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23.01.18: MS patient back on his feet after years in a wheelchair

IMG 20180109 144908471 BURST000 COVER TOPAfter spending more than a decade in a wheelchair, Roy Palmer walked back into Hammersmith Hospital to thank the team that helped him regain the use of his legs.

Roy was diagnosed with MS in 2003 after experiencing tingling in his legs and lost the ability to walk soon after.

After watching a documentary about stem cell transplants for people with his condition, Roy contacted the Trust and in October he found himself undergoing the procedure at Hammersmith Hospital. The transplant was a success and over the following weeks Roy started to walk again.

“To have had this treatment is just amazing,” said Roy. “I can’t describe what I feel like inside. I sent my best man a video and he was crying his eyes out and saying that it’s a miracle.”

“The staff were amazing and they treat you like a human being. The nurses who looked after me were such a laugh. They kept me in high spirits and we’re planning on running a marathon together.”

Roy says that the transplant has completely changed his life, even enabling him to fulfil his ambition of volunteering with the police force.

To thank the team that made this possible, Roy’s friends and family came together and raised £1,100 for The Blood Fund, supporting the haematology department at Hammersmith Hospital.

Every penny raised for the fund goes back to improving care for patients with a variety of blood disorders and treatments. To find out more about The Blood Fund, visit www.imperialcharity.org.uk/fundraising2/the-blood-fund

09.01.18: Model patient helps train nurses

IMG 1201Nurses in the paediatric team at St Mary’s Hospital are being supported in their development and learning to look after patients who require vascular access – thanks to a life-like model patient.

Charity funding has paid for a ‘Chester Chest’ doll, enabling hospital staff to develop their knowledge of the human body.

The life-size training tool, with a detachable right arm, replicates the proportions of a typical human torso and offers a unique opportunity for nurses to learn about the network of veins that carry blood around the body.

Claire Murphy, a clinical nurse educator based on the Great Western Ward at St Mary’s, secured an £850 charity grant to purchase the doll.

“The Chester Chest model is very popular with our staff as well as our patients, who have also been using the doll to better understand vascular access,” she said.

“We are extremely grateful to Imperial Health Charity for supporting this project which will help us continue to provide the highest quality education for our nurses.”

Are you a member of staff at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust? To find out more about applying for a grant from Imperial Health Charity, visit www.imperialcharity.org.uk/grants

03.01.18: Charity helping break barriers for patients with FGM

FGM teamPatients who have undergone female genital mutilation are receiving greater care and learning more about the practice thanks to a charity grant to improve the Trust’s FGM services.

Funding from Imperial Health Charity has enabled specialists, including counsellors, a midwife and a Somali-speaking health advocate to raise awareness about FGM and engage with families to stop the practice being carried out. The team are also setting up patient support groups to help them cope with the psychological impact and providing 1-1 support for those who are particularly traumatised.

Juliet Albert, Specialist FGM Midwife at the Trust, believes one of the biggest challenges is breaking the taboo and getting people to open up about it.

“Imagine you came from a country where maybe in school they never talked about your anatomy. For some of the women we see, it’s the first time they’ve ever talked about it before so there is still a real silence around FGM.”

“It’s very traumatic and talking about it for the first time can bring back a lot of memories that they’ve had to suppress.”

Because it’s rarely talked about, a lot of people don’t know enough about the practice or the detrimental effect it can have on their health. FGM can cause recurring pain, infections, infertility and incontinence. It increases the risk of complications during pregnancy which can be life-threatening for both parent and baby.

The Trust has specialist FGM clinics based at the St Mary’s and Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea Hospitals and in 2016 Juliet’s team saw over 700 patients with FGM across both sites.

Having a Somali-speaking health advocate is particularly vital as Juliet estimates that 80% of the patients they see are Somali. Prior to the project, staff would need to book a translator which could present its own worries. Sometimes they wouldn’t turn up and other times they wouldn’t know enough about FGM to deal with it in a sensitive manner.

Juliet said: “The health advocate’s not just a translator but they’re somebody who’s from an FGM practising community as well, so they’re kind of a bridge between the clinicians, the healthcare professionals and the community.”

