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16.10.17: Spread a Smile named best charity at The Sun's health awards

Spread a Smile Who Cares Wins 2One of Imperial Health Charity’s partner organisations has been recognised for its work with seriously ill children, taking home an award at The Sun’s inaugural Who Cares Wins Awards last week.

Spread a Smile was presented with the Best Charity award by The Sun’s agony aunt Deidre Sanders at a ceremony on Wednesday for brightening the days of sick children with entertainers. 

The awards, hosted by Lorraine Kelly, celebrated the unsung heroes across the health profession who excel in improving the lives of patients.

Imperial Health Charity has funded Spread a Smile’s regular visits to St Mary's Hospital since 2016, where musicians, face painters, fairies and therapy dogs provide fun and games to keep kids calm and entertained in what can be a frightening situation.

Spread a Smile’s co-founders, Josephine Segal and Vanessa Crocker, said: "We are completely thrilled, delighted and humbled to win the best charity award from The Sun and it's wonderful to get this recognition for our work."

"We don't cure these young people but we do have one simple mission - that is to make them smile for just a moment, to distract them from their pain and illness and make them feel like any other child.”

To find out more about Spread a Smile, watch The Sun’s video about their fantastic work or visit 

04.10.17: Artwork by Brian Eno comes to Hammersmith Hospital

IMG 7206Works by the acclaimed artist and musician, Brian Eno, have gone on display at Hammersmith Hospital.

Imperial Health Charity, which manages the art collection at all five Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust hospitals, has organised the installation of four vivid prints in the Nuclear Imaging Department.

The works focus on the possibility of light, with lenticular images giving an illusion of depth and animation. As you walk past, the forms within the work begin to move and the colours begin to intensify and fade, bringing the 2D work to life.

Lucy Zacaria, Head of Arts at the charity, said: “We’re really excited to be able to display Brian Eno’s work at Hammersmith Hospital. These striking prints are a fantastic addition to the charity’s art collection and have a tremendous impact on patients and staff alike, as well as transforming the hospital environment.”

“We’re grateful to Paul Stolper for helping to realise this installation and for generously donating one of the prints”.

The charity is a keen advocate of art in hospitals and manages a collection of over 2000 art works at the five Trust hospitals. A 2014 survey carried out by the charity revealed that 69% of patients credited the art collection with making them feel more relaxed in the hospital environment.

In addition to his prolific music career, Eno has exhibited internationally, including at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York and the Pompidou Centre in Paris. In 2009 he was invited to exhibit on the iconic sails of the Sydney Opera House in Australia.

To find out more about the charity’s art collection, visit

03.10.17: Schwartz Rounds giving staff a safe space to share and reflect

IMG 6597Working in a hospital environment comes with its own challenges, sometimes causing a huge emotional impact on staff.

That’s why Imperial Health Charity has been a keen supporter of the Schwartz Rounds, helping to fund regular sessions for staff to reflect on their experiences and help them process stressful situations in a calm, supportive environment.

The sessions, held at the three main Trust sites and part-funded by the charity, give staff an opportunity to share concerns and experiences and reflect on challenges they’ve faced. 

A recent Schwartz Round focused on the Grenfell Tower fire and featured staff who helped care for the victims.

Dr Anu Mitra, a Consultant emergency physician who was on duty in A&E as people from the fire were brought to St Mary’s, said: “I found it very helpful to hear stories of how others found it tough. It was reassuring to me to see that I wasn’t alone.”

“Although there were many people at the Schwartz Round it still felt very intimate and private, and so I felt comfortable sharing.”

The Rounds started at the Trust in June 2015 and have had more than 1,800 attendances. Staff feedback showed that 97% would recommend the Schwartz Rounds to a colleague and 83% felt they gained knowledge that would help them care for their patients.

Dr Neill Duncan, Consultant in Renal Medicine and Clinical Lead for the Schwartz Rounds, believes that the sessions can be particularly valuable in the wake of major incidents.

“The thing about the Grenfell Tower fire was that we feel very strongly that we’re part of the community of West London”, he said.

“You saw the families on the TV and the terrible pictures of the tower and you thought ‘that’s West London, those are our people!’ and those were the kinds of things that came out from this particularly impactful Round.”

“People feel engaged and have a sense of kinship that they’re part of a bigger whole; they feel valued and have a better level of understanding of each other. It’s very candid, people tell their story in a very open way and they open themselves very personally.”

Schwartz Rounds continue regularly on all main sites and welcome all staff, clinical and nonclinical, students and trainees, and healthcare colleagues working in neighbouring community settings.

