September 2015



September news

30/09/15: Charity Week was a success

IMG 3977 sImperial College Healthcare Charity has thanked everyone who got involved in Charity Week. 

The charity, which raises funds for projects, training, research and equipment at the Trust’s five hospitals, held a number of hugely successful events every day last week, including abseils, static bike challenges, bake sales and a pub quiz. 

The week also saw membership of the charity's Staff Arts Club pass 1,000 members. The cultural benefits scheme gives Trust staff free entry to exhibitions and events at the Barbican, Royal Academy of Arts and the V&A. 

Josephine Watterson, director of fundraising and communications at the charity, said: “We were delighted to see so many people taking part in our events and we want to thank each and every one of you who came along. Look out for more Imperial College Healthcare Charity fundraisers taking place in the future.” 

The charity wants to remind everyone to send in their sponsorship money for the abseils and static bike challenges. You can send it through JustGiving or visit Lauren Levy in the charity office in Acrow West at St Mary’s Hospital. 

If you have any queries regarding sponsorship money, email 

For more information about the charity, including upcoming events, grants and the Staff Arts Club, visit

29/09/15: Seven-year-old inspires dad to abseil 150ft down hospital

IMG 4373 2A father has abseiled down a London hospital to thank the team who saved his son’s life.

Seven-year-old Logan Curtis, of Clacton in Essex, suffers from a one in a million brain disease, known as Rasmussen’s encephalitis, as well as epileptic seizures.

He was treated in the children’s intensive care unit at St Mary’s Hospital last week after suffering continuous seizures and falling into a coma.

To raise money for the unit as a way of saying thanks, Logan’s father, Gary, abseiled down a 10 storey hospital building on Thursday, as part of an event organised by Imperial College Healthcare Charity. The charity raises funds for research, training and equipment at five London hospitals, including St Mary’s.

Gary, 29, said: “The team in the children’s intensive care unit saved his life. When I saw the abseils taking place I wanted to sign up because I want to thank the hospital for everything they have done.

“I would do anything to change places with my son - I have had 29 years of life. He’s a brilliant kid with a brilliant heart.”

Gary took part in the event dressed as a minion as his son is a huge fan.

Logan was diagnosed with Rasmussen’s encephalitis in 2013. He also suffers from epilepsy, ADHD and autism.

He started having continual seizures on Friday evening (18 Sep) and was admitted to Colchester General Hospital before being transferred to St Mary’s.

Gary said: “It was horrible. I didn’t know if I was going to lose my boy.”

Logan’s mother, Tammy, said: “Nothing was working. They tried medication but he wouldn’t stop having seizures. Then he slipped into a coma.

“St Mary’s saved his life. He was still deteriorating until he got here and whatever they have done has made him better. They’re angels. The nurses have compassion and talk to you as a parent.”

Logan is recovering and has now been transferred back to Colchester General Hospital.

Gary, who works in security, has raised more than £459 so far and is planning a fundraising fight night to raise more money. The family are also planning a minion-themed party to raise funds.

To sponsor Gary, visit

25/09/15: Daughter's 13,000 feet thank you to hospital that saved dad's life

Rebecca during her skydiveA local woman from Kings Cross has skydived 13,000 feet to raise money for a charitable appeal in support of St Mary's Hospital major trauma centre that saved her father's life following a devastating accident.

Rebecca Lincoln's father suffered a major fall on 23 March 2015, resulting in him being taken to the major trauma centre at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington. His injuries to the brain were so severe, doctors had to remove part of his skull to help reduce the swelling as well as place him in an induced coma and life support for a month in the hospital's major trauma ward and intensive care unit.

Rebecca, 20, says: "My dad was cared for by an amazing team of dedicated and hardworking nurses and doctors during his time at the hospital. They were constantly talking to him and making sure he was comfortable even when he was in a coma, which really meant the world to me and my family."

Six months on from the initial accident, Rebecca's father is now at a rehabilitation centre at Homerton Hospital in East London. She says: "I've been told that he won't be out for another six months and that it's possible that he might need 24 hour care once he's back at home."

Rebecca completed the skydive on September 13, with the money raised going to Imperial College Healthcare Charity's £1million Major Trauma Centre Appeal. She says: "The skydive was amazing, although my mum was so worried she couldn't come and watch. I've wanted to do one for such a long time after seeing so many pictures and videos on Facebook."

"It was my way of saying a massive thank you to the staff at St Mary's Hospital for all the hard work they put in to help me and my family. The money I raise will go to the charity's Major Trauma Centre Appeal which in turn will help the centre buy new equipment and support additional training which will hopefully change another family's life like I they have done mine."

Talking about the major trauma team who cared for her dad, she says: "They all just had such big hearts. They were so good at just putting themselves in our shoes and feeling what we were feeling, they really helped us so much. If they were doing anything at all to my dad, they'd always take the time to explain what they were doing and why. When my dad came round from his coma and started speaking, the staff loved him; it felt as though they really knew my dad, rather than him being just another patient."

