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29/11/16: Duos gruelling challenge for the Blood Fund

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“The first day was terrifying,” said Scott Soithongsuk of his attempt to climb ‘The Nose’, an infamous kilometre high cliff face on the mountain El Capitan in support of our charity’s Blood Fund.

Scott has a blood cancer known as chronic myeloid leukaemia, which means climbing and any physical activity is much tougher than usual. He manages the condition through daily medication.

Last month he and his partner Jo Robbings travelled to Yosemite National Park in California to attempt the daring climb as a thank you to the cancer care Scott received at Hammersmith Hospital.

Their gruelling three day climb involved sleeping each night in the open on rock ledges, and carrying all of their food and equipment as they went along. To warm up for the big event, Scott and Jo tried another climb which itself meant a total of 24 hours hiking and an elevation of more than 1400m to get to the start point.

Scott said: “Our calves and quads were just shattered afterwards.  It took four days to recover, which was when we decided to take on the big challenge.

“An hour into the big climb, I started to question what I was doing. It was physically hard and equally scary. Our equipment, food and sleeping gear weighed around 60 kilograms on its own, not to mention our sleeping ledge and climbing gear.

“It was a real struggle to get it up between the pitches. The nights were around the freezing mark, with daytime temperatures hitting the mid-twenties, along with strong icy gusts of wind. After three days we were battered, weary and nearing our limits.

“As the sun was setting on that third day, we looked at our position on the map and realised we weren’t even half way. We had to make a call at that point. With only a day's worth of supplies left and knowing that every pitch we climbed up would mean one more pitch to come down, we decided to bail on the attempt. It was a sad and difficult moment, but I think we gave it our all at that point.”

The £500 the pair have raised is going towards our Blood Fund, which supports the work of the department of haematology at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

Scott said: “I think in two or three years, we'll attempt to climb it again. I’ll need to be in a better state physically, which I'm sure I will be. The climb is not to be underestimated, but the experience we gained from being there was invaluable. Next time, I know exactly what to expect!”

Thank you Scott and Jo for all of your amazing efforts! You can still sponsor the two of them at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/scojo-imperial 

11/11/16: Charity Week - Fundraising for your department

Karen McArtney and Suzy LeavesIn the past 12 months, staff from 18 departments have raised a total of £23,731 that has gone back to their unit or ward.

Raising funds for your department is easier than you think, and Imperial College Healthcare Charity is here to help. Over the past year we’ve had staff take part in treks, sky dives, marathons, hold bake sales and coffee mornings all in aid of their department.

At the start of the month, the department of haematology officially launched its charitable Blood Fund and aims to raise £250,000 over an 18-month period. About £60,000 has been raised since April, thanks to a combination of passionate fundraisers, many of whom have been grateful patients treated by the department as well as staff.

Earlier in the year Karen McArtney, a midwife at Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea and Suzy Leaves, a nursery nurse at St Mary’s, walked 26 miles from Rickmansworth to Camden Lock. They raised an incredible £1600 for the Teardrop Fund, which is used for the upkeep of a dedicated room where bereaved parents can spend time with their stillborn baby.

Laura Kell, head of community fundraising at Imperial College Healthcare Charity, said: “It’s really exciting seeing the increase in staff and patients getting involved and fundraising for their ward, but it’s equally important grateful patients know they can make a donation or fundraise too.

“We have a range of donation leaflets and literature which can be passed onto grateful patients, so please get in touch if you’d like some.”

Patients can also make online donations on the charity’s website www.imperialcharity.org.uk

Upcoming events include Santa in the City (4 December 2016), the charity abseil (26 April 2017), skydiving (14 May) and the popular British 10K race in July 2017.

To fundraise for your department, contact Lauren Levy by emailing lauren.levy@imperial.nhs.uk or phoning 020 331 25694.

11/11/16: Charity Week - Offering staff a chance to reflect

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Giving staff a place where they can reflect on the personal, social and emotional aspects of working at the Trust is hugely important.

That’s why Imperial College Healthcare Charity has been funding the Schwartz Rounds sessions since spring 2016. They take place every one to two months and rotate between St Mary’s, Hammersmith and Charing Cross hospitals and are attended by a broad mix of doctors, nurses, therapy staff, clerical and management staff.

More than 800 members of staff have attended Schwartz Rounds sessions so far, with nine in ten who gave feedback saying they had gained a greater sense of self-awareness and an insight into how others care for their patients.

Schwartz Rounds give staff a unique opportunity to come together and share the non-clinical challenges and rewards that are intrinsic to caring. The format of having a multi-disciplinary panel present on their personal experiences of a shared case before audience discussion has been working really well.

Dr Alex King, consultant clinical psychologist and project lead for Schwartz Rounds, said: “For staff to be the best they can be, it’s important that they’re looked after and feel supported.

“People say they get a sense of community coming to the sessions and it’s good to know that they’re not alone in feeling the impact of this work. Others say Schwartz Rounds gives them time to reconnect to their values and remember what person-centred care is all about.”

“We are very grateful for the funding and advice we’ve had from the charity. They enabled us to better promote the programme, strengthen our evaluation and provide lunch for attendees as a token of appreciation by the organisation,” said Dr King.

For upcoming dates and more information on Schwartz Rounds, visit http://source/schwartzrounds/index.htm.

For more information about the charity’s grants programmes available to staff, visit www.imperialcharity.org.uk/grants

 

11/11/16: Charity Week - Here for patients during their hardest times

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Imperial College Healthcare Charity manages the Dresden Hardship Fund, which supports patients and families across the Trust who are experiencing extreme financial difficulty as a result of their time in hospital. 

Up to £2,000 is available for things like unexpected travel costs, accommodation, funeral costs, baby care essentials, clothes and utility bills. 

More than £86,100 has been awarded to 125 patients or their family members since 2010. 

Ian Lush, chief executive of Imperial College Healthcare Charity, said: “The fund can make a huge difference to patients and families when they may be facing some of the most potentially difficult times of their lives. People simply don’t expect to have a major accident, have to rush a loved one to hospital or to bring their child into the children’s intensive care unit. 

“When they do and face those hardships, we’re here to help. The Dresden Fund is arguably one of the most important awards programmes that we have, as the impact of even a relatively small grant is immediate, particularly as we can usually turn an application round in less than 24 hours.”

Staff can apply for funding on behalf of patients who have not previously received a hardship grant from the charity. For full details, visit the charity’s website at http://www.imperialcharity.org.uk/dresden-fund 

 

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: http://www.imperialcharity.org.uk/art-collections/staff-arts-club

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