The next scheduled sessions are:

Friday October 20 - St Mary's 3-4pm

Thurs November 9 - Hammersmith 3-4pm

Monday Nov 20 - Charing Cross 1-2pm

Monday Dec 4 - St Marys 1-2pm

For more information about the Schwartz Rounds, contact

02.10.17: Apply now to volunteer with Imperial Health Charity as a Hospital Host

Joan DonaldImperial Health Charity is on the lookout for friendly and compassionate volunteers to take up an important new role welcoming patients to our hospitals.

We are recruiting a team of volunteers to become Hospital Hosts at Charing Cross, Hammersmith, Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea, St Mary’s and the Western Eye hospitals.

As part of the role, volunteers will be the friendly first point of contact for patients and their families as they arrive in outpatient waiting areas.

The role involves providing information, assisting with directions and offering an ear to listen, helping visitors feel relaxed and reassured.

We are looking for individuals who can volunteer for between two and four hours on a week day, either weekly or fortnightly.

The Hospital Hosts will provide an essential extra level of support for NHS staff working in our busy outpatient waiting areas, which are used by patients who are attending hospital appointments without the need to stay overnight.

Matt Hatt, a Volunteer Manager at Imperial Health Charity, said: “Currently the Trust receives over 1 million outpatients per year, making these areas some of the busiest in the hospitals.

“We believe that volunteers can offer a huge amount of support to our patients, visitors and staff, providing up-to-date information as well as companionship and reassurance during a challenging time.”

Imperial Health Charity manages the volunteering programme at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, as well as supporting its five hospitals through grants, arts and fundraising.

Volunteers must be at least 18 years old to apply for the role. The deadline for applications is Monday 13 November.

To download the role description and application form, visit

26.09.17: IT Consultant trekking Mount Everest for St Mary's Intensive Care Unit

AndyReynoldsAn IT Consultant whose brother was involved in a serious road accident will take part in an intense trek through the Everest region to raise money for the Intensive Care Unit at St Mary’s.

Andy Reynolds' brother, Martin, was treated at the hospital after a motor scooter accident left him with serious injuries, including damage to his spinal cord and a fractured neck. After a gruelling 8-hour operation and several weeks on a ventilator, Martin is on the long road to recovery and his family is positive about the outcome.

Andy wants to repay the team that made such a huge difference and next month he’ll join the 18-day Everest Base Camp trek, reaching an altitude of 5546 metres and climbing five summits.

“It’s the first time I’ve done anything like this. It’s quite intense. I spent 3 hours in the gym this morning. I’m stepping up the training because there isn’t long to go.”

Every penny of the money raised will go to improving care in the ICU and some of it is earmarked for a piece of equipment that made a big difference to Martin.

“When Martin came off the ventilator from the tracheostomy his cough wasn’t strong enough to clear his lungs and that was causing problems,” said Andy.

His recovery was helped by a ‘coughing machine’ and some of the money raised will buy an additional one for the unit.

“It made a hell of a difference because it enabled me to cough without being assisted,” said Martin. “The only other way is to push your stomach but that can hurt after a while if you do it so many times. It helps, but they’re not cheap.”

“The level of care that Martin had from all of the staff was brilliant,” said Andy. “There have been good days and bad days but throughout that period the care and attention has been fantastic.”

Martin echoed his brother’s praise, saying: “The level of care has been absolutely unbelievable. I’m on first name terms with virtually all of the nurses and some of the doctors as well!”

If you’d like to sponsor Andy, you can visit

11.09.17: Find out more about Imperial Health Charity during Great Place to Work Week

IMG 2975NHS staff can find out how to get involved with Imperial Health Charity during Great Place to Work Week – a special event celebrating the many benefits of working for the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

We will be hosting several events throughout the week (September 25 - October 1) to give members of Trust staff the chance to learn more about our work across grants, arts, volunteering and fundraising.

A talk on Matisse by Graham Greenfield from the Royal Academy of Arts, a pub quiz at the Old Suffolk Punch in Hammersmith and drop-in sessions to help you apply for a grant are just a few of the events taking place during the week.

Imperial Health Charity is working with the Trust to deliver Great Place to Work Week, which will also include a daily roadshow featuring a range of stalls and activities.

Where can I find the charity?

Come and visit our stall to pick up our latest newsletter and a free charity goody bag. You can find us at the following locations between 11am and 3pm:

Monday 25 September – W12 Conference Centre, Hammersmith Hospital

Tuesday 26 September – outside the Paterson Centre, St Mary’s Hospital

Wednesday 27 September – 3rd Floor seminar room, Western Eye Hospital

Thursday 28 September – Charing Cross Sports Club, Charing Cross Hospital

What else can I do?

