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11.09.17: Find out more about Imperial Health Charity during Great Place to Work Week

IMG 2975NHS staff can find out how to get involved with Imperial Health Charity during Great Place to Work Week – a special event celebrating the many benefits of working for the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

We will be hosting several events throughout the week (September 25 - October 1) to give members of Trust staff the chance to learn more about our work across grants, arts, volunteering and fundraising.

A talk on Matisse by Graham Greenfield from the Royal Academy of Arts, a pub quiz at the Old Suffolk Punch in Hammersmith and drop-in sessions to help you apply for a grant are just a few of the events taking place during the week.

Imperial Health Charity is working with the Trust to deliver Great Place to Work Week, which will also include a daily roadshow featuring a range of stalls and activities.

Where can I find the charity?

Come and visit our stall to pick up our latest newsletter and a free charity goody bag. You can find us at the following locations between 11am and 3pm:

Monday 25 September – W12 Conference Centre, Hammersmith Hospital

Tuesday 26 September – outside the Paterson Centre, St Mary’s Hospital

Wednesday 27 September – 3rd Floor seminar room, Western Eye Hospital

Thursday 28 September – Charing Cross Sports Club, Charing Cross Hospital

What else can I do?

  • Interested in the arts? Attend our Matisse in the Studio talk by Graham Greenfield from the Royal Academy of Arts. The talk takes place on Tuesday 26 September at the Cockburn Lecture Theatre at St Mary’s Hospital, starting at 5pm. Turn up on the day or to guarantee your place, RSVP to or call 020 3857 9843.
  • Find out how to apply for a grant from the charity to support your ward or department. We fund a range of healthcare projects across the Trust, from major redevelopments to small improvements on the wards. Our grants team will be holding a drop-in session at the charity’s stall between 12.30pm and 1.30pm on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday at the locations listed above.
  • Take part in our Pride In Your Trust photo competition for a chance to win box tickets to see Symphonic Queen at the Royal Albert Hall on Friday 6 October. Download and print our poster from The Source or pick one up from our charity stall and write on it what makes you proud to work for the Trust. Take a picture of yourself holding the poster and post it in a tweet, including the hashtag #ImperialGreatPlacetoWork. We’ll choose the winner at the end of the week. Make sure you follow @ImperialCharity so we can contact you if you’ve won.

07.09.17: Blood Cancer Awareness Month: Meet David Memory

David Memory CroppedSeptember is Blood Cancer Awareness Month, highlighting the challenges facing those affected by the condition and what can be done to help them.

We’re proud to support the haematology department at Hammersmith Hospital through the Blood Fund which aims to raise £250,000 for research and care for patients with a wide variety of blood disorders.

A key goal for the fund is to increase the number of Clinical Nurse Specialists who provide emotional and psychosocial support, as well as expert advice in specific diseases. David Memory, who has multiple myeloma, joined the Blood Fund committee after experiencing first-hand how much of a difference they make.

“I was in hospital for a stem cell transplant,” said David. “It’s a very scary sounding operation but I was lucky enough to have a Clinical Nurse Specialist.”

“For somebody who hasn’t been very involved in hospitals and operations it was quite a nerve-wracking thought. Having somebody spending as much time as I needed to explain what was going to happen was a massive comfort and help. They made it sound like there was really nothing to worry about.”

David’s experiences have been echoed nationwide. A 2014 survey of cancer patients identified access to a named Clinical Nurse Specialist as the number one indicator of a positive patient experience.

Since then, David has made the most of his experience and is an active part of the committee. He’s taken part in collections and helped organise an upcoming golf day auction to raise money for the fund.

“I think the aims of the Blood Fund are excellent. It’s nice to not only be able to help raise funds but also to have an influence on what they’re spent on.”

To find out more about the Blood Fund and how you can help, visit

06.09.17: Former model 'brought back to life' by medics at St Mary's Hospital

Tyrell pic1A former model who was left unable to walk, talk, eat or drink following a horrific car crash is to take part in a gruelling endurance challenge for Imperial Health Charity after being saved by medics at St Mary’s Hospital.

