Patient Stories- Youth Violence

Appeals

Tom's Story

 

The Wishing Tree Appeal is helping patients and their families at times of financial hardship at the five hospitals of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

The Simpsons were one of these families when they travelled from Newtownards, near Belfast in Northern Ireland, so that their son, Tom, could receive life-saving treatment for a rare form of anaemia.

Doctors performed a bone marrow transplant after finding an unrelated donor but a series of complications caused the procedure to fail – leaving Tom fighting for his life in intensive care.

Tom was put on a ventilator to aid his breathing but experts feared he would not survive. Miraculously, however, a second transplant proved successful and over several months he was able to recover.

“The hospital staff said it was unlikely that Tom would survive the process,” said Paul Simpson, Tom’s father.Tom bed

“We knew he was very unwell but we prayed for him, a lot of people prayed for him. Even our minister flew over from Northern Ireland and spent a couple of days at his bedside.

“The medical team said that there are times when you do everything you can for someone and it isn’t enough, and there are other times when people survive and you can’t explain why. I think Tom was in that category. They were amazed that he survived.”

While the transplant was a risky procedure, the Simpsons believed it would dramatically improve Tom’s quality of life. He had already undergone more than 300 blood transfusions and spent thousands of hours in hospital in Northern Ireland.

The complexity of the procedure and the care that Tom required after the operation meant the family were living in London for over a year before they could return home.

During this time they received emergency financial support from Imperial Health Charity to help cover living costs so that Paul and his wife Linda could be with Tom throughout his treatment.

The money was used to help the Simpsons pay rent on a flat close to the hospital and to buy food and clothes during their stay.

Paul added: “At a time when your whole world is caving in and you are 100 per cent focused on your child, the charity’s support took the financial pressure and worry away. It removed another layer of stress on top of what we were already dealing with.

“The fact that it was all taken care of and enabled us not to have the money worries that other families have during the process was a massive boost.

Simpson family2

“Tom is still receiving regular treatment back in Northern Ireland but he is doing really well. He gets an infusion once a month to build up his immunity and he is continuing to improve. He is in a much better place than he was a couple of years ago.”

Last year Imperial Health Charity’s hardship fund awarded £74,000 to help dozens of families like the Simpsons cover their living costs while staying in hospital at Charing Cross, Hammersmith, Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea, St Mary’s and the Western Eye.

Every penny donated to the appeal will help to ensure that other families can benefit from the fund and stay together this Christmas.

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 dozens of other patients and their families who are facing financial crisis this Christmas.”

Imperial Health Charity’s Wishing Tree Appeal runs until January 2018, raising money to support patients and their families at times of financial hardship at Charing Cross, Hammersmith, Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea, St Mary’s and the Western Eye hospitals.

To help support families like the Simpsons, visit our donation page.

 

Wishing Tree Appeal 2017

Share a smile and help keep families together this Christmas

 

You can share a smile and help keep families together this Christmas by supporting our Wishing Tree Appeal.

Smiley – the team behind the famous smiley face icon - have created three original bauble designs for the Christmas Wishing Trees at each of our hospitals. For over 45 years, the Smiley brand has influenced musical generations, social movements, popular culture and the pursuits of happiness. Now it is helping to raise money for families in financial crisis.

 

Share a smile today. Get your Smiley bauble by donating £5 to the Wishing Tree Appeal.
Click on your chosen design below and write your message.

 

 

Santa SmileyWinking hat SmileyPenguin Smiley

 

The three unique baubles have been specially created for the appeal, which is raising money for our hardship fund. The fund provides emergency grants to support patients and their families at times of extreme financial difficulty.

Your donation will help us offer financial support to cover essential costs, such as travel, food and accommodation, enabling families to stay together while a loved one is in hospital.

 

smiley 1


 

Jack's Story

The Wishing Tree Appeal is helping patients and their families at times of financial hardship at the five hospitals of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

Scott and Emma Garlick experienced this first-hand when they were rushed from Bedford in the back of an ambulance so that their baby, Jack, could be treated at St Mary’s in central London.

Jack was born with congenital CMV and developed a life-threatening chest infection only a week after his family brought him home for the first time. IMG 20170726 200805 125

His condition quickly deteriorated and he had to be urgently moved to the specialist children’s facility at St Mary’s.

