or another and have been treated at the RUH. Being part of this group and raising funds for our local hospital is important to all of us. I lost my sister, Ness ten years ago to Cancer and I promised her that I would continue fundraising in her memory to keep her legacy alive.

“The RUH is an incredible hospital, but its current Cancer facilities are far from ideal as they are in what was meant to be temporary buildings during world war two. Some of our members have also fought their own battle with Cancer and experienced the great care at the RUH, so when we set up the group, it was an easy decision for us to raise funds for the new RUH Cancer Centre. It’s something that’s close to all our hearts.”

To mark the group’s fifth anniversary they will hold their Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Wednesday 28 March at the Organ Inn, Warminster. Anyone is welcome to attend.

Claudia Hickin, Senior Community Fundraiser, The Forever Friends Appeal said:

“We are very grateful to our Warminster & District RUH Fundraising Group. They all work so hard fundraising for the Cancer Care campaign and it’s lovely to see they have a lot of fun along the way.

“They have a range of events planned throughout this year and I’d like encourage anyone who wants to support the RUH to go along. Fundraising in the fight against cancer never stops and we are confident that with the help of our dedicated supporters and the goodwill of the public, we will raise the much-needed funds to help achieve the very best care, treatment and quality of environment for RUH patients.”

If anyone is interested in joining the Warminster and District RUH Fundraising Group or volunteering for The Forever Friends Appeal, please contact Senior Community Fundraiser, Claudia on 01225 825825 or email: claudia.hickin@nhs.net

Read more

Lucinda’s story – why therapies matter

“My name is Lucinda and I am 35 years old. I developed Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) about eight years ago in the lower part of my right leg. The CRPS has since spread to affect all of my right leg, lower back and I am showing signs of CRPS in my right arm.

“Before I developed CRPS I was a keen horse rider, I was lucky enough to own several horses with my sister. Anything to do with horses I was there, show jumping, dressage, cross country, you name I did it! Sadly my world came crashing down one sunny spring day.  This is my CRPS journey:

“I had an operation on my stomach, just simple keyhole surgery, the procedure went well and after a couple of weeks was back at work. I went for my usual walk at lunch time but when I came back my right leg was really hurting. By the time I had got home that night my leg from my knee down had swollen nearly doubling in size and was hot and painful to touch. The next day I went to my GP because I was concerned what was wrong with my leg.

“Immediately i was admitted to hospital for a suspected blood clot. To cut a long story short the doctors could not find out what was wrong with my leg, which by this point was extremely painful and sore to touch. But, the doctors could not find anything wrong with me, so I paid to have an appointment with a private consultant. He examined me and said I have CRPS. This was about nine months after the initial symptoms started. My CRPS has spread over the years, it now effects my lower back, the whole of my right leg and my right arm. This is due to operations and having falls, but I won’t bore you with the details.

“I was referred to the CRPS Team at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD) in Bath. I didn’t know what to expect as I had lost faith in all the consultants I had seen.  All I wanted was the pain to be taken away and be able to walk properly again.  The team were incredible they explained my condition in detail answered all my questions the support was overwhelming.  It was decided I would stay as an inpatient for two weeks.

“A couple of months later I arrived at the hospital scared and anxious. The nurses were lovely they reassured me and understood that I couldn’t cope with people being too close to my affect leg.  I met other patients with CRPS, we would sit together at meal times and chat about our experiences with CRPS.  For the first time since having CRPS I felt I was not alone, there were other people going through the same as me. I made some wonderful friends who I still keep in contact with now.

“The CRPS team complies of an Occupational Therapist (OT), Physiotherapist, Psychologist and various Specialists.  Each person has played a huge part in my journey of living with CRPS, in particular OT Charlie and Physio Keri.  During my stay at the RNHRD the team taught me how to live with my condition.  The word PACE was drummed into my head.

“Having CRPS made me very anxious to go out and I was scared I would get knocked by people and starred at because of my disability.  Charlie helped me over come my fear giving me useful tips to protect myself.  She told me to walk with the buildings on my painful side, ask Paul to walk that side of me so people would have to pass him not me.  I have even trained my Jack Russell, Hercules to walk on my right hand side so if I am on my own I have some protection there.  I have become so confident in new places that earlier this year I stayed at the hospital I took myself to the gin bar over the road all on my own.  For me this was a huge achievement and a very rewarding one!

