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RUH Christmas Appeal: Give a life changing gift this Christmas

The Forever Friends Appeal has launched an urgent appeal to support the Royal United Hospitals this Christmas.

The official NHS charity for the RUH in Bath is requesting help from the public to give a life changing gift this Christmas to continue providing extraordinary healthcare for everyone.

The appeal features Ed Jackson, ex-Bath rugby player and ambassador for the charity, who had extensive physiotherapy at the RUH following a freak swimming pool accident where he broke his neck.  He received life changing care and is now able to walk again, and thanks to the RUH he’s climbing his way through Christmas.

Ed said: The recovery and rehabilitation at three different hospitals was the hardest thing I have ever faced.  All of the staff were extraordinary and I’m forever grateful to the RUH for helping me to get back on my feet and walk again without a frame.  I haven’t stopped trying to claim back every millimeter of movement since.

The appeal also features Taya Bassett who gave to birth to premature twins, Harvey and Charlie, who spent 10 weeks being treated in the Dyson Cancer Centre for Neonatal Care.  Thanks to the RUH, they are cuddling their way through Christmas.

Taya said: “We will forever be grateful to all the Neonatal Intensive Care staff at the RUH.  If it wasn’t for these superheroes, our boys and I simply wouldn’t be here today.  The main thing that helped us get through it was all the care and support we received.  Not just from the amazing staff and counsellors, but also the special bonds that we made with other parents and this was especially important during the pandemic.”

This Christmas, our staff will continue working tirelessly around the clock to continue caring for patients, and will face another, increasingly difficult period as COVID-19 continues to affect our hospitals.

The Forever Friends Appeal is supporting our staff and hospital every step of the way, with providing mental support, funding including ‘Pause Days’, for teams affected by COVID-19 facilitated by two psychological therapists for the next two years.

But, we need your help to continue supporting the RUH together, to push the boundaries of healthcare through innovation, research, cutting-edge equipment, enhancing spaces and supporting staff even further.

Ed said:  “For me, Christmas is a time for contemplation, appreciation and community. I want to continue supporting this amazing charity who is striving to improve the health of people in our community.  They rely on the generous support of the public, which is why I’m appealing for the public’s support.

Can you give a life changing gift this Christmas by making a donation today? Your support will ensure patients like me continue to receive the very best care.

Thank you,

Ed Jackson and Taya Bassett

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#whyIhike for the Cardiac Ward at the RUH – Alex’s Story

Alex Hinder from Bristol is getting ready to take on the enormous challenge of hiking across the Canary island, Fuertuventura, on a long-distance trek called ‘GR131’, which will add up to over an amazing 100 miles in just 8 days starting on the 2nd of December.

Alex is doing the challenge to raise vital funds for the hospital after suffering from three heart attacks and a stroke, then having a heart bypass and stent fitted. Alex said: “Now more than ever, it’s important to stay active. I know this from all the conversations I had with consultants, doctors, nurses, even my family and friends who keep reminding me to keep active and keep going it will only help me and my heart. It’s so easy to give up when things don’t go your way, but whenever we have to face these sort of problems, I like to look at it as a challenge to keep believing, keep fighting and more importantly keep going.”

Alex has completed a few long distance hikes in preparation for this challenge, first one being the ‘Two Moors Way’ distance of 102 miles, and the second one being the ‘Coleridge Way’ distance of 52 miles. His health condition now means he needs all the support and help he can get as he knows it essential to pulling off a hike like this.
But, thanks to the massive support of his brother, who is a very experienced hiker, he is taking the lead with planning the routes, booking the accommodation and most importantly acting as his right-hand man and safety net throughout the whole challenge.

Katie James, Senior Sister on Cardiac Ward said “The staff on the Cardiac Ward really appreciate and admire our supporters. They are simple amazing and the money they selflessly raise helps improve the patients stay whist on the ward. Our supporters are really important as the money they raise helps us to buy equipment that adds to patient’s safety and comfort. This is really important for our patients especially during covid time as it is a stressful and worrying time for all, and anything to improve their stay is vital to us. Thank you so much Alex and good luck with you challenge.”

