01225 825691
forever.friends@nhs.net

Campaign

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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Peru trekkers raise an incredible £58,000

Twenty nine fundraisers have raised over £58,000 for The Forever Friends Appeal by completing one of the world’s most iconic trekking trails, the awe-inspiring Inca Trail in Peru.

Peru Trekkers at Machu Picchu

The group signed up to the Appeal’s Inca Trail challenge months in advance of departure, with the goal to trek up to 52km at high altitude to the lost city of Incas to earn every bit of their sponsorship. As well as training to take on the tough physical challenge, they have spent a lot of their spare time fundraising by holding cake sales, car boots, quiz nights, and bucket collections.

The total amount raised will go towards the Appeal’s major campaigns; the Cancer Centre and the RNHRD and Therapies Centre, which will both be built near the front of the Royal United Hospitals, (RUH) Bath.

The charity challenge began in the Inca Capital Cusco, with an acclimatisation trek at an altitude of 3,200m. The next day, they set off to conquer the one and only Inca Trail that leads to Machu Picchu – the world’s most important archaeological find and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

As well as enduring six to eight hours per day of walking across tough terrain, the group camped under the stars each night, and climbed from 3,000m to 4,200m reaching iconic features such as the  ‘Dead Woman’s Pass’, passing through cloud forests, and reaching a glacier. On the third day they conquered two remaining mountain passes and reached the Sun Gate on day four with the view of Machu Picchu, which they then explored. Daniela Weate, from Frome said:

“I wanted to do the Inca Trail trek because my sister Jules and I had Machu Picchu on our ‘bucket list’. But sadly she died of cancer before we got to do it together. So, when I heard about The Forever Friends Appeal were going to trek the Inca Trail, I thought it was a great opportunity to do ‘our trek’ and raise money for the RUH’s new Cancer Centre.

“My favourite memory was on the route up to Dead Woman’s Pass. Four of us struggled with the altitude but we looked after each other, and were helped by our two amazing guides Elias and Yammie. We called ourselves the Musketeers, and laughed and cried our way along the route. The whole team became an amazing supportive family.”

Chris Scott, from Neston said:

“I’m so glad I achieved the trek. It was far more challenging than I expected but the scenery and wildlife were amazing –  I loved seeing humming birds and wild orchids, it was something I will never forget along with the emotional feeling I had (a few tears were shed) when we passed through the Sun Gate at the entrance of Machu Picchu.

“My favourite memory though (and I think for a few others in the group) was getting a ‘piggy back’ on one of the Porters on the way down, as it was getting dark. The speed he ran down the path was insane, but fun. I had no fear he would drop me as they are so sure footed and strong.”

With the success of the Inca Trail Trek, The Forever Friends Appeal are now looking for another group of adventurous fundraisers to take part in their 2018 Grand Canyon trek. As well as taking on this natural wonder, the trek also includes hiking the trails of two other National Parks in South West USA, Zion Canyon and Bryce Canyon.

An information evening will be held at the RUH on Tuesday 23 January 2018 with talks from the trek leader of Global Adventure Challenge who work with The Forever Friends Appeal team, and there’ll be an opportunity to hear some of the experiences from the Peru trekkers. To book your place call Laura, Events and Community Officer on: 01225 821535 or click here for more information.

Below are a few of the amazing photos from the Trek

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The Helen Straker Charity raises £36,000 for The Forever Friends Appeal

On Tuesday 5 December the Helen Straker Charity announced it has raised £72,000 during 2017 in aid of two charities, The Forever Friends Appeal and Dorothy House Hospice Care. Both charities received £36,000 each at a cheque presentation held at The Bear Hotel in Devizes as they were the two favourite charities of Helen Straker, late wife of Gordon Straker, who died in 2013 and was an active fundraiser throughout her life.

Gordon Straker (central) presents cheques to Dorothy House Hospice and RUH. Photo: Siobhan Boyle SMB2257/4

This year’s fundraising total by the Helen Straker Charity was raised across the year at a number of events including their annual golf day and clay pigeon shoot plus a generous contribution from the Devizes Lions Club.  This follows another great year of fundraising last year when the Helen Straker Charity raised a total of £80,000.

A proactive fundraiser for both the new Cancer Centre which will be built at the Royal United Hospitals, Bath and Dorothy House Hospice Care, Helen Straker sadly lost her brave fight against cancer in 2013.  Her husband, Gordon Straker, continued Helen’s impressive fundraising efforts and The Helen Straker Charity was officially registered in 2014. The charity now organises a variety of fundraising events each year including golf days, clay pigeon shoots, dinners, balls and comedy nights.

Gordon Straker, Trustee of the Helen Straker Charity said: “My thanks to all the companies, individuals and sponsors who supported the charity this year. Well done to all involved it’s a great achievement. We are proud to have raised £72,000 in funds for Helen’s two chosen charities this year as her aim in life was to help others and it is very satisfying to be able to continue her legacy as she would have wished.”

