02/06/16: Aunt abseils for charity so more children like her nephew can receive lifesaving treatment
A brave little boy's fight for life has inspired his aunt to raise money for the children's intensive care unit that helped to save him.
Nadia Marsella was one of 55 people who abseiled 10-storeys down the Queen Elizabeth Queen Mother Building at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington in aid of the More Smiles Appeal, which aims to raise £2 million to renovate and expand the hospital's children's intensive care unit.
Nadia, who lives in Hayes, is raising money to thank the hospital for treating her nephew, Maurice Marsella Joseph, who was diagnosed with a rare metabolic disorder, known as MPS 1 Hurler syndrome, shortly after he was born prematurely. The syndrome affects one in every 100,000 children and symptoms can include respiratory problems, hearing loss, an enlarged liver and vision problems.
"Maurice was very sick and was treated at a few hospitals. He came to St Mary's when he was about seven-months-old because he caught a chest infection," said Nadia, who works in St Mary's Hospital's Lindo Wing.
"His immune system was very low due to treatment and if he caught a cold it could have killed him. We thought he was going to die but the team in the children's intensive care unit at St Mary's reassured us. They understood his problems straight away and he was really well looked after.
"Maurice has recovered and he is now four-years-old. He is still taking medication but he is much better now. He is still here with us and is growing up, playing like all the kids of his age."
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 may have to be transferred hundreds of miles for treatment.
Last year, the unit had to turn away 233 children, more than half the number actually admitted.
The More Smiles Appeal aims to create a new unit with 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.
The £2 million appeal is led by Imperial College Healthcare Charity and COSMIC. The total project cost is £10 million and the remainder of the costs will be funded by Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Imperial College Healthcare Charity.
Nadia, who took part in the abseil on 27 May, thanked everyone who has helped her raise more than £440 so far.
"I am incredibly scared of heights but I wanted to abseil to help create more beds and treatments for many other kids in need. With our help we could change so many other lives," she said.
"My nephew was my motivation to do this. He got better and I would do anything for him."
To sponsor Nadia, go to www.justgiving.com/nadia-marsella
To find out more about the More Smiles Appeal or to sign up for future events, go to www.moresmiles.org.uk
25/05/16: Take part in a two or five mile sponsored walk for your chosen ward or department
Staff and patients at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust can raise money for their ward in a two or five mile sponsored walk on 17 July.
Imperial College Healthcare Charity is organising the Trust’s first ever Walk for Wards, which will see hundreds of people walking a circular route starting and finishing in Merchant Square next to St Mary’s Hospital.
You can choose which ward or department your money goes to and the charity will match up to £100 raised per person for the first 250 people to sign up so don’t delay, sign up now and raise even more.
Laura Watts, head of community and events fundraising, said: “Not only is Walk for Wards a fantastic opportunity to walk through some of London’s most beautiful parks and waterways but it’s also a chance to support your hospital.
“You can choose to support a ward within any of the five hospitals of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust or simply choose the hospital you’d like to support. Your registration fee and any money you raise will go towards the ward or hospital you choose.”
At the end of the walk there will be a family fun celebration in Merchant Square.
Registration is just £10 for adults, £5 for concessions, NHS staff and children aged 5 -16, under 5s are free.
There is no minimum sponsorship, simply raise as much as you can.
To sign up, go to www.imperialcharity.org.uk/walkforwards or for more information phone Lauren on 020 3312 5694.
23/05/16: New exhibition features works of art
by hospital staff
London hospital workers are displaying their artistic side in an exhibition at Hammersmith Hospital.
Imperial College Healthcare Charity, which manages the art collection at all five Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust hospitals, invited staff and their immediate family to submit artworks including drawing, painting, printmaking and photography for a staff art exhibition.
A total of 45 people from Hammersmith, St Mary’s, Charing Cross, Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea and Western Eye hospitals took part.
Lucy Zacaria, arts manager at Imperial College Healthcare Charity, said: “The arts team has had so much fun putting on this exhibition. We’re thrilled with the enthusiastic response from staff and the extremely high quality of the artworks themselves. There certainly is a lot of hidden talent within the workforce at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.”
The exhibition will be at Hammersmith Hospital until 4 July, then it moves to Charing Cross Hospital on 7 July until 6 September and then to St Mary’s Hospital from 8 September to 1 November.