Alex is an inspiration to us all by is setting himself a big challenge and trying to prove that anyone can achieve their goals, no matter what you have been though. Alex added: “I’m doing this solely for two reason, one to raise some much-needed funds for the Cardiac Ward who has quite frankly saved my life more than once! And to hopefully be a small inspiration to others.”

Choosing to fundraise to say thank you to the hospital is a really personal and amazing thing to do and we’re very proud to have Alex as one of our supporters!

If you would like to show your support to Alex you can make a donation on his Just Giving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/alex-hinder

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Why I support the RUH – Kate’s story

I live in Royal Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire and began supporting The Forever Friends Appeal two years ago after my husband passed away from cancer.

My husband David was a patient at the RUH and after many tests he was diagnosed with stomach cancer. He had chemotherapy and two major operations and initially he was given the all clear, but twelve months later, the cancer returned and concluded in a terminal diagnosis.

David spent a lot of time on the William Budd ward and was given the very best care by all the staff.  He passed away in 2009 at 58 years old.  Then in 2017, my son Colin was diagnosed with lung cancer, that turned out to be terminal and he passed away at the start of this year.

My children asked me what I would like to do for my 70th birthday and as I didn’t want a party or presents, I crazily decided to do 70 challenges to fundraise for the four charities who supported the care of my husband and son.  So far, I’ve shaved my head, held bake sales, walked a marathon for Walk of Life, been rescued by dog for Newfoundland Dog Dive and trekked part of the Great Wall of China.  I’m proud to have raised £3,000 to date towards the new Cancer Centre.

I cannot thank the staff at the RUH enough for the wonderful care given to my late husband and also, The Forever Friends Appeal team who have become forever friends.

If you would like to make a donation to help patients affected by cancer, you can make a donation Here.

Thank you.

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Taya’s story – Why I’m supporting the RUH this Christmas

I’m Taya Bassett.  I would like to share my story and explain how a life changing gift this Christmas will help the RUH provide extraordinary healthcare for everyone.

I was born at the hospital’s original NICU 32 years ago. I was the second smallest baby on the Unit at the time, weighing just 1lb 9oz and born prematurely at 6 months. Thanks to the care of RUH staff in 1989, I was able to start my own family.

Our pregnancy was going well until a scan at 29 weeks picked up on an abnormality; late twin-to-twin transfusion. This meant there was a growth difference between our boys and Charlie’s placenta was growing weaker. Over the next few days, I developed early signs of pre-eclampsia and so we were quickly transferred to the labour ward and then the delivery suite.

Our twin boys, Harvey and Charlie were born at 29 weeks plus 5 days at St Michael’s Hospital in Bristol, weighing only 3lbs and 2.5lbs. We were soon transferred to the Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care at the RUH where they had round-the-clock care from the incredible team and specialised treatment for their breathing problems.

Being a NICU parent is a unique experience full of highs and lows – we were fortunate to spend 10 weeks watching our boys progress each day as they grew in strength. We were the lucky ones, because sadly this isn’t always the case for every baby in there.

The main thing that helped us get through it was all the care and support we received.

Not just from the amazing staff and counsellors, but also the special bonds that we made with other parents. This was especially important during Covid-19. Having people we could relate to was so valuable and helped make this difficult journey a bit easier, as well as being a huge distraction from everything else that was happening in the world.

We knew it wasn’t going to be an easy journey, but having the support of all the staff really made it a lot easier. I know from my own experience how incredibly grateful we are to everyone in NICU, because we wouldn’t have coped and got though it as well as we did without them.

The award-winning Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care is such a welcoming and calm space, it made us feel less anxious and I think it would have been a very different experience had we been in the old, cramped Unit. We are also grateful that it has parent accommodation, so we were able to live there for the duration of the twins stay.

Our journey highlights just one of the many projects that the charity has helped to fund. The Forever Friends Appeal helps the RUH to do more and provide exceptional healthcare for everyone. They push the boundaries of healthcare through innovation, research, cutting-edge equipment, enhancing spaces and supporting staff to be extraordinary.

This will be our first Christmas with the boys and we are really excited to celebrate it as a family of four. I want to continue supporting this amazing charity which is striving to improve the health of people in our community. They rely on the generous support of the public, which is why I feel I have to ask for your help.

Can you give a life changing gift this Christmas by making a donation today?  Your support will ensure patients like me continue to receive the very best care.