Emma said: “You are just constantly worried that your phone is going to ring and they are going to say he has taken a turn for the worse. Any machine that bleeps you think, what does that mean? Is he OK?

“You can never describe to someone how that feels, watching your baby fight for his life. You can’t do anything for them. All you want to do is look after them, but you can’t. You are helpless.”

After five days in intensive care, hooked up to a network of tubes keeping him alive, Jack’s condition stabilised and he was moved back onto the ward. Six days later – after almost two weeks away from home – Jack was discharged and the family were finally able to return to Bedford.

He still struggles with cysts in his brain and the family make regular visits to paediatric specialists in London, but Jack is making good progress on his road to recovery.

The Garlicks are now fronting Imperial Health Charity’s Christmas campaign, which is raising money to help families stay together while their loved ones are in hospital.

Donations to the Wishing Tree Appeal will go to the charity’s hardship fund, which provides emergency grants for patients and their families at times of financial crisis.

Scott and Emma received a grant from the charity when they were hit by the spiralling costs that came with simply being by Jack’s side during his time in hospital.

The couple used the money to cover accommodation costs, travel, food and other everyday expenses that many families face when their loved one needs specialist care away from home.IMG 20170726 200805 144

“I was walking around in my pyjamas,” said Emma. “We had travelled down in the ambulance at 5am on a Monday morning, so we had absolutely nothing when we arrived at St Mary’s. We literally just jumped in the ambulance and went. We had no thoughts about where we were going to stay or how we were going to get around. We just thought, we have got to be with him because he is seriously poorly.”

The couple were given a hotel room close to the hospital for five days while Jack was in intensive care, but they spent another five days sleeping by his side in a single bed on the ward.

Throughout Jack’s hospital stay, Scott and Emma had no access to cooking facilities and quickly racked up hundreds of pounds simply to feed and clothe themselves.

Scott added: “We were having fast food or anything we could find that was cheap. All our money was gone literally in a couple of days. There were little things you don’t think of, like toiletries, underwear and nappies for Jack. We just had to go out and buy everything. It was like going on holiday and losing your suitcase. In the first couple of days it was easily £500.

“It all just added up and we looked at the bank balance and thought, ‘oh my God, we have got nothing’.”

Last year Imperial Health Charity’s hardship fund awarded £74,000 to help dozens of families like the Garlicks cover their living costs while staying in hospital at Charing Cross, Hammersmith, Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea, St Mary’s and the Western Eye.

Every penny donated to the appeal will help to ensure that other families can benefit from the fund and stay together this Christmas.

Garlick family 1

Emma said: “At the time we were emotional wrecks. We were obviously worried about Jack but we were also panicking because we had no money. It is the last thing you want to be worrying about when your child is so poorly.

“We are just so grateful to St Mary’s and to Imperial Health Charity for everything they did for us. They had our child’s life in their hands and if they had made a wrong call our story could have had a very different outcome. If it was not for them we might not have him here with us today. We cannot thank them enough.”

Imperial Health Charity’s Wishing Tree Appeal runs until January 2018, raising money to support patients and their families at times of financial hardship at Charing Cross, Hammersmith, Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea, St Mary’s and the Western Eye hospitals.

To help support families like the Garlicks, visit our donation page.

Support our children's services at St Mary's

Our children's department at St Mary's has already saved over 6000 lives to date and cared for over 25,000 children, but the charity wants to go further and do more for our youngest patients. We need your help to make sure every young patient we care for in our hospitals and the community continues to benefit from the latest research and treatments available.

There is a huge amount to be proud of within children's services, from the world renowned children's intensive care unit and its specialist knowledge of childhood infections, the amazing team of paediatric consultants and physiotherapists through to the diabetes team and the play specialists. All of whom are part of what makes the department so special, dealing with a huge range of complex illnesses and conditions on a daily basis.

Your support can make all the difference and allow us to push the boundaries of what our staff can do, so please give generously to the appeal so we can continue to offer the best possible care in every situation. You can donate to the appeal through our Amazon wish list by clicking here or through this website by using the links below. Here's how your donation can help:

Make a
donation

Get
involved

Apply for
a grant

Our Art
Collection

Sign up to Newsletter

Site by
Lucid Graphics