“There’s quite a big gap in understanding about FGM so you have to be quite sensitive to that but on the other hand we’ve got to be really clear about safeguarding girls."

For more information about FGM services at the Trust contact 077 3097 0738 or juliet.albert@nhs.net

30.11.17: Donate to the Wishing Tree Appeal and help families in crisis this Christmas

IMG 0752Imperial Health Charity has launched its Wishing Tree Appeal for Christmas 2017, raising money to support hospital patients and their families facing financial crisis this Christmas.

Every penny donated to this year's appeal will go towards the charity's hardship fund, which awards emergency grants to help patients and their loved ones.

The money we raise will be used to help cover household bills, food and clothing costs, as well as travel and accommodation fees so that friends and family can be there to offer much-needed support while patients are in hospital.

Last year the hardship fund awarded a total of £74,000 to help dozens of patients cover sudden and unexpected costs arising from their time in hospital.

Ian Lush, Chief Executive of Imperial Health Charity, said: "The hidden costs of supporting a loved one while they are staying in hospital can quickly stack up, making it extremely difficult simply to be together during this difficult time.

"Please dig deep and help us support patients and their families who are facing financial crisis this Christmas."

To make a donation towards the appeal, call 020 3640 7766, email fundraising@imperialcharity.org.uk or visit www.imperialcharity.org.uk   

You can also donate £5 to write a personal Christmas message, which we will hang from one of our Christmas Wishing Trees outside each of the Trust's hospitals - Charing Cross, Hammersmith, Queen Charlotte's & Chelsea, St Mary's and the Western Eye. Visit www.imperialcharity.org.uk for more information.

15.11.17: Creative course helps patients socialise and develop their artistic skills

IMG 8776Patients are becoming more confident in making art thanks to a creative course that helps them express themselves and get to know each other.

The monthly Art and Wellbeing Course, organised by Imperial Health Charity, features a variety of workshops, designed to help patients develop their artistic skills and enhance their wellbeing and recovery.

A recent workshop brought patients to the St Mary’s A&E to visit the new commissioned artworks by Emma Haworth and Chris Orr RA, before trying their hand creating their own landscapes using ink painting and collages.

Suzanne, one of the workshop regulars, believes initiatives like this can make a huge difference:

“I used to go to a lot of art classes but it’s been quite difficult since I was diagnosed with cancer. The course really helps and I find art therapeutic. I like to be part of a group and I like being instructed and being taken into bits of art that I haven’t done before.”

The workshops offer guidance for patients to help them gain confidence with different art styles. Suzanne believes the community that’s formed around the course is an equally important part of it:

“It’s now become a social thing as well. We’re able to relate to one another. A lot of us are struggling with life and our conditions. You don’t need to talk about it here but you understand that everybody is in a similar situation.”

Kate Pleydell, Arts Officer at the charity, said: “We’re delighted to offer this opportunity to patients. These workshops are a brilliant way for them to build their confidence, see wonderful works of art and do something surprising and stimulating in the hospital.”

“We often hear first-hand from staff and patients just how much of an impact art can have and this course is something that we’re extremely passionate about.”

The course takes place from 2-5pm on the first Saturday of each month with workshops held at Charing Cross, Hammersmith and St Mary’s Hospitals. Anyone interested in joining should contact the charity’s Arts team by emailing arts@imperialcharity.org.uk or phoning 020 3857 9843.

14.11.17: Runners make record time to help friend saved by pioneering stem cell therapy

runnersHitting the wall is a tough test for any runner - but when Dave Brown and Mark Raphael put themselves through the pain barrier at the Belfast Half Marathon, they had a special motivation to reach the finish line.

Dave and Mark completed the 13.1-mile challenge in support of their friend Jonathan Hamilton, who suffers from multiple sclerosis and recently underwent ground-breaking stem cell treatment at Hammersmith Hospital.

"Jonathan has had a challenging time as his condition has progressed," said Dave. "He has been in and out of hospital for consultations, treatment and recovery. Throughout this time he has spent extended periods away from home, his loved ones and his boys, Freddie and Harry."