Thank you

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Ed’s story – Why I’m supporting the RUH this Christmas

The incredible NHS saved my life and does exceptional work on a daily basis. With the help of charitable support, they can push the boundaries of healthcare through innovation, research, cutting-edge equipment, enhancing spaces and supporting staff even further.

I’m Ed Jackson.  I would like to share my story and ask that you give a life changing gift this Christmas to help the Royal United Hospitals Bath provide extraordinary healthcare for everyone.

In 2017, I had a freak accident at a friend’s BBQ and dived into a deceptively shallow pool. It left me with catastrophic injuries including a broken neck and spinal damage, and which led to me being resuscitated three times. I heard the words that I never thought I would hear…’it’s unlikely you’ll ever walk again’. But I didn’t want to give up. If there was still a tiny chance of me regaining the use of my legs, then I was going to take it.

The recovery and rehabilitation at three different hospitals was the hardest thing I have ever faced. The RUH was instrumental in my recovery and I started rehab in the neurological ward with head physiotherapist Pete Bishop, an ex-army man. His military background resonated well with me as a professional rugby player. I remember him saying ‘I think we’ll have you up and about in no time’. This was the first time anyone in my care had said this to me, and if he had a catchphrase, it would be ‘ramp it up’, I felt lucky to have him.

All of the staff were extraordinary and I’m forever grateful to the RUH for helping me to get back on my feet and walk again without a frame. I haven’t stopped trying to claim back every millimetre of movement since. After months of intensive physiotherapy, I began to walk on crutches, then take a few steps without it. The steps turned to metres and then miles. Within a year, I stood
on top of Mount Snowdon with the dream of showing others facing their own seemingly impossible challenges that there is hope.

The incredible people of the NHS saved my life and none of this would have been possible without them.

Since then, I have been supporting The Forever Friends Appeal (Official NHS Charity for the RUH Bath) and I was an ambassador for their fundraising campaign to raise funds towards the RNHRD and Brownsword Therapies Centre. It’s a purpose-built facility with modern amenities including a large hydrotherapy pool, a specialist gym and rehabilitation equipment to help patients recover from illness or injury.

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.

My journey highlights just one of the many projects that the charity has helped to fund. The Forever Friends Appeal helps the RUH to do more and provide exceptional healthcare for everyone. They push the boundaries of healthcare through innovation, research, cutting-edge equipment, enhancing spaces and supporting staff to be extraordinary.

For me, Christmas is a time for contemplation, appreciation and community. I want to continue supporting this amazing charity which is striving to improve the health of people in our community. They rely on the generous support of the public, which is why I feel I have to ask for your help.

Please give a life changing gift this Christmas by making a donation today! Your support will ensure patients like me continue to receive the very best care.

I never thought in a million years that anything like this would happen to me, but it did and I am so grateful for the extraordinary care that I received.

I hope that my story helps you to understand the vital part you can play in helping to rebuild the lives of lucky people like me.

Wishing you the very best Christmas,

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Wells Cathedral Queen’s Jubilee Abseil, supporting RUH Bath

Abseil from the iconic Wells Cathedral in celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and raise vital funding for the SOS Africa, Wells Cathedral and The Forever Friends Appeal.

A very worthy addition to any post-lockdown bucket list, the 124ft freefall abseil challenge will return to Wells Cathedral on the weekends of the 4th, 5th, 10th and 12th June 2022. Back by popular demand, following the successes of the 2019 event during which 350 brave fundraisers raised an incredible £60,000, this year abseilers will descend from the North-West tower.

The SOS Africa Charity was founded by an 18-year-old gap student from Shepton Mallet in 2003 to fund the education of underprivileged South African children and now operates 4 education programmes supporting hundreds of children across the country. Since 2011, SOS Africa has organised charity abseil fundraising events from iconic landmarks across the UK including a Sponsored Abseil from Glastonbury Festival’s Pyramid Stage in 2014.

“The past 12 months have been hugely challenging for us all! Many of us have had to stay at home in isolation, away from friends and family whilst others have worked tirelessly on the front line to keep us all safe and well. We hope that this event will give everyone something to look forward to and the opportunity to support 3 causes close to many of our hearts: education, heritage and healthcare.”