“Keri my physiotherapist understood that no matter what I really wanted to try and lead a normal life, as normal as life can be with CRPS.  She taught me to aim for smaller goals rather than huge goals that left me feeling useless because I couldn’t achieve them.  With Keri’s help I now use a hydrotherapy pool every day, which is something that I find a vital part of my rehabilitation.  Keri has taught me various techniques to help me cope with living with CRPS.  I have learnt to pace myself and ask for help. One of the symptoms of CRPS is your brain distorts the way your effected limb looks.  This is a huge battle for me as I still cannot look at my effect leg.  Trying to describe my leg to Keri even now brings me to tears.  I thought I was going crazy when I tried to explain to people how it looked.  Keri assured me this was all part of having CRPS.  When I chatted to other people with CRPS they would say the same.  The team are always there to help me through the lows of having CRPS, I can honestly say I would not have been the person I am today without the team.

“I mentioned earlier that I have a serious love of horses, they are my life.  Riding was no longer an option for me as it was too painful.  I became very depressed and could not face even going to see the horses.  This went on for a couple of months I became more and more depressed and started to think awful thoughts.  My mum said to me why don’t you try and ride side saddle.  I asked the CRPS team what they thought and they said give it a go.  Where I live I am very lucky to have an equestrian centre that specialises in side saddle riding.  I explained about my condition, how I have extreme pain, I can’t work out where my leg is half the time and that I suffer from bad spasms.

“My instructor understood and put me on a safe horse.  Although riding the horse sideways was painful it was not as bad as riding astride (I had a couple of goes in the past but found it impossible).  I felt incredible when I got off the horse I was not so good physically but mentally I felt fantastic.  I had a couple more lessons over the next few weeks’ it gave me something to focus on instead of the pain all the time.  My instructor decided to try my own horse Splash side saddle and low and behold she took to it like a duck to water.  This was four years ago, now Splash and I compete in side saddle classes up and down the country.  We do pretty well.  I came fourth out of 25 places in our first international show and have had many wins in dressage and side saddle classes.  I have been graded by a special physio so that I can compete in para-dressage. I have been given a grade 4 which is the least disabled grade (grades range from 1 being the most disabled to 4 the least disabled). I am currently in the process of being re-graded.

“Medication wise, it was decided that I should have a Spinal Cord Stimulator (SCS) fitted as a last resort to help with my pain levels.  This works in a similar way as a Tens Machine but it is inside your body.  The SCS has helped my pain levels in my right leg.  I still have a lot of pain but by having the SCS I can manage my pain levels better.  I still have all the other symptoms of CRPS (limb distortion, spasms etc.) but with lower pain levels it means I can concentrate more on getting my brain to engage with my right leg.

“Without the help and support of the team at the RNHRD, I would never have achieved any of the above.  I am a strong determined woman, but even strong determined women have low moments and I really have hit those lows.  I feel have got my life back rather than CRPS controlling my life.”

Inspired by Lucinda’s story? If you’d like make a donation towards the new RNHRD and Therapies Centre, visited our website or donate through JustGiving.com

Read more

Sue’s story – why Therapies Matter

“In 2006, I had a fall at Christmas, which resulted in fracturing my wrist, displacing my collar bone and shoulder blade. Soon after the fall, I showed signs of developing Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), which is a chronic pain condition which mostly affects one limb, and in my case I was diagnosed with it in my left arm.

“The fall changed my life significantly and I spent nine years grieving for everything I’d lost in that split second. I was a teacher, but I lost my job and haven’t been able to drive since.  My husband become my carer, so I felt I had lost him as my husband and I couldn’t hug or hold my grandchildren as I was in excruciating pain all the time. I also suffered from sleep deprivation and also depression and stopped socialising.

“I couldn’t use my left arm at all and I had it in a sling for three years as having CRPS in my arm meant that it became sensitive and a slight touch, bump or even a change in temperature provoked intense pain. I couldn’t tolerate water on my arm, loud noises and people coming close to me as this would increase my pain levels and covered my arm with a compression glove and wore a splint. I couldn’t look at it or touch it, and I wouldn’t let anyone else look or touch it. I felt like my left arm did not belong to me.

“That’s all the negatives and they were all completely turned around following my inpatient stays at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD) in 2016 and 2017 as I learnt how to control my CRPS rather than let it control me.

“At the RNHRD, I had a full assessment by the specialist team and they helped me set realistic goals and concentrated on physical rehabilitation by providing; physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, occupational therapy, psychological support and gave information on my condition.

“Thanks to the Physiotherapists, I haven’t used a crutch or walking stick since.  I found hydrotherapy very beneficial, it was relaxing and was able to do exercises in water without pain levels being raised. Plus, I got a real buzz from cardio workouts in their gym and in turn this decreased my pain levels and improved my core strength and balance so I rarely stumble or fall.