Jonathan's condition affects his central nervous system. He has mobility problems and walks with to straighten his gait. He also suffers from poor vision, caused by damaged nerves in his brain and spinal cord.

Thanks to the outstanding care of experts at Hammersmith Hospital's haematology department, Jonathan is showing signs of improvement after undergoing stem cell therapy. He finds it easier to walk, is less fatigued and is more alert generally.

One of only a few dozen patients to have received a haemaopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) at Hammersmith, Jonathan is among the first to benefit from the new treatment.

The procedure involved transplanting a special type of stem cell extracted from Jonathan's own blood back into his body while his immune system was suppressed using chemotherapy.

Mark added: "Time will tell how successful this has been but the signs are positive. He is enjoying spending time with his family and he is growing stronger by the day."

To show their appreciation for the team which is helping Jonathan manage his condition, Dave and Mark set out to support The Blood Fund. The pair raised more than £5,000, breaking their own personal best times. 

Their contribution will help fund pioneering research at Hammersmith as well as improvements to the hospital environment for patients with blood disorders.

Inspired by Dave and Mark's story? Find out more about our exciting fundraising opportunities at www.imperialcharity.org.uk/fundraising-events

07.11.17: Mother completes cycle challenge to thank hospital staff who saved her son

ruby8A mother whose baby was saved by doctors at Queen Charlotte's & Chelsea Hospital has raised more than £2,000 for Imperial Health Charity by completing a 35-mile cycling challenge.

Ruby Danowski had experienced a normal pregnancy up until baby Vaughn arrived - but a drawn-out and complicated birth left her newborn struggling with a series of complications triggered by his birth asphyxia, which restricted the flow of oxygen to his brain.

Thankfully, Vaughn was in good hands. Experts in the hospital's neonatal unit were able to provide first-class care, helping him survive those challenging early days.

A crucial MRI scan after 10 days in intensive care showed that Vaughn's brain was functioning normally - and he is now a happy and healthy little boy.

"The hospital provided a private room for me so I could visit him round the clock," said Ruby. "And when our fragile family felt overwhelmed with fear, the support and care of the nurses and consultants kept us strong."

Ruby took part in the Thames Bridge Bike Ride last month, cycling the 35-mile route and raising more than £2,000 for Imperial Health Charity.

We will make sure the money Ruby raised goes straight back to the neonatal unit at Queen Charlotte's & Chelsea, so that other mothers in her position continue to receive the best possible care.

Ruby added: "The NHS caught us the moment things went wrong and continue to support us and countless other families."

Inspired by Ruby's story? Find out more about our exciting fundraising opportunities at www.imperialcharity.org.uk/fundraising-events

01.11.17: Applications for 2018/2019 research fellowships now open

NHS UCLH DAY 2 LAB 0135 10083Applications for next year’s research fellowships open on Wednesday 1 November, awarding staff up to £50,000 to undertake pioneering research and prepare for further study.

The programme, managed by Imperial Health Charity, allows medical and non-medical staff to take part in 12 months of out-of-programme research to develop their skills for the benefit of patients at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

This year, £436,905 was awarded to nine fellows in a range of fields, including research into improving dialysis access for older patients and developing a urine test to diagnose oesophageal and gastric cancers.

Eilbhe Whelan was one of the recipients, receiving £50,000 for research aiming to identify women at high risk of gynaecological cancer.

“I’m thrilled and excited to have been awarded a research fellowship,” said Eilbhe. “I feel so lucky to be here because there’s a huge network of people working in one area that will be really helpful to me.”

“The project is relatively labour intensive with regards to recruiting patients. Having the fellowship means I can do my research and analysis without having to worry about clinical commitments.”

Imperial Health Charity and its funding partner, the NIHR Imperial Biomedical Research Centre, have awarded 55 fellowships totalling £2.5 million since 2009.

The research fellowships are open to anyone employed by Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust who plans to undertake their proposed research project for the benefit of Trust patients or the surrounding communities.

Applications close on January 31 and those successful will be notified in Spring 2018. For more information about the programme and how to apply, visit our research fellowships page.

You can get in touch with the charity grants team by emailing grants@imperialcharity.org.uk or phoning 020 3857 9847.

 

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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