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Donation

Making Easter eggstra special for RUH staff

Joy came in the form of chocolate at the Royal United Hospitals Bath today when an eggstra special donation was made – 5,000 Easter eggs have been delivered to the hospital to bring a little Easter joy and a much-needed boost for staff during this challenging time.

This generous donation was made by a company called gemsatwork which provides food products to workplaces. Christian Morris, Account Executive, gemsatwork said:

“We decided to donate the Easter eggs as we know how hard they are all working round the clock to keep us safe and this is our way to say thank you to them.”

The hospital’s charity, The Forever Friends Appeal is now working as quickly as they can to distribute the eggs to all staff before the Easter weekend.

Rhyannon Boyd, Head of Fundraising, The Forever Friends Appeal said:

“Thank you to everyone at gemsatwork for making this donation. Everyone who has received an egg has been delighted. We’d also like to thank all the other businesses who’ve donated to our hospital, whether it’s been packaged food, toiletries, flowers or refreshments – all of the items have been gratefully received.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the incredible response from our community and we would also like to thank everyone who has donated to our hospital heroes’ appeal. The money raised is being used to provide staff with care packages as well as other urgent requests received from our wards and departments.”

 

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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

 

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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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Freemasons present cheques to The Appeal

We say a huge thank you to two Freemason Lodges; Devizes-based Moonraker Lodge and the Warminster Longleat Lodge. Members from both lodges kindly presented the Appeal with two cheques for patient care at the Royal United Hospitals, (RUH) Bath.

Ken Rake, the Worshipful Master of the Moonraker Masonic Lodge presented Jan Witt, the Appeal’s In Memory & Legacy Officer with a cheque for £900 raised specifically towards The Kelly Ross Fund which was set up through the Appeal in support of the RUH Cancer Care Campaign.

Jan holding cheque

At the presentation, Ken said: “Every year the Master of the Moonraker Masonic Lodge raises money for their chosen charity. This year, l decided to split the money between The Forever Friends Appeal in memory of my niece Kelly Ross and The Caen Hill Community Farm. Kelly Ross, sadly died from cancer aged just 32, and a tribute fund was set up in her name to raise money for the RUH where she was treated.

“We’ve raised this amount by organising events throughout the year for our members. Highlights include the Ladies Festival, which took place at Blunsdon House Hotel, a skittles evening, quizzes, ghost walks and treasure hunt raffles. At these events prizes were donated, so we’d like to thank everyone for their support.”

South of Devizes, members of the Longleat Lodge in Warminster have been helping fundraise for the Radiotherapy department at the RUH. Worshipful Master Bill said:

“Dirk Pinnell and I have undergone Radiotherapy for Cancer whilst in office as Worshipful Master so I decided that I would raise money for the Radiotherapy Department as one of my chosen charities this year. I had great pleasure in presenting a further cheque from the Lodge for £750 having already presented one for £1,100 in January this year and I’m delighted that it will go towards funding equipment for patients.”

Radiotherapy cheque donation resized

Jan said: “Every year we are amazed by the generosity of our supporters who help the hospital in difficult ways. This kind of support enables staff to deliver the very best care for their patients at the RUH.

“We are especially humbled by the continuous support of families and friends who set up a Forever Fund through the Appeal in memory of their loved ones and continue to fundraise time and time again in their honour. Kelly’s Forever Fund has continued to grow each year and over £15,000 has been raised towards the care of patients treated for cancer at the RUH.”

If you are interested in setting up a Tribute Fund to celebrate a loved one’s life and keep their memory alive, please click here

Did you know – a Freemason is guided by three principles, Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth and a Freemasons’ Lodge will support a charitable organisation known to its members and where there is a special affinity; such as a group or cause which has helped a family member or friend. To find out about the Lodges which are part of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Wiltshire, click here

 

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Nic’s Story – Why Therapies Matter

Nic Noble explains why the RNHRD and Therapies Centre will mean so much to her…

“Nearly 18 years ago I had my beautiful daughter, Alice. My husband and I already had two boys; Jake, nine, and Lewis, seven. Little did I know or expect that three weeks later I would be in the Royal United Hospital with a deep vein thrombosis.

“The consultant gave me the medication I had to inject every morning and the thrombosis would be disbursed. Unfortunately as this was happening, the medication was slowly eating away my vertebrae. It was becoming increasingly difficult to pick up Alice, look after the boys, look after our home, and our business, as we are self-employed.

“By April, during the Easter holidays, I collapsed and was taken into the RUH. I was able to keep Alice with me in a side ward with the help of my mum, sister and mother-in-law. An MRI scan unveiled 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 at the RNHRD were fantastic, Dr Bhalla, the physios and the hydro therapists gave me the support I needed for my recovery.

“The following year my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer; after chemo and having both her breasts removed, she decided raising money would be the way for us to go! So she trained for the Bath Half and we trained to walk marathons. She did a wing walk and I shaved her hair. Then the cancer was found in her lungs and she explained to me it was my turn to run!

“We had also approached The Forever Friends Appeal about a walk we wanted to do around the hospital’s catchment area and Tim said yes. Our first walk was in 2006, raising £40,000. In 2007, I trained and completed the Bath Half and the London Marathon with Nessa’s relentless encouragement.

Nic and Ness resized

“Ness was very poorly around the time of the second walk but asked me to promise to carry on raising money for a new Cancer Centre. Sadly, in the November, Ness passed away, but her legacy lives on. The walks to date have raised over £300,000. Without the therapy at the RNHRD, I would never have been able to keep my last promise to Ness.

“The RNHRD and Therapies Centre will help so many more patients like me. At a time when you are frightened, in pain and need fantastic support, this new facility will provide a positive and nurturing environment.