Tyrell Todd modelled for GQ and Italian Vogue before suffering catastrophic injuries in the near-fatal crash in January 2015.

He suffered a major bleed inside his brain and had part of his skull removed in a life-saving operation at the hospital.

Tyrell then spent four weeks in a coma and another three months recovering in a hospital bed before he could begin his rehabilitation.

Less than three years later, however, Tyrell is taking on the Tough Mudder – a 12-mile obstacle course through overgrown woodlands and thick, muddy bogs.

The 23-year-old, who previously modelled at the London, Paris and New York Fashion Weeks, has entered the event to raise money for Imperial Health Charity, which supports St Mary’s and the four other hospitals of the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

“My speech is still slurred and my concentration levels are not good, but I am trying to move past those difficulties and do something for my kids and the hospital staff who saved my life,” said Tyrell.

“I feel like I am ready to go ahead and do it. It will be nothing compared to what I went through before.”

Tyrell was in the passenger seat of a friend’s car in Potter’s Bar when it spun off the road and struck a tree.

He was rushed to St Mary’s and taken into theatre, where surgeons cut out a section of his skull to treat a large bleed inside his brain. When he eventually woke from an induced coma, he could no longer walk or talk and was being fed through a tube.

“I was moved to the intensive care unit where I was placed on a ventilator and fighting for my life,” he added. “The odds of me surviving the crash were slim to none and my family was losing hope.

“However, the surgery was a success and after spending four weeks in a coma I came through. Ever since then I have wanted to find a way to say how much I appreciate the amazing team of doctors and nurses and all the staff at the Major Trauma Centre who were so dedicated to looking after me.”

Tyrell, who lives in Sudbury, Suffolk, has not been able to work since the crash and now receives care at home five days a week. His rehabilitation is ongoing.

“At first I could not remember anything,” he added. “It took me a month to remember that I had two kids. It was a scary process. I had to put my life back together from people telling me bits and pieces. I’m still not used to it but I’m just grateful to have been given a second chance at life.”

Tyrell had regular physio and speech therapy sessions at St Mary’s following the operation – crucial first steps that eventually enabled him to walk and talk again.

He aims to raise £1,500 for the charity by taking on the Tough Mudder in Faygate, West Sussex, on 23 September. The charity will make sure all the money he raises goes straight back to the Major Trauma Centre at St Mary’s.

He added: “I want to show the staff at St Mary’s how far I have come over the last two and a half years and to prove to them that their efforts have not gone unnoticed. They basically brought me back to life and I want them to see what their work has achieved.

“Hopefully, this money can also enable them to provide the same level of care to other people who end up in the same terrible situation as me."

If you would like to sponsor Tyrell, you can visit

04.09.17: Ironman challenge in sight for fundraising journalist whose daughter was born premature

Mark Nicol picA top journalist whose daughter was born prematurely at Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea Hospital is to run, cycle and swim more than 140 miles to raise money for Imperial Health Charity.

Mark Nicol, Defence Correspondent at the Mail on Sunday, will swap the newsroom for the tough terrain of the Ironman challenge to repay the neonatal team who brought little Isabella safely into the world.

Mark’s wife Zoe spent more than a fortnight in hospital before doctors eventually removed baby Isabella by caesarean at 32 weeks and five days.

She weighed only five lbs at birth and lost more weight during her first few days, requiring breathing assistance through a gas mask.

Mark was so impressed by the care and compassion shown by the staff that he decided to give back to the hospital by raising money for Imperial Health Charity at the Ironman Wales event on 10 September.

The gruelling challenge begins with a 2.4-mile sea swim followed by a 112-mile bike ride and rounded off with a full marathon on foot. Avoiding injuries, Mark expects to complete the challenge in around 13 hours.