Jan Witt, In Memory & Legacy Officer, The Forever Friends Appeal said: “On behalf of the Appeal, I personally would like to thank the Trustees of the Helen Straker charity for their continued support, commitment and raising funds for the RUH’s pioneering new Cancer Centre which will provide a highly beneficial healing environment, transforming care for patients and their families. In recognition for their superb fundraising efforts totalling £150,000 in just three years, the Helen Straker Charity are now Principal Family Partners of The Forever Friends Appeal, meaning they will have a naming opportunity for one of the specialist areas or departments within the new Cancer Centre.”

Strakers receive plaque from the Forever Friends Appeal

Phillippa Watson, Head of Fundraising at Dorothy House Hospice Care said: “Many congratulations to the charity for raising such significant funds once again in 2017, it is greatly appreciated and will help Dorothy House continue to provide specialist care for people living with a life-limiting illness. We are extremely grateful to Gordon Straker, the charity Trustees and to the Devizes Lions Club this year for all their hard work and fundraising efforts.  Dorothy House cared for Helen during her battle with cancer and we’re proud to remain a beneficiary of the Helen Straker Charity.”

For information about the Helen Straker Charity please contact Gordon Straker on: 01380 720 371.  To donate to The Forever Friends Appeal click here or to volunteer for Dorothy House Hospice Care please visit www.dorothyhouse.org.uk

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Hadrian’s Wall trek raises £9,000 for Cancer Centre

A husband’s wish to raise funds for the new Cancer Centre at the RUH has been fulfilled by his wife and group of footsore friends and family. Marilyn Weeks and her group of friends walked the 84-mile length of Hadrian’s Wall in memory her husband Ray, who was treated for cancer at the RUH between 2014 and 2016 before passing away.

They’ve raised £8,966 for the RUH Cancer Care Campaign from their week-long coast to coast trek.
Hadrians Wall Trek- Almost There_cropped

Marilyn said: “Ray was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2015 following a year of treatment for a non-life threatening form of cancer. During his illness he had received treatment and support from both the RUH and the Macmillan Hospice staff.

“He wanted to give something back for all the help he had received and asked myself and my sister if we would do a sponsored walk to raise money for the new Cancer Centre at the RUH. After he passed away, we decided to walk the Hadrian’s Wall path as we thought this would be challenging and would raise the much-needed funds for the hospital.

“Alongside my sister and I, we had two more relations and four good friends join us on the walk. The whole experience is something the eight of us will all remember. It was emotional, challenging and very rewarding knowing that we were doing it for such a good cause.

“I know my husband would be very proud of us, and grateful to all the family members, friends and strangers who gave us such support during our fundraising events and the walk itself. Thank you everyone.”

Marilyn, her sister Carol, Pam, Caroline, Debbie, Tessa, Kirsteen and Dee presented the cheque for £8,966 to the Forever Friends Appeal at the RUH.

Walkers with cheque cropped

Laura Pearce, Senior Events Fundraiser, The Forever Friends Appeal said:

“We are so thankful to Marilyn and her walking group – fondly known as ‘Ray’s Hadrian’s Wall Walkers.’ They have all worked so hard to achieve so much, not only completing this difficult route but also raising an amazing amount of money along the way. Ray’s memory will benefit so many others affected by cancer, and we hope knowing this provides Marilyn, her family and friends with some small comfort.

Through support from the public and major donations, we continue with our Cancer Care campaign hoping to generate over £9m towards the building. To make a donation or find
out about the new Cancer Centre click here

 

 

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Beckington Ball raises £29K for RUH Cancer Centre

Proceeds raised at the prestigious Beckington Ball have been generously donated to The Forever Friends Appeal. A cheque for £29,000 has been donated to the RUH’s pioneering new Cancer Centre which will provide state-of-the-art cancer treatment to thousands of patients treated at the RUH.

Beckington Ball cheque presentation

The Beckington Ball is a biennial event held near Frome. It aims to bring local businesses together, large and small to raise funds for good causes.  The Beckington Ball Committee includes Chris Weare, Ang Allen and Dan Gulliford, as well as other volunteers who organise the event. Tickets for the 2017 ball sold out within 24 hours.

Chris Weare, Beckington Ball Committee member said:

“Overall, the event was an overwhelming success and I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who came on the night and showed their support. We raised funds in a number of different ways; from sponsoring tables to donating prizes for the raffle draw, the generosity just kept coming. We also had an auction of promises with prizes ranging from day trips to local experience events.

“I’d also like to thank Justin Thorner and the team at Wainwrights for being our lead sponsor and showing their support and to the Appeal’s Warminster and District RUH Fundraising Group for their help. It was a heart-warming event and wonderful to see people’s response to supporting such a worthy local cause.”

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

“We are completely overwhelmed by the generosity and would like to thank The Beckington Ball Committee for donating the funds towards our Cancer Care campaign.