“This is a wonderful project to provide bigger and better facilities that will help so many people in our community.”

Inspired by Nic’s story? If you would 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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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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Former RUH patient supports Cancer Care campaign

Former RUH patient Kevin Gullick is so grateful to staff at the Oncology Department for saving his life, that he’s donating 30 per cent of sales from his new book to the RUH Cancer Care campaign. His novel, Nelvik, Escape to Beulah Land, is a fantasy adventure. His personal story, ‘My thanks to the RUH for my new life’ is equally gripping – and has a happy ending too!

For website

I was admitted to the RUH for a routine biopsy on my throat on 30 December 2005 and on the 3 January 2006, I was diagnosed with having Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), an aggressive form of blood cancer.

I decided to receive a relatively new treatment plan (AML 15 Spanish Arm Protocol) and my intensive chemotherapy began on 6 January 2006 and was completed in May 2008.

Sadly, on 5 November 2007, I was once again diagnosed with a form of cancer, this time of the vocal cord. I was assured that this was an extremely early vocal carcino-ma which was eminently curable, but further investigation discovered that the carci-noma had aggressively grown significantly and it was not suitable to continue with the surgery to remove it. Therefore it was agreed that a treatment plan consisting of 35 sessions of radiotherapy and a different form of chemotherapy should be under-taken.

It was decided to discontinue my AML maintenance therapy to allow my body to re-cover and rest and build up my immune system before beginning treatment for my throat cancer. That began on 7 January 2008 and lasted for a period of seven weeks (35 sessions in total) and completed on 21 February 2008. Good news followed on in April where I was given the all-clear for the throat cancer.

A decision was made by Dr Charles Singer and his team in May 2008 not to reintro-duce the AML maintenance treatment as I had already completed two years’ treat-ment. It was a great relief to me and my family but I had to continue attending the hospital on various occasions to allow the Oncology department to take my blood and continue to analyse it for any anomalies. This continued until July 2011 when I was finally informed that there was no need to attend any further clinics.

Sadly my father died in RUH in 2010 due to cancer and in August 2011 I was once again admitted to the RUH to undergo surgery to have my Gall Bladder removed.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the personnel in the Oncology and ENT departments who paid attention to great detail in order to treat me and make my stay and visits to the RUH as comfortable as possible. In particular I would like to thank Senior Haematologist Consultant Dr Charles R J Singer, Dr Vinayak Tandon, Dr Philip Robson; Dr Sarah Wexler; and Specialist Research Nurse, Christine Cox.

I would also like to thank Professor Martin Birchall for his persistence and profes-sional dedication in discovering the root cause of my vocal hoarseness.

To Mr John Waldron FRCS Consultant Surgeon, who always made my wife and I welcome and at ease during his clinics and to Mr Arunesh Specialist Doctor and Mr Darren Pinder Consultant.

Without the tireless dedication and professional commitment by all those mentioned and many others, I would not be alive today. Please accept my sincere thanks and gratitude for saving my life. Today I enjoy spending time with my two grandchildren and without the RUH it would not be possible.

As a mark of our great respect and thanks to RUH, my wife and I have decided to work with the charity Forever Friends in a joint venture to raise funds for the hospital and the charity Green Valley Organics with the aim of fulfilling its vision and mission to work with poor farmers, widows and families in Uganda, East Africa.

Nelvik, Escape to Beulah Land is available online and in all Waterstone book stores. However in order for the Appeal to receive 30% of the book sales, please email kjgullick@sky.com and don’t forget to include the product code FFA30 when place your order.

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Charitable Trust buys life-saving equipment for the RUH

More lives are being saved at the RUH thanks to a new high-tech surgical imaging machine which has been funded by a local Charitable Trust.

The benefactor of the Trust, who wishes to remain anonymous, generously donated £56,000 to The Forever Friends Appeal, so they could buy the much-needed instrument called a BV Pulsera

It’s now in use in the RUH’s Gastroenterology department, which specialises in all aspects of the digestive system, including the upper and lower bowel, liver, and pancreas.  Its main purpose is to take and then display real-time imaging for a range of clinical procedures such as diagnosing and treating biliary and pancreatic cancer as well as gall stone disease. It also allows the operator to place stents across blockages in the oesophagus, and the first part of the small intestines and the colon.

 Tina Thresher, Endoscopy Ward Manager, RUH said:

“It’s a vast improvement on our present equipment. Since it’s been installed in our department it’s already saved two peoples’ lives, including a patient who was in Critical Care who needed a Gastroenterology procedure. As we had the BV Pulsera ready to use, all we had to do was coordinate staff and expertise.

“This surgical imaging instrument is truly lifesaving and we can’t extend our gratitude enough for such a generous donation.”

The BV Pulsera will not only be used for emergency cases, but also for scheduled procedures – and is now linked up to the RUH’s seminar room for use at regional training days to teach other clinicians how to do specialist procedures.

Ben Colleypriest, Consultant in Gastroenterology and Hepatology, RUH said:

“This is a vital piece of equipment that will change people’s lives on a weekly basis. The upgrade from our previous equipment is revolutionary. It has improved the quality of care we deliver to hundreds of patients and opens up new avenues of treatment. We are extremely grateful for the donation.”

 Edward Hassall, Trusts and Foundations Officer, The Forever Friends Appeal said:

“We’re thrilled to have received this generous support. It means a huge amount to the clinicians in the Gastroenterology Unit. Donations like this, which sit outside our major fundraising campaigns, make a huge difference in helping to support the delivery of high quality healthcare – as well as to save people’s lives. We’re extremely thankful for the kind gift.

“If you’re interested in making a donation to the RUH, we would be delighted to hear from you. To find out more click here.”

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