Imperial Health Charity will ensure that all the money Mark raises will be put straight back into improving the hospital experience for other patients visiting the neonatal unit at Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea.

“The events I’ve done in the past have been about half this distance, so it has certainly been demanding on the training front,” he said.

“I was always planning to do the Ironman, but I didn’t have a strong feeling about sponsorship until our experience with Isabella. Now I’m full of motivation to give something back to the hospital.”

Isabella was born pre-term by around seven weeks, so her condition had to be carefully managed.

Doctors had managed to extend the pregnancy by about 10 days after Zoe arrived in hospital, giving Isabella the best possible chance of survival.

Both Mark and Zoe were grateful for the professionalism and kindness of the staff who helped them through the birth.

“It was the combination of compassion and professional capability that was so impressive,” Mark added.

“The staff were intelligent, thoughtful and highly communicative, which is incredibly important at a difficult time like that.”

Zoe gave birth to the couple’s first child, Rory, at Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea in April 2016, so they knew they were in safe hands despite the complications with Isabella.

Now at one month old Isabella is recovering well, putting on weight and feeding normally.

“It was a hard week for myself and Zoe but it was made so much easier because of the quality of the people who were around us,” Mark added.

“This will be my first full Ironman and obviously my training has been compromised slightly by what has happened, but my motivation is higher than ever.”

If you would like to sponsor Mark, you can visit

31.08.17: New creative course will help patients become more confident in creating art 

IMG 2258 croppedPatients are invited to take part in a free six-month course to develop their artistic skills and learn more about the art on display at the Trust.

The Art and Wellbeing Course, organised by Imperial Health Charity, features a variety of workshops, designed to help patients feel more confident in creating art and enhance their wellbeing and recovery.

The charity’s extensive art collection, including works by Fay Ballard and Clare Woods, will be used as a springboard to inspire creativity as participants try their hand at watercolour painting, still life drawing, and more.

The course is open to patients of all abilities and the charity is asking Trust staff to recommend it to anyone they feel might be interested.

Lucy Zacaria, Head of Arts at the charity, said: “We’re delighted to offer this opportunity to patients. The charity is a firm believer in the way that art can transform hospital spaces and how creativity can greatly enhance patients’ recovery.”

“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.”

Last month, a cross-party report concluded that arts-based approaches can help people stay well, recover faster, manage long-term conditions, and experience a better quality of life.

The charity is proud to support the arts in healthcare and works hard to improve patients’ hospital experience through an extensive programme including creative workshops for patients undergoing dialysis and multisensory experiences for those living with dementia.

The course takes place from 2-5pm on the first Saturday of each month from September onwards. Workshops will be held at Charing Cross, Hammersmith and St Mary’s Hospitals. Anyone interested in joining should contact the charity’s Arts team by emailing or phoning 020 3857 9843.

30.08.17: Fran Giffard's art brightens up new children's unit

IMG 8564Artwork by Fran Giffard has been installed in a new children’s unit in the St Mary’s A&E department, which opened this week.

Giffard’s colourful prints and light boxes, now adorn the children’s Clinical Decision Unit at the hospital. The four-bed unit provides dedicated facilities for children who need further assessment and was created as part of a charity-funded £3.5m upgrade for the A&E department.

The artwork, featuring vivid drawings of birds from around the world drawn over her personal diary pages, helps transform the feel of the department and offers children something to focus on in what can be a very distressing time.

“I’ve tried to cater for the patients in the room”, said Giffard. “There are colourful, friendly birds, birds that they’ll recognise like parrots and penguins and the diary pages reference London landmarks.”

“The nurses said it was useful to have these as a visual distraction so if they’re giving injections or taking blood they can ask ‘how many penguins can you see?’ and that way the patient is entertained in the middle of a stressful situation.”