You can still support Rebecca and her efforts to support the Major Trauma Centre Appeal at St Mary's Hospital by making a donation on her JustGiving page: 

24/09/15: Fundraisers swim the English Channel in honour of team member's mum

IMG 1818A mother’s 20 year battle with cancer inspired a team of fundraisers to swim the English Channel.

Ben Alden-Falconer and his friends Richard Martin and Sam Zawadzki took part in the challenge for Imperial College Healthcare Charity, which raises funds for five London hospitals.

The trio, who completed the route in 13 hours and 14 minutes between them, were swimming in honour of Ben’s mum, Karen, of Hackney, who has received bone marrow treatment for leukaemia at Hammersmith Hospital.

Ben, a management consultant of Hackney, said: “It is a testament to the staff’s care, my mum's determination and her brilliant donor (her brother) that she is still around today. The money we raise is going towards helping the Haematology Department at Hammersmith Hospital continue their pioneering research into leukaemia and their brilliant care. 

“Mum has had almost every treatment in the book and we have been lucky that medical science has so far always advanced at each stage she needs more treatment and that she has had access to these drugs. Mum is very pleased we are fundraising. She is the reason I love outdoor swimming. We used to go up to Parliament Hill Lido almost every day as a kid, even on Christmas Day,” said the Cambridge graduate.

Ben, 26, Sam, 25, and Richard, 26, known as Team WOKIT in honour of Richard’s Borough Market restaurant, raised more than £5k by completing the route, which they did without wetsuits, on Sunday (Sep 20).

Ben said: “We had a day of perfect weather with a week of storms either side- which was really lucky- but it was still bitterly cold at 2am when we started.

“When the sun started to rise we were well out to sea, it made a beautiful red sky but it also encouraged the jelly fish to surface. There were thousands and thousands, you couldn't avoid them you just had to keep swimming through them getting stung all over.

“By our thirteenth hour of swimming we were exhausted, it was hard to re-energize by eating due to sea sickness, but with France visible on the horizon we found every last bit of energy to make it."

The team trained together in Dover at the weekends in preparation for the swim.

“Swimming at night in the harbour with industrial glow sticks lodged behind our goggles prepared us a bit for our start around 2am in the morning, but I am not sure anything could prepare you fully for the actual swim,” he said.

To sponsor Team WOKIT, visit

22/09/15: Heart patient completes 192 mile challenge for charity just 15 months after surgery

Day 4 - Lake District - Sep 2015 1Just over a year after major heart surgery, Alan Cleminson has completed a 192 mile challenge to thank the hospitals that treated him last year.

Alan, known as Clem, who lives in Shrewton near Salisbury, had a heart valve replacement at Hammersmith Hospital in London in June 2014, followed by further surgery at Salisbury District Hospital after suffering complications when he returned home.

Now back to full health, Clem and his wife Helen have just walked from St Bees Head in Cumbria to Robin Hood’s Bay in Yorkshire to raise funds for three causes, including Imperial College Healthcare Charity, which raises money for research, equipment and training at five hospitals in London, including Hammersmith Hospital.

Clem and Helen are also raising money for Salisbury District Hospital’s Stars Appeal and the British Heart Foundation.

Clem, 51, said: “We wanted to help the organisations that helped both of us before, during and after the operation.

“It's been challenging at times, such as the climbs in the Lake District and navigating the peat bogs across the Pennines, but the generosity of those supporting us has really spurred us on.”

Clem and Helen started their trek on 6 September and completed the route in just 12 days.

The couple, who have been married for 24 years, have so far raised more than £3,568 to be divided between all three causes.

Helen, 52, said: “It has been a wonderful achievement, especially as it is only 15 months since Clem’s open heart surgery – a testament to Clem’s determination and to the expertise and care of all the medical staff that looked after him.”

Clem first discovered he had a heart problem when Helen, who works for an ultrasound company, was evaluating new ultrasound equipment on him.

The problem was only minor at the time but progressed and was picked up again during a routine medical a couple of years later.

He had annual checks for 15 years until the valve had deteriorated to the point where he needed a replacement.

Helen said: “The degradation of Clem’s condition was very gradual so we didn't really appreciate the extent of his problem.

“Being a fit and otherwise healthy man we didn't notice him exhibiting any outwardly noticeable symptoms of heart disease.

“We were still going out and walking 15 miles or so at weekends and putting any shortness of breath down to our age.

“But since having the new aortic valve he now feels much better with more energy, is very much fitter, no shortness of breath - I find it hard to keep up with him now!

“We hope that Clem's example of recovery and return to absolute fitness following his valve replacement will reassure anyone else due to undergo major heart surgery.”

The couple thanked Prof Niyohannopoulos, Mr Anderson and their teams at Hammersmith Hospital.