“In recognition for fundraising over £50,000 in two years, the Beckington Ball Committee are Principal Community Partners of The Forever Friends Appeal, meaning they will have a naming opportunity for one of the specialist areas or departments within the new Cancer Centre.”

Through support from the public and major donations, The Forever Friends Appeal continues its Cancer Care campaign hoping to generate over £9m towards the building. To make a donation or find out about the new Cancer Centre click here

Photo above: left to right: Terry Hickmott (member of Warminster and District RUH Fundraising Group), Chris Weare, Big Ted, Annie Hickmott (member of Warminster and District RUH Fundraising Group) and Justin Thorner

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Turf Cutting ceremony marks the start of new build

To mark the start of the major building works for the RNHRD and Therapies Centre, an official turf cutting ceremony was held today at the Royal United Hospitals (RUH) Bath NHS Foundation Trust.

The RNHRD and Therapies Centre, costing c£16m to build, will house many of the services currently located at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD) and in the RUH, namely rheumatology, therapies and pain management services.

Benefactors Andrew and Christina Brownsword have pledged up to £1m to match every pound donated to the Forever Friends Appeal £2m campaign towards the cost of the new building. Today they made the first cut into the ground with David Snell, Operations Manager from Kier Construction, Brian Stables, Trust Chairman, and Ed Jackson, rugby star and ambassador for the Forever Friends Therapies campaign, to get construction work underway.

Andrew Brownsword said:

“Seeing this building work commence is a special moment. My family and I are delighted to be supporting this important project which will benefit so many people in our local community. We hope our gift of £1m towards the Centre will provide the best care for patients and will encourage others who are in a position to give, to support this wonderful hospital too.”

Other donors including representatives from Santander, who have chosen the Appeal as their charity of the year, Bath Rugby players and staff from Kier Construction joined RUH staff at the turf cutting ceremony.

Turf Cutting with RUH FFA hoardings

Brian Stables, Trust Chairman, RUH said:

“The start of the construction work marks a key milestone for the Trust. This building will make a major impact on the services the hospital can provide to some 25,000 people each year. 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.

“It’s an amazingly generous gesture made by the Brownsword Charitable Foundation and we would very much welcome help from the public to achieve our target of raising £2m.”

The RNHRD and Therapies Centre is being built close to the main entrance of the RUH and will be predominately an outpatient centre providing treatment, care and education for patients to recover from episodes of illness or injury, or to manage their long-term condition.

Ed Jackson, former Bath rugby player 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. If you can support the campaign, please visit the Appeal’s website to find out more.”

David Snell, Operations Manager, Kier Construction said:

“We’re delighted to be working with the Trust on such a unique building which will serve people of all ages and needs.

“You won’t see much for the next few months with all the work being concentrated at ground level and the building’s foundations. But after the New Year you’ll see some big changes as the walls start to go up. That’s when you’ll see the new Centre is very much a reality.”

 Once building work is completed on the RNHRD and Therapies Centre and services moved, the construction of the new Cancer Centre will begin which is part of the major redevelopment programme to make the RUH fit for the future.

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Newfoundland dog rescue day raises over £5,000

Over £5,500 has been raised for patients at Bath’s Royal United Hospital from a water-based fundraising challenge with a difference.

Twenty seven people braved the cold waters in Portishead Marina, Bristol to be rescued each by a Newfoundland dog, all part of the organised Newfoundland dog rescue day for The Forever Friends Appeal, the fundraising charity for Bath’s Royal United Hospital.

One of the youngest participants to take the plunge was eight year old Zara Sanders who raised £650. The eldest was Giles Wareham, aged 71. Giles, Landlord of The Biddestone Arms, Nr Chippenham said:

“I love our NHS and have had great care over the years. I am very grateful for the support from friends as I will end up generating over £1,000. I’d also like to thank Tsuki, the Newfoundland dog which managed to pull me out (much to the annoyance of my wife!).”

Staff from the RUH’s Cardiology ward and other departments also took part to raise funds and support the hospital’s Forever Friends Appeal.

dog dive 3

Emily Lynch, Events and Community Officer, The Forever Friends Appeal said:

“This was our first Newfoundland Water Rescue Day and it was a great success. We’re delighted with the amount raised and everyone who took part really enjoyed the experience. The dogs were amazing and they showed us just how fantastic they are at rescuing people in water – of course, this was done just for fun on the day.

“As the participants could choose where their sponsorship will go, we’ve got funds going towards our new builds such as the new Cancer Centre and Therapies Centre, as well as to wards and departments in the RUH, so thank you to everyone who has supported and donated. I’d like to also take this opportunity to thank David Pugh and everyone at Newfound Friends UK who brought the dogs along for the day and to Portishead Marina for hosting the event.”

As this year’s event was oversubscribed, The Forever Friends Appeal will host another Newfoundland dog rescue day next year (date tbc). Those interested in taking part should register their interest here

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