The charity is a keen advocate of art in hospitals and manages a collection of over 2,000 art works at the five Trust hospitals. A 2014 survey carried out by the charity revealed that 69% of patients credited the art collection with making them feel more relaxed in the hospital environment, something that the arts programme is constantly building on.IMG 8572

Giffard said: “We’re getting very good at fixing the physical parts of the body but we’re still only tapping the briefest part of the mind and how things can have an impact later on. Having artwork in places like this makes it more relaxing, less clinical, and less intimidating.”

Giffard studied Fine Art Drawing at Camberwell College of Art and has had her work exhibited internationally and throughout the UK. She was shortlisted for the BBC Wildlife Artist of the Year and has displayed her work at several solo exhibitions, including the Northcote Gallery in Chelsea and the Someth1ng Gallery in Honor Oak.

You can find out more about her work on her website.

29.08.17: Imperial Health Charity named official charity partner for Affordable Art Fair

AAF3Imperial Health Charity has been selected as the official charity partner for one of London’s biggest art fairs.

The Affordable Art Fair, which takes place at Battersea Evolution in October, will provide a unique platform for the charity to demonstrate how the arts can make a difference in the healthcare environment.

With a diverse collection of original and contemporary paintings, prints, photography and sculpture, the fair is expected to attract thousands of visitors over four days.

But art fans who buy a ticket for the Charity Private View on Wednesday October 18 will have the first chance to see and buy artworks featured at the fair.

All the money raised from tickets sold for the Private View will go straight back to the charity, supporting our arts engagement programme for patients and staff across the Trust.

Lucy Zacaria, Head of Arts at Imperial Health Charity, said: “We aim to change the way patients and NHS staff experience the hospital environment, by transforming clinical settings into bright and uplifting areas and engaging with patients at the bedside and in communal groups to enhance their recovery.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase our work on the big stage and help others understand the value of the arts in improving the hospital experience for patients.

“You can support the arts in healthcare and boost our engagement programme by buying a ticket for the Charity Private View and enjoying the live entertainment on offer.”

More than 100 artists – from household names to emerging talents - are due to exhibit their work at the fair.

Bringing thousands of artworks together with talks, tours and workshops all under one roof, the fair will be the place to be for art enthusiasts this autumn.

Imperial Health Charity will be at the heart of the fair throughout the week, hosting live demonstrations of our hospital workshops and an ‘in conversation’ talk with Professor Roger Kneebone, from Imperial College London,  and artist Rebecca Salter, on the link between art and medicine.

We will also be selling unique tote bags featuring original artworks by David Shrigley, with proceeds going straight back to the charity.

You can support the charity’s work by buying a ticket for the Charity Private View on Wednesday October 18 from 5.30pm. The £25 ticket price includes a first look at all the artworks, live entertainment, complimentary drinks and readmission to the fair for the rest of the week (October 19-22).

For more information and to buy tickets, visit To find out more about the event, visit

07.08.17: Charity celebrates 30th annivesary of Bridget Riley murals at St Mary's

BR SM 9 0015Imperial Health Charity is celebrating the 30th anniversary of one of its most iconic hospital artworks.

This year marks three decades since Bridget Riley’s colourful murals were installed on the eighth and ninth floors of the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother building (QEQM) at St Mary’s Hospital.

Unveiled back in 1987, the striking patterns are among the most memorable in the charity’s collection and continue to delight visitors today.

Riley, now in her 80s, was commissioned by the architect John Weeks to create the two murals on the eighth and ninth floors. A third mural was created on the 10th floor in 2014.

The unique patterns take inspiration from a visit Riley made to Egypt in the early 1980s, echoing the fixed colour palettes and decorative style of architectural painting used by the Ancient Egyptians.

Reflecting on the designs, Riley described how painting for decoration requires a more passive rhythm and arrangement of colour lines as the viewer absorbs the image while walking past, rather than looking directly at a canvas.

Speaking at the unveiling of the third mural in 2014, she said: “The hospital corridor paintings embrace the whole space. They aim to lift the spirits and remind one of the life outside the hospital, while in no way interfering with the essential activities which must go on. Wonderful murals transform environments into uplifting places for patients and staff.”