  • Interested in the arts? Attend our Matisse in the Studio talk by Graham Greenfield from the Royal Academy of Arts. The talk takes place on Tuesday 26 September at the Cockburn Lecture Theatre at St Mary’s Hospital, starting at 5pm. Turn up on the day or to guarantee your place, RSVP to or call 020 3857 9843.
  • Find out how to apply for a grant from the charity to support your ward or department. We fund a range of healthcare projects across the Trust, from major redevelopments to small improvements on the wards. Our grants team will be holding a drop-in session at the charity’s stall between 12.30pm and 1.30pm on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday at the locations listed above.
  • Take part in our Pride In Your Trust photo competition for a chance to win box tickets to see Symphonic Queen at the Royal Albert Hall on Friday 6 October. Download and print our poster from The Source or pick one up from our charity stall and write on it what makes you proud to work for the Trust. Take a picture of yourself holding the poster and post it in a tweet, including the hashtag #ImperialGreatPlacetoWork. We’ll choose the winner at the end of the week. Make sure you follow @ImperialCharity so we can contact you if you’ve won.

07.09.17: Blood Cancer Awareness Month: Meet David Memory

David Memory CroppedSeptember is Blood Cancer Awareness Month, highlighting the challenges facing those affected by the condition and what can be done to help them.

We’re proud to support the haematology department at Hammersmith Hospital through the Blood Fund which aims to raise £250,000 for research and care for patients with a wide variety of blood disorders.

A key goal for the fund is to increase the number of Clinical Nurse Specialists who provide emotional and psychosocial support, as well as expert advice in specific diseases. David Memory, who has multiple myeloma, joined the Blood Fund committee after experiencing first-hand how much of a difference they make.

“I was in hospital for a stem cell transplant,” said David. “It’s a very scary sounding operation but I was lucky enough to have a Clinical Nurse Specialist.”

“For somebody who hasn’t been very involved in hospitals and operations it was quite a nerve-wracking thought. Having somebody spending as much time as I needed to explain what was going to happen was a massive comfort and help. They made it sound like there was really nothing to worry about.”

David’s experiences have been echoed nationwide. A 2014 survey of cancer patients identified access to a named Clinical Nurse Specialist as the number one indicator of a positive patient experience.

Since then, David has made the most of his experience and is an active part of the committee. He’s taken part in collections and helped organise an upcoming golf day auction to raise money for the fund.

“I think the aims of the Blood Fund are excellent. It’s nice to not only be able to help raise funds but also to have an influence on what they’re spent on.”

To find out more about the Blood Fund and how you can help, visit

06.09.17: Former model 'brought back to life' by medics at St Mary's Hospital

Tyrell pic1A former model who was left unable to walk, talk, eat or drink following a horrific car crash is to take part in a gruelling endurance challenge for Imperial Health Charity after being saved by medics at St Mary’s Hospital.

Tyrell Todd modelled for GQ and Italian Vogue before suffering catastrophic injuries in the near-fatal crash in January 2015.

He suffered a major bleed inside his brain and had part of his skull removed in a life-saving operation at the hospital.

Tyrell then spent four weeks in a coma and another three months recovering in a hospital bed before he could begin his rehabilitation.

Less than three years later, however, Tyrell is taking on the Tough Mudder – a 12-mile obstacle course through overgrown woodlands and thick, muddy bogs.

The 23-year-old, who previously modelled at the London, Paris and New York Fashion Weeks, has entered the event to raise money for Imperial Health Charity, which supports St Mary’s and the four other hospitals of the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

“My speech is still slurred and my concentration levels are not good, but I am trying to move past those difficulties and do something for my kids and the hospital staff who saved my life,” said Tyrell.

“I feel like I am ready to go ahead and do it. It will be nothing compared to what I went through before.”

Tyrell was in the passenger seat of a friend’s car in Potter’s Bar when it spun off the road and struck a tree.

He was rushed to St Mary’s and taken into theatre, where surgeons cut out a section of his skull to treat a large bleed inside his brain. When he eventually woke from an induced coma, he could no longer walk or talk and was being fed through a tube.

“I was moved to the intensive care unit where I was placed on a ventilator and fighting for my life,” he added. “The odds of me surviving the crash were slim to none and my family was losing hope.

“However, the surgery was a success and after spending four weeks in a coma I came through. Ever since then I have wanted to find a way to say how much I appreciate the amazing team of doctors and nurses and all the staff at the Major Trauma Centre who were so dedicated to looking after me.”

Tyrell, who lives in Sudbury, Suffolk, has not been able to work since the crash and now receives care at home five days a week. His rehabilitation is ongoing.

“At first I could not remember anything,” he added. “It took me a month to remember that I had two kids. It was a scary process. I had to put my life back together from people telling me bits and pieces. I’m still not used to it but I’m just grateful to have been given a second chance at life.”

Tyrell had regular physio and speech therapy sessions at St Mary’s following the operation – crucial first steps that eventually enabled him to walk and talk again.

He aims to raise £1,500 for the charity by taking on the Tough Mudder in Faygate, West Sussex, on 23 September. The charity will make sure all the money he raises goes straight back to the Major Trauma Centre at St Mary’s.

