August 2016


August news

30/08/16: Enfield man thanks children's intensive care unit by fundraising for appeal

James Beckett abseilAn Enfield man has helped a £2 million appeal in aid of the children's intensive care unit that saved his life to reach the half-way mark.

The St Mary's Hospital More Smiles Appeal, which has received support from the Duchess of Cambridge, aims to create a bigger, state-of-the-art unit at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington.

Among the people who have helped raise £1 million so far are former patient James Beckett and his father David, who abseiled 10-storeys down the hospital to raise a total of £630 between them.

James, now 28, said: "I owe my life to the children's intensive care unit at St Mary's Hospital and I am so pleased to have helped the appeal reach £1 million. I owe them all so much, as do so many other patients that have passed through the hospital."

James was ten-years-old when he was treated at the hospital after he came down with a very serious case of meningococcal septicaemia.

"I remember feeling very weak one morning before school - I couldn't even walk or speak. The last thing I remember is my mum taking me to the doctors but after that everything becomes a blur," he said.

"I was rushed to hospital in an ambulance and I have seen photos of myself with tubes and wires everywhere. The next thing I remember is waking up and the staff treating me really well while I was recovering.

"As I've grown older I've tried to live life to the full, enjoying every day and every opportunity that comes my way and not waste what everyone in the children's intensive care unit at St Mary's Hospital has done for me."

James has also cycled from London to Paris to raise money for the unit, as well as competing in the Paris and Vienna marathons.

The St Mary's Hospital More Smiles Appeal, led by Imperial College Healthcare Charity and COSMIC, is looking to raise at least £2 million towards a £10 million project to create a bigger, state-of-the-art children's intensive care unit. The remainder of the costs are to be funded by the Trust and Imperial College Healthcare Charity.

Every year, around 400 patients are cared for in the Children's Intensive Care Unit at St Mary's but it also turns away hundreds more critically ill children because it does not have enough beds. This means children sometimes have to travel as far afield as Birmingham for treatment. In 2014, the unit had to turn away 233 children, more than half the number admitted.

The redeveloped unit will have 15 beds, almost doubling the current number, allowing more than 200 extra children to be cared for each year. There will also be new equipment, a dedicated parents' room and a private room allowing space for doctors and nurses to provide emotional support and care to families whose children are very seriously ill.

Currently, the eight-bedded unit treats a range of medical, surgical and trauma patients. It is a world leader in the understanding and treatment of serious infections in children including meningitis and septicaemia, as well as specialising in other life-threatening conditions such as seizures, asthma, sickle cell disease, severe injuries and helping children recover after major surgery.

Around 7,000 children, from newborn to 18 years old, have been treated at St Mary's Hospital Children's Intensive Care Unit since it opened. Patients have come from all over the country including as far afield as Devon, Jersey and Northern Ireland. However, the once modern facility has aged and staff and patients are now in desperate need of more space, more beds and up-to-date facilities.

Dr Simon Nadel, children's intensive care unit consultant and clinical lead, said: "We are delighted to have reached this milestone in the More Smiles Appeal and would like to thank the generosity of all those who have brought us this far. To know we are half-way towards realising our ambition of being able to give exceptional care to more children and their families is truly exciting. However, there is still a long way to go. We cannot do this without the continued support of the public."

Josephine Watterson, director of fundraising and communications for the More Smiles Appeal, said: "We are exceptionally grateful to the public who have given so generously to the More Smiles Appeal. Their donations will help save many lives in the future. But we are only half-way there and we will be continuing our efforts to secure the support we need to reach our target. There are so many ways to get involved and over the summer there will be a series of public events where people can make a donation. Every penny can make a difference."

There are five general children's intensive care units in London and 25 in the UK.

To find out more about the St Mary's Hospital More Smiles Appeal, visit

05/08/16: Blog: We need to show why NHS charities are crucial to the nation's health

blogThe charity's communications manager Bevis Man recently wrote a blog piece for the Trust's website about why NHS charities matter.

Did you know that NHS charities contribute an additional £321 million of funding to hospitals and trusts across the UK every year? It's a huge amount, and it's down to these charities to tell the public the impact they have on hospitals and on patients.

Read more about the importance of NHS charities and why we ought to work closer together when it comes to showing our impact here

03/08/16: Paddington Bear author meets young St Mary's Hospital patients

IMG 2183Children at St Mary's Hospital have been treated to a visit from Paddington Bear author Michael Bond CBE.

The 90-year-old and his wife visited the hospital in Paddington to donate dozens of his books to the hospital and sign copies for some of the children to take home.

He also answered questions from the young patients and they discovered that, like his much-loved character, he is a huge fan of marmalade and has it on his toast every morning.

Mr Bond said: "It has been brilliant to meet the children and see them enjoying my books. I never could have imagined that Paddington would be enjoyed for so many generations when I first started writing them and it is marvellous to see that he is still so loved.

"I really enjoyed the film adaptation - we went to see it in the cinema three times. It couldn't have been any better."

The children also found out that the character is named after Mr Bond's favourite station before a play specialist at the hospital read to the crowd from one of the books.

The event on Friday (29 July) was organised by Imperial College Healthcare Charity, which raises money for equipment, research and projects in the children's department at St Mary's Hospital. The charity supports wards and departments across the five hospitals of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

Josephine Watterson, the charity's fundraising and communications director, said: "The children were so excited to meet Mr Bond and it was wonderful to see so many smiling faces. We would like to say a huge thank you to him and his wife for taking the time to visit us and donate the books. Their support means so much to everyone at St Mary's Hospital."

01/08/16: RideLondon cyclists raise more than £8,000

RideLondon picPedal power has helped to raise more than £8,000 for wards and departments across the Trust.

A team of 16 riders took part in Prudential RideLondon – Surrey 100 last weekend, and a special shout out goes to Richard Potter who completed the 100-mile course in just four hours and 36 minutes. 

Some of the charity's riders were raising money for the More Smiles Appeal, which looks to raise at least £2 million for the redevelopment and expansion of the children’s intensive care unit at St Mary’s Hospital. Others took part for the development of the major trauma centre at St Mary’s which will help improve the rehabilitation patient experience. 

Laura Watts, head of community and events fundraising at the charity, said: “With a combined total of 1592 miles between them, we think this is an amazing achievement. We’re really proud of our riders who completed such an incredible challenge and raised a fantastic amount for the charity.” 

The riders looked the part in their special Imperial College Healthcare Charity tops, and even got their 15 seconds of fame on the BBC. You can view the clip (at about 5:50) by clicking here.

If you’d like to take part in something amazing while supporting a specific ward or department at the Trust, click here.

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