In the 30 years since the murals were unveiled, feedback from patients and staff has been overwhelmingly positive. The bright colours have brought to life what were once pale and clinical hospital corridors.

Lucy Zacaria, Head of Arts at Imperial Health Charity, said: “The murals are without doubt one of the highlights of the collection. The staff at QEQM love them and we’re often asked by other teams if they can have something similar on their ward.

“The striking patterns have totally transformed the space and made it feel a lot less clinical – and this has had a genuine impact on patients’ wellbeing during their time in hospital.

“We will always be grateful to Bridget for her generosity in creating these artworks for us. They continue to delight and inspire visitors to the hospital every day.”

To mark the anniversary, the charity is working with the Chelsea Community Hospital School to run a special creative workshop for children at St Mary’s on Thursday (10 August).

Young patients will be given the chance to create their own artworks, inspired by Riley’s murals, using strips of coloured paper.

The school provides education for children and young people aged between four and 18 while they are in hospital. St Mary’s is one of four London hospitals the school works with to offer classes on a weekly basis.

03.08.17: 'Superhero' six-year-old to run with Paralympic heroes for hospital that saved his life

IMG 8181A six-year-old boy with cerebral palsy who survived after suffering several neonatal strokes is to line up for a unique sporting challenge alongside one of Britain’s top Paralympians.

“Superhero” Arlo Elwin will team up with athlete and cyclist Kadeena Cox to complete the final leg of a special triathlon event celebrating disability sports.

Little Arlo was born by emergency caesarean at Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea Hospital in west London after suffering several strokes inside his mother’s womb.

He was resuscitated by doctors and spent 11 days in intensive care before his condition stabilised and he could be reunited with his family.

Arlo now lives with cerebral palsy, limited vision and learning difficulties but is able to lead an otherwise normal life.

Next month he will sprint to the finish line for Team Kadeena at the Superhero Tri event at Dorney Lake, near Windsor.

The Elwins, who live in Hoxton, are raising money for Imperial Health Charity, which supports the work of the neonatal unit at Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea, as well as the four other hospitals of the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. All the money they raise will go straight back to the neonatal unit that cared for Arlo.

Alice Elwin, Arlo’s mother, said: “Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea is the reason Arlo is still here today and doing so well.

“He spent 11 days on drugs and it was touch and go whether or not he would survive. He looked pretty lifeless and I wasn’t able to hold him for four days while he was being cooled.

“We were like zombies at the time and it was truly heartbreaking and awful to go through, but the care was amazing. The NHS is simply incredible and we can never put into words our appreciation for the care we received.”

During a routine appointment, Alice told doctors she had felt Arlo moving less than normal. Specialists found that Arlo’s heart rate was “distressed” and decided to perform an emergency caesarean.

Arlo suffered seizures three hours after birth and it was later discovered that he had also had strokes days before he was born.

He spent his first 11 days at the Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea neonatal unit before being moved to Homerton Hospital at the end of the month.

Despite his difficult start in life, the “cheeky” six-year-old has benefited from physiotherapy and other NHS treatments to help him stay active.

He was invited by his physio to take part in the Superhero Tri, organised by Paralympian Sophia Warner who also has cerebral palsy, to encourage disabled children to take part in sports.

Other celebrities joining the event include The Last Leg presenter Adam Hills and Paralympic gold medallist Jonnie Peacock.

Arlo will run and walk the final 1,000 metres of the course with the help of his family – Alice, Marcus and little brother Ezra (two) - after Kadeena and another team member have completed the swimming and cycling sections.

Marcus added: “We want to show Arlo that he can do anything he wants to with his determination and our support.”

Superhero Series founder and Paralympian Sophia Warner said: “I am thrilled that Arlo is joining forces with Team Kadeena to make a super team. The Celebrity Superhero Tri is going to be a fun-fuelled start to the Superhero Series, I cannot wait for August.”

To sponsor Arlo and support Imperial Health Charity, you can visit


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:

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