He added: “I want to show the staff at St Mary’s how far I have come over the last two and a half years and to prove to them that their efforts have not gone unnoticed. They basically brought me back to life and I want them to see what their work has achieved.

“Hopefully, this money can also enable them to provide the same level of care to other people who end up in the same terrible situation as me."

If you would like to sponsor Tyrell, you can visit

04.09.17: Ironman challenge in sight for fundraising journalist whose daughter was born premature

Mark Nicol picA top journalist whose daughter was born prematurely at Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea Hospital is to run, cycle and swim more than 140 miles to raise money for Imperial Health Charity.

Mark Nicol, Defence Correspondent at the Mail on Sunday, will swap the newsroom for the tough terrain of the Ironman challenge to repay the neonatal team who brought little Isabella safely into the world.

Mark’s wife Zoe spent more than a fortnight in hospital before doctors eventually removed baby Isabella by caesarean at 32 weeks and five days.

She weighed only five lbs at birth and lost more weight during her first few days, requiring breathing assistance through a gas mask.

Mark was so impressed by the care and compassion shown by the staff that he decided to give back to the hospital by raising money for Imperial Health Charity at the Ironman Wales event on 10 September.

The gruelling challenge begins with a 2.4-mile sea swim followed by a 112-mile bike ride and rounded off with a full marathon on foot. Avoiding injuries, Mark expects to complete the challenge in around 13 hours.

Imperial Health Charity will ensure that all the money Mark raises will be put straight back into improving the hospital experience for other patients visiting the neonatal unit at Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea.

“The events I’ve done in the past have been about half this distance, so it has certainly been demanding on the training front,” he said.

“I was always planning to do the Ironman, but I didn’t have a strong feeling about sponsorship until our experience with Isabella. Now I’m full of motivation to give something back to the hospital.”

Isabella was born pre-term by around seven weeks, so her condition had to be carefully managed.

Doctors had managed to extend the pregnancy by about 10 days after Zoe arrived in hospital, giving Isabella the best possible chance of survival.

Both Mark and Zoe were grateful for the professionalism and kindness of the staff who helped them through the birth.

“It was the combination of compassion and professional capability that was so impressive,” Mark added.

“The staff were intelligent, thoughtful and highly communicative, which is incredibly important at a difficult time like that.”

Zoe gave birth to the couple’s first child, Rory, at Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea in April 2016, so they knew they were in safe hands despite the complications with Isabella.

Now at one month old Isabella is recovering well, putting on weight and feeding normally.

“It was a hard week for myself and Zoe but it was made so much easier because of the quality of the people who were around us,” Mark added.

“This will be my first full Ironman and obviously my training has been compromised slightly by what has happened, but my motivation is higher than ever.”

If you would like to sponsor Mark, you can visit

Charity Week: The Staff Arts Club visits Frieze Art Fair

Thanks to Imperial College Healthcare Charity’s Staff Arts Club, a group of lucky Trust staff enjoyed a very special day at the Frieze London art fair recently.

The hugely successful Staff Arts Club is run by Imperial College Healthcare Charity and offers Trust staff free access to paid exhibitions at several of London’s most popular galleries, including the V&A, Tate Modern and the Royal Academy, as well as exclusive chances to win tickets to events such as Frieze London.

The renowned international contemporary art fair takes place annually in an enormous temporary structure in Regent’s Park, and the special day included an artist-led guided tour of the fair highlighting some of the key galleries and artworks on display. 

Staff Arts Club member Craig Wah Day, who works as an e-commerce assistant at St Mary’s Hospital, said: It was a fantastic day. The tour was really informative, the guide was lovely and it was nice to learn about the art in more detail, something that would’ve been lost if you were just walking around. I had no idea a lot of art on sale will only be seen there and people travel from all over the world for it.”

Macmillan Clinical Nurse Specialist, Suzanne Vizor, said: ‘It was nice to be introduced to the Frieze by a knowledgeable working artist as our guide. Her insight was invaluable making the day a fantastic experience, so  thank you to the charity.’

The Staff Arts Club started less than 18 months ago and now has more than 1600 members. Previous Staff Arts Club events this year include an exclusive curator’s talk at St Mary’s Hospital on sell-out exhibition Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse at the Royal Academy, a private curator’s tour of the V&A’s Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear, plus numerous opportunities to go to private views at these museums and galleries.

Lucy Zacaria, head of arts at Imperial College Healthcare Charity, said “So many members of Trust staff have fed back to us about how much they enjoy being able to visit so many different galleries and exhibition which would normally cost a lot of money. The Staff Arts Club’s popularity has continued to grow this year and we’re really excited that we can continue to bring new and unique creative experiences to hospital staff.”

The Staff Arts Club is free to join if you are a member of Trust staff. You can sign up on the charity’s website:

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