The charity’s arts team awarded prizes in several categories, including printmaking in which Nicole O’Riordan was the winner with her work entitled ‘Lost’
Nicole, a nurse recruiter, said her work was inspired by her late father’s dementia diagnosis.
“It was quite a shock when he was diagnosed. Part of my way of dealing with it was just photographing him repeatedly. When I looked at the photos, in so many of them he had his face in his hands. It started to symbolize to me what dementia was. It was like he had lost himself,” she said.
“After he died I kept looking at these photos and couldn’t get them out of my system. I think it was part of the grieving process.
“I did these prints a couple of years ago and have kept them tucked away. To see them in the exhibition is really moving.”
The charity awarded cleaner Kaluram Tamang the prize for best painting for his work featuring Hammersmith Hospital.
“I sketched it outside the main hospital and did the colouring at home,” he said.
“I feel really proud but I am still trying to do better. I work part-time and with the rest of my time I am doing modern art training.”
During the opening event there was also a public vote, which midwife support worker Mandy Taylor won with her painting of an elephant entitled ‘Storm’.
The St Mary’s Hospital worker was inspired to paint it after seeing a friend’s photograph and it took her about 18 hours to complete.
“I went home after work and got a couple of hours in when I could,” she said.
“I have been painting on and off for a few years but this is my first time in an exhibition. I have never rated my paintings that much, it’s just what I do but to see it on the wall next to what I consider fantastic artists is quite a privilege.”
Other winners in the exhibition include medical lab assistant Indi Dhillon with a drawing of a Siberian tiger and physiotherapist Kris Thanapalan with a photograph entitled ‘Scarred’.
Imperial College Healthcare Charity raises money for research, equipment and projects to improve patient experience at all five Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust hospitals.
As part of this, the charity has an extensive art collection which is on display in wards and departments throughout the Trust.
18/05/16: NHS charities join forces to show their impact on the nation's health
A bereaved mother’s determination to help families who have lost a baby has inspired a pair of hospital workers to walk 26.2 miles for charity.
Karen McArtney, a midwife at Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea Hospital and Suzy Leaves, a nursery nurse at St Mary’s Hospital, and their friend will walk the marathon distance from Rickmansworth to Camden Lock on 14 May.
They are raising money to maintain a special room for families who experience miscarriage or stillbirth, which mum Lauren Petrie founded through fundraising after her daughter Jada was stillborn at Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea Hospital in 2013.
Suzy, who previously worked at Queen Charlotte’s, said: “As a nursery nurse I look after the newborns in the Lindo Wing, which brings home the reason I am raising money. Not everybody is able to take their baby home as some babies are born sleeping and it’s heart-wrenching.
“Both Karen and I know the importance of Lauren’s fundraising. The money she has raised has helped to create a room at Queen Charlotte’s, known as Jada’s Room, where bereaved families can spend precious time together with their baby without bumping into proud parents and their newborns.
“We are really looking forward to the walk and want to thank everyone who has donated so far.”
The team have raised more than £450 so far for Lauren’s Teardrop Fund, which is run by Imperial College Healthcare Charity.
The charity raises money for research, equipment and projects at five London Hospitals, including Queen Charlotte’s and St Mary’s, and anyone who donates can choose exactly which ward, department or hospital their money goes to.
Lauren’s daughter Jada was nine days overdue when her labour pains started but when she got to hospital the doctors couldn’t find a heartbeat.
Lauren (pictured left with daughter Mia), of West Kensington, who is a first year student midwife at King’s College, said: “It felt like I was in a nightmare, everything went into slow motion. My world stopped. Everything after that is a blur of utter confusion, pain and despair.”
At 3.30am the next day she gave birth naturally to Jada, who weighed just over 8lbs.
“She had the prettiest face, full head of soft hair and the fattest thighs, the ones we all love squidging on new babies. So perfectly formed, lying so still and quiet,” said Lauren.
“When I first looked at her, I knew that I couldn't let her death be in vain. I wished I could have made this be the last stillbirth in history so that no other families would ever have to go through this.But I don't have a magic wand. What I do have is the support from my amazing family and friends and the best bereavement midwife, Jane Scott. Together, and with the help of an extremely kind, thoughtful and generous donation, we were able to open Jada's Room at Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea Hospital,” said Lauren.
Jada’s Room has a double bed so parents can lie down together with their baby, its own kitchen area, en-suite bathroom, reclined chair and soft furnishings. Money raised maintains the room and helps to improve the service.
To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/suzy-leaves1.