“I also learnt how to pace myself and be realistic in what I could achieve. I’m now able to talk more freely to family members and be honest about how I feel and the impact CRPS has on my life.

“Having learnt strategies to cope with CRPS and how to use relaxation techniques, my sleep has improved significantly. I keep a diary of three positives things every day and any negatives I write on a piece of paper then screw it up and put in the bin.

“My life has changed so much this year and I have achieved so many things including; kayaking with my husband, attending ballroom and Latin dance sessions – I never thought this would be possible, plus I can run around the garden with my grandchildren. I’m beginning to enjoy being in the kitchen and doing some baking. I can now swim with my grandchildren, go for long walks both on the beach and along coastal paths.  I even enjoy the gym and signed up as a member during my last inpatient stay so I went every day and it felt good!

“I have made the most significant progress this year thanks to the care provided at the RNHRD.  I hope my story highlights the importance of therapy services in helping people like me cope with life changing conditions, that’s why I’m supporting The Forever Friends Appeal’s Therapies Matter Campaign.”

Sue shared her story with BBC Wiltshire, to watch the clip, click here

Inspired by Sue’s story? If you’d like make a donation towards the new RNHRD and Therapies Centre, visited our website or donate through JustGiving.com

Read more

RUH Will writing month raises £42,000

Thanks to the support of solicitor firms in Bath, Somerset and Wiltshire, a total of £42,000 has been raised for The Forever Friends Appeal, the fundraising charity of the Royal United Hospitals, (RUH) Bath.

This incredible amount was achieved by the generosity of 15 solicitor firms who waived their Will writing fees during the annual RUH Will Month fundraising scheme, offering the public the opportunity to have a Will drawn up professionally at a reduced cost.

Solicitors with cheque

Jan Witt, In Memory & Legacy Officer, The Forever Friends Appeal said:

“This is the biggest amount raised so far by our scheme and we are very appreciative of the generous support given to us by the solicitors who work extremely hard to help as many people as possible to draw up thousands of Wills throughout September last year.

“RUH Will Month has been running for three years and it has proved to be very valuable to the Appeal. Not only does it raise significant funds towards the work we do helping to fund projects and equipment for all areas across the hospital, but also provides a yearly reminder to the public, to focus on getting their affairs in order to ensure their savings and possessions go to the people they love and care for.”

Amongst the solicitor firms involved in the scheme, Bath-based Helen Starkie solicitors raised £10,000, making them a Corporate Partner of The Forever Friends Appeal.

Helen Starky Solicitors

Gina Lawrence, Helen Starkie Solicitors said:

“Everyone needs a Will in place to help get their affairs in order, whilst providing peace of mind. We are so pleased to offer our specialist service in this area which supports such a worthy charity and at the same time benefits patients cared for at the RUH.

“We have met some lovely people during the annual RUH Will month scheme and are pleased to help raise funds towards The Forever Friends Appeal.  Our support over the last three years has raised £10,000 which has now enabled Helen Starkie Solicitor to become one of  the Appeal’s Corporate Partners, which is an added bonus and will provide a great working partnership.”

The RUH Will month scheme runs during September only. During that time people will have the opportunity to put their affairs in order by having a single standard Will written for £100 or standard Mirror Wills or joint Wills for £150. Details of the firms taking part this year will be announced later this year.

 

Read more

Sophie’s story – why Therapies Matter

“After sustaining sports-related injuries in 2004, requiring intensive physiotherapy, I was in constant, chronic pain, extremely fatigued, and subsequently diagnosed with Fibromyalgia (FM) in 2006.

“I joined the first therapy-led Fibromyalgia Self-management Programme (FSMP) at the RNHRD in 2007, where I learned strategies to manage the pain, fatigue, and cognitive dysfunctions (‘fibro-fog’).

“I was delighted to be invited and become a member of the team to support the programme as the first Rheumatology Expert Patient volunteer in 2008.

“The confidence and support that I received, helped me to consider studying part-time for an Open University degree.  I achieved my lifetime goal, this July 2017, gaining a BSc (Hons) Psychology degree just before my 60th birthday!

Sophie Moss landscape removed name

 

“To say that I was, and still am over-the-moon, is an understatement, proving it is possible to achieve your dreams with the appropriate support.

“The benefit of FSMP being therapy-led, is that it is an educational one, which is based on current research, drawing on the expertise of healthcare professionals. However, it is interactive, requiring patient commitment and involvement, to make the changes necessary to improve their quality of life.

“I owe a lot to this unique programme, and would highly recommend it.”

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

 

Read more