“Our 2019 Wells Cathedral abseil was the most successful event in our charity’s 17-year history with hundreds of brave fundraisers traveling from across the UK to participate. The atmosphere throughout the weekends also drew large crowds who cheered each abseiler as they descended from the North-West Tower.” Event Organiser/SOS Africa CEO, Matt Crowcombe.

The event is organised by SOS Africa and Aardvark Endeavours, and in addition, is raising funds in aid of Wells Cathedral and The Forever Friends Appeal – charity for the Royal United Hospitals Bath.

To participate, each abseiler is required to pay a £20 deposit to cover instructor’s fees and, between now and their allocated abseil slot, raise £100 per person.  This will be split between SOS Africa (60%), Wells Cathedral (20%) and The Forever Friends Appeal (20%).

To enter as an individual or team, please visit: https://www.sosafrica.com/wellscathedralcharityabseil

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Metal detecting rally raises almost £37,000 for Dyson Cancer Centre

1,000 metal detectors from around the world travelled to a site near the historic town of Marlborough for a charity weekend of metal detecting, raising £36,847 for The Forever Friends Appeal.

The event, dubbed ‘The Rodney Cook Memorial Rally’ was set up in 2018 by Gary Cook, in memory of his dad Rodney Cook who sadly passed away from cancer in 2017.  Proceeds from the ticket sales, raffle and extras will go towards the Dyson Cancer Centre at the Royal United Hospitals Bath.

Gary Cook, member of the Trowbridge and District Metal Detecting Club said:

“The staff who cared for my father at the RUH were quite simply incredible, caring and wonderful people. I felt compelled to try and do something to raise some money for The Forever Friends Appeal to repay that kindness. So, from something awful, the RCM Rally was born.

“This year was our third event, as the 2020 rally was cancelled due to the pandemic. This year’s event was a huge success, we were blessed with the weather and we raised a new record amount of £50,000 for local cancer charities.

“We were supported by many leading manufactures, dealers and retailers within the metal detecting community. We also had members of The Forever Friends Appeal team join us to help out and promote the charity.  Many amazing finds were made over the course of the weekend including, Roman and Saxon coins along with some Celtic coins.

“Since its inception, the Rodney Cook Memorial Rally has raised a staggering £116,000 for charity, an amount we are all truly proud of.  I would like to thank everyone involved in the organisation and running of this year’s event, everyone who has supported us and those that attended, please accept our heartfelt gratitude.

Laura Cherry, Events and Community Coordinator at The Forever Friends Appeal said, “Over the year, the Rodney Cook Memorial Rally has raised an exceptional amount, £75,325 to be exact, towards the Dyson Cancer Centre.  On behalf of everyone at the charity, I would like to say a massive thank you to all the supporters of the rally, the incredible amount they have raised, as well as the awareness they have driven about our work, it’s truly inspiring.”

The Rodney Cook Memorial Rally organisers are always looking for new sites to hold future events. If there are any land owners who would like to help them out, please contact them via www.rodneycookmemorial.co.uk

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Join the RUH Light and Love virtual remembrance service

The Forever Friends Appeal, the charity for the Royal United Hospitals Bath is inviting the local community to come together to be part of its annual remembrance service.

The virtual ceremony will take place on Monday 6 December and will be streamed through The Forever Friends Appeal website between 11am and 6pm and will allow people to reflect together and celebrate the lives of loved ones who they have lost, whether they were cared for at the RUH or elsewhere.

The event will also help support the hospital’s RUH Palliative Care and End of Life Butterfly Fund and there will be an opportunity to remember loved ones names on a compassionate heart or star that will be placed on a tree of ‘Light and Love’ and displayed throughout the month of December. Dedication of names of loved ones will also be shown during the service.

Philip Turner, Deputy Team Chaplain at the RUH said: “‘The loss we feel is personal, but by coming together with others who are also wrestling with their grief, we can feel less alone. While restrictions at the hospital still prevent us from being in the same place, together we can create a similar space in our hearts.  Wherever you are, you are invited to join together with others for our ‘Light and Love’ live event.”

