01225 825691
forever.friends@nhs.net

RNHRD and Therapies Centre

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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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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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 RNHRD and Therapies Centre information & tour event

The RUH is holding an information and tour event for people interested in finding out about the new purpose-built RNHRD and Therapies Centre which will be located close to the main entrance of the RUH.

The event will take place in the Therapies Department at the RUH on Thursday 17 August and will start at 6pm, finishing at 7:30pm. It’s open to everyone including people who have already made a donation towards the RNHRD and Therapies Centre Campaign.

RUH therapists and clinicians will host the information evening and will share the vision of the new RNHRD and Therapies Centre which has been designed in conjunction with patients and clinicians.

The RNHRD & Therapies Centre

Gina Sargeant, Head of Therapies at the RUH said:

“We hope to welcome as many people as possible who have interest in the new centre and supporting us. At the event, you’ll find out about our exciting RNHRD and Therapies Centre, its progress as part of the hospital’s redevelopment programme, as well as have a tour around our existing therapies department. You’ll learn how patients in the future will benefit from being treated in a patient-centred environment that is essential for supporting their healing process.

“We know that approximately over 75,000 patients will visit this new building every year to access our range of services and every patient is important as the next. Whether they visit once or twice for an acute sports injury, need a course of treatment, such as after a heart attack they’d have cardiac rehabilitation or come regularly to learn self-management of their condition, this new centre will offer something for every RUH patient journey.”

The new building will bring together many of the services currently located at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD and in RUH North, namely rheumatology, therapies and pain management services under one roof.

Gina said:

“Come to this event and our therapists will talk about the dedicated specialist facilities which will be provided in the new RNHRD and Therapies Centre. You will also hear about our fundraising campaign run by our hospital charity, The Forever Friends Appeal and find out about the ‘Match Funding Challenge’ set up by the Brownsword Charitable Foundation to help raise the £2m towards the total cost of the building.”

Information about the variety of events organised by The Forever Friends Appeal will also be available for people who want to help raise funds towards the new centre.

Interested in attending this event? Call Alix on 01225 825931 or email alixramelli@nhs.net to reserve your seat. Alternatively, for more information about the RNHRD and Therapies Centre click here

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