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Therapies Matter

Ed Jackson climbs Mount Everest…at home

Inspired by Captain Tom Moore who has raised millions for NHS Charities Together, Ed Jackson, former professional rugby player has set out to raise £10,000 for our charity and two others by climbing the equivalent of Mount Everest on his parents’ staircase.

We are in awe of what he’s set out to do and we wish him the best of luck with this challenge as we know Ed well. He was cared for at the RUH three years ago following an accident which left him with a broken neck. At the time he was told that he may not walk again, but after a gruelling recovery and rehabilitation at three different hospitals including the RUH, he made an amazing recovery and became one of our Therapies Matters ambassadors.

Ed said: “I managed to ditch the walker two years ago and despite my disability I have developed a weird obsession with climbing and I hope to be the first quadriplegic to climb Mount Everest. Obviously I can’t get to the mountains but I’ve decided to bring one here. I’m not really sure how much I’ve bitten off but those of you who have seen any of my climbing blogs before will know that thanks to my disability stairs are my nemesis.”

During the four day challenge, which started today (Tuesday 21 April), Ed will wear of the kit that he will take with him when he is able to travel to the Himalayas and will walk up and down the staircase 2,783 times, that’s 89,000 sets of individual steps.

Ed continued: “The money raised will be shared with The Forever Friends Appeal in support of the NHS. The incredible people of the NHS saved my life and got me back on my feet three years ago and now they’re making that difference for many more.

“Any donation no matter how small is massively appreciated because all of our charities need support at the moment and I hope together we can raise enough to make a real difference for these three.”

The other two charities that are close to Ed’s heart and will also receive a share of the funds are Wings for Life Spinal Cord Research Foundation and the Neverest Orthopaedics Foundation.

Ed hopes to finish the challenge around 6pm on Friday 24 April and we’ll be there to help him complete the last few flights of stairs.

If you would like to show your support to Ed, donations can be made at https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/edjackson8

You can stay up to date with Ed’s progress by following him on Twitter and on Instagram.

 

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HRH The Duchess of Cornwall officially opens the new RNHRD and Brownsword Therapies Centre

Staff, patients and guests celebrated the official opening today (Tuesday 22 October) by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, of the new RNHRD and Brownsword Therapies Centre at the RUH.

The Duchess, President of the Royal Osteoporosis Society and Patron of Versus Arthritis, was given a guided tour of the new £20m purpose-built Centre and shown some of its facilities, including the hydrotherapy pool, specialist treatment areas and physiotherapy gyms.

James Scott, Chief Executive of the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We were delighted to welcome Her Royal Highness here again. She has a long association with the Trust as well as being a former patron of the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases. The Duchess is a great supporter of our work and we were very proud to show her the wonderful new facilities we have created here.”

The Duchess was accompanied on her visit by Trust Chair Alison Ryan.  She was introduced to local entrepreneurs Andrew and Christina Brownsword, whose £1m Match Funding Challenge has enabled the hospital charity, The Forever Friends Appeal, to raise  £2m towards the overall cost of the new Centre, with every donation doubled by the Brownsword scheme.

The RNHRD and Brownsword Therapies  Centre brings together therapies and pain services located at the RUH with many of the services previously  located at the RNHRD’s Mineral Water Hospital site, known locally as the ‘Min.’

Uniting staff and services together on one site has been many years in the planning, and the RUH has worked closely with patients and staff to design the best new home for services relocating from the Min.

The Duchess also attended a reception to celebrate the 20th anniversary of The Forever Friends Appeal and its raising of over £25m for patient services at the RUH.  She met with donors and volunteers and unveiled plaques to mark the event and officially open the new Centre.

During the reception The Duchess said: “As a past patron of the Min it’s lovely to be able to come here and see what has been done for the new Centre. I’m incredibly impressed by everything – the hydrotherapy pool looked extremely tempting! There seem to be a lot of very happy patients and it has a very welcoming atmosphere. I know that all of you here do so much to raise money for this hospital…so thank you for contributing to this wonderful new building.”

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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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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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