Helen Meehan, Lead Nurse Palliative and End of Life Care said: “Caring for people nearing the end of life and supporting their families is one of the most important things that we do at the RUH. Not many of us express a wish for where we might die, many of us would wish to be at home if asked, but for many it is in hospital where they are cared for in the last days of life.”

Your support in memory of your loved ones through this special event will help us continue to provide compassionate care to patients and their families. Gifts donated to the Butterfly fund in dedication to your loved ones will help provide the little things that will make a compassionate difference to caring for our patients nearing End of Life.

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Couple’s £10,500 gift to RUH marks Baby Loss Awareness Week

A Wiltshire couple who tragically lost their twin baby girls have raised more than £10,500 to help other grieving parents at the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust.

Ali and Holly Jay, from Grittleton, presented their cheque to midwives who cared for their family, marking the start of national Baby Loss Awareness Week activities (October 9-15) at the RUH.

The donation to the hospital’s charity The Forever Friends Appeal and the baby loss charity Aching Arms will go towards creating an outdoor courtyard area next to the maternity unit’s Forget Me Not bereavement suite.

The couple completed a 24-hour, 70-mile sponsored walk around their neighbourhood, supported by friends, family and members of their local community.

Ali said: “We can’t say thank you enough to everyone who helped us to raise this money, and thank you to the amazing RUH staff who’ve done so much for us. We really wanted to give back something to you and to do something positive to help other people who’ll experience the loss of a child.”

Bereavement Midwife Bex Walsh said: “We’re really grateful to Ali and Holly for this incredibly generous donation. It’ll make a real and lasting difference. It’s good too that this helps to raise awareness of baby loss so that families do not suffer in silence. Talking about baby loss will help mums, dads, grandparents, aunts and uncles feel able to share their grief and honour their baby’s memory.

“Our Forget Me Not bereavement suite provides a space away from the busy maternity ward where grieving families who have experienced the death of a baby can have the privacy they need at a particularly difficult time. Having a dedicated outdoor area will further improve this service we provide here.”

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Breast Unit Expansion Project Update

Following the huge support from the public, the Breast Unit Expansion build is now underway following delays caused by the pandemic.

Phase 1 – construction of the extension

The extension will sit between the existing Breast Unit and Radiology which means there is a need to ensure there are no adverse effects caused by vibration to the nearby PET-CT which could affect the quality of scans. Monitoring will continue until the end of the construction.

  • Contractor Site Set-up; which started 19th July, immediately after completion of the CT4 project
  • Foundations and Drainage are now complete
  • Colour and finishes schedule for walls, flooring, and furniture
  • Detailed Equipment Schedule

Phase 2 – Works within the existing building

Sequencing of the works is designed to enable the clinical team to continue seeing and treating patients during each sequence; detailed planning about to start for vacating and re-occupying each area in-turn.

  • Sequence 1: Install new mechanical and electrical services which will feed the new extension and roof-mounted air handling unit (until end of contract)
  • Sequence 2A: Redecorate walls in the Ultrasound Room
  • Sequence 2B: Demolitions and rebuilding works to form the new Treatment Room and Store Room;refurbishment of Examination Room 3
  • Sequence 3A: Refurbish Consulting Room 3 and redecorating a section of corridor
  • Sequence 3B: Refurbish Consulting Room 4 and Examination Room 4
  • Sequence 4: Refurbish Reception

Phase 3 – Garden

Erect hoarding around the Peace Garden space; develop the Courtyard Garden (to end of contract)

The Principal Contractor remains focused on both phase 1 and 2 works being practically completed by 8 December and the newly enlarged department commissioned and fully operational by 22nd December.

Behind the scenes

“My name is Karen & I am a Breast Cancer Support Worker. I work alongside the BreastNurses in the Breast Unit. I joined the RUH & the Breast team at the end of March 2020– right at the beginning of lockdown!

It is a really exciting time to be working in the Breast Unit with all the extension plans moving forward. For me, the most exciting part is that we will have our own treatment room, so I will be able to do nipple tattooing for the patients who require it, on a more regular basis. Currently, it is difficult to fit in this clinic, as we have to share the room with the consultants.

I would like to say a big ‘Thank you’ to you all for your kind donations. Without your generosity, we wouldn’t be able to extend our unit or provide a better environment for the patients who have to attend the Breast Unit.”

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