They also want to thank the A&E and cardiac teams at Salisbury District Hospital for their rapid response after Clem collapsed with total heart block the day after returning home from London.

Their thanks also go to the British Heart Foundation for helping them to prepare for the surgery through their literature.

To sponsor Clem and Helen, visit

21/09/15: Rugby World Cup winner supports sponsored abseil at St Mary's Hospital

IMG 3827A week of fundraising and awareness activity by Imperial College Healthcare Charity has been kicked off by former England rugby player Matt Dawson today at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, part of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

The A Question of Sport team captain leant his support to 60 staff, patients and local residents who abseiled ten storeys from the top of the hospital’s Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother (QEQM) building today to raise funds for the charity. Amongst those taking part was 91-year-old Londoner Kay English whose recent heart valve replacement surgery at the Trust has led her to take part in a number of physical challenges including a 5k walk.

In 2014 alone the charity awarded over £6.8m to support a variety of projects, clinical research and healthcare studies across the Trust. Projects the charity has funded include:

  • training midwives and staff in A&E to identify and support patients living with domestic violence
  • improving attendance rates for breast screening appointments through piloting a text message appointment reminder service
  • buying a new CT scanner to speed up examinations and improve image quality,
  • providing dedicated clinical nurses specialising in elderly care and dementia into local community care homes
  • supporting annual health and wellbeing weeks and recognition awards for Trust staff
  • providing a £3 million grant to create the Care Information Exchange so that all patient information can be accessed quickly and easily from one place, regardless of health or social care setting.

As part of its awareness week, the charity has announced it is to step up its fundraising and support for patients and staff. It has committed an additional £15 million for strategic projects over the next two years to help the Trust deliver its clinical vision.

Matt Dawson, ambassador for Sodexo, which provides catering, portering and cleaning at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “It’s great to see so many people taking part in challenges to raise funds for such a good cause. Imperial College Healthcare Charity does a really important job in helping patients through often very difficult and vulnerable times.”

Ian Lush, Chief Executive of Imperial College Healthcare Charity said: “The charity works in many different ways to help improve the experience of patients and staff across the Trust. From supporting innovations that reduce patients’ time in hospital, to funding ground-breaking research, and providing art that creates a welcoming environment for patients - our work adds real value to the vital services the Trust provides. This week is a great opportunity to tell more people about their local NHS charity and get them involved in projects that directly benefit their communities.”

Tracey Batten, Chief Executive of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust said: “Imperial College Healthcare Charity is an increasingly important partner for the Trust. At a time when the NHS is facing significant financial challenges and responding to changing health needs, the support the Charity provides helps us to keep on innovating, to go the extra mile, and to be truly aspirational – for our patients and our staff.”

The sponsored abseil is just one of the activities taking place across the Trust as part of the charity’s awareness week. Other events include a static bike challenge, with Trust executives leading teams to cycle the distance between the Trust’s hospitals in the fastest time, quizzes and health and wellbeing events for Trust staff. 

07/09/15: Doctor to run Ealing Half Marathon to help charity reach £1 million target

VanesaAn intensive care consultant is taking part in a half marathon to help raise funds to help save and rebuild even more lives.

Vanesa Garnelo Rey, who works in the Major Trauma Centre at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, will be putting her best foot forward at the Ealing Half Marathon on 27 September.

From traffic accidents to assaults, the Major Trauma Centre helps save lives every day, and Vanesa is raising funds for Imperial College Healthcare Charity’s Major Trauma Centre Appeal to raise £1 million for vital new equipment, research and training there.

“I witnessed the birth of our Major Trauma Centre back in 2010 and all the incredible hard work involved in setting up a lifesaving and life changing service like this,” said Vanesa, who has worked at St Mary’s for six years.

“Strong teamwork has led to major success but we strive to improve and we will continue to help people rebuild their lives after a serious trauma.

“This journey has taught me how precious life can be and is filled with many breath taking stories.”

Imperial College Healthcare Charity raises money to improve staff and patient experience at Imperial College Healthcare Trust’s five hospitals, including St Mary’s.

It’s the second time Vanesa has raised funds for the charity’s Major Trauma Centre Appeal - the first was a Super Hero Run two years ago.

“This amazing charity works non-stop to support many important causes,” said Vanesa, who is the trauma lead for intensive care.

“I believe our Major Trauma Centre deserves every possible bit of help to maintain the highest standards of care we deliver for the benefit of our patients.

“Our top results are a clear reflection of the highly trained professionals from pre-hospital care all the way to rehabilitation and eventually home. Thank you for your invaluable support.”

Vanesa took part in the Great North Run for Cancer Research UK last year and she is hoping to complete the Ealing Half Marathon in about two hours.

To sponsor Vanesa, visit

For more information about the Major Trauma Centre Appeal or to get involved with fundraising, click here or phone 020 331 25694.


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