September 2016

News


September news
 

 

30/09/16: Grandmother inspires teacher to run half marathon for charity

Sophie with her sister AbigailA teacher put her best foot forward at the Ealing Half Marathon in honour of her grandmother.

Sophie Hannon, of Brentford, took part in the 13.1 mile event on 25 September to raise more than £400 for Charing Cross and Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea hospitals in west London where her 86-year-old grandmother is receiving treatment for womb cancer.

Money raised will go to Imperial College Healthcare Charity, which fundraises for research, projects and equipment at the five hospitals of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

The English teacher said: “The staff at Queen Charlotte's and Charing Cross hospitals have been doing an excellent job of looking after my wonderful Grannie Lily during her cancer treatment.

“She cannot speak highly enough of their skill, compassion and relentless hard work, all of which has made this difficult experience that little bit brighter.”

Sophie, who was born at Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea Hospital, is also raising money for Hammersmith Hospital after being treated there as a child for an underactive thyroid.

“From the special care maternity unit at Queen Charlotte's, to the treatment I received throughout my childhood at Hammersmith Hospital for Hypothyroidism, the hospitals in this Trust have been hugely important in my own life,” she said.

“I had to have a lot of blood tests due to my Hypothyroidism, which is quite scary when you’re little but I always felt very relaxed and calm thanks to the team there.”

It was the first time Sophie had taken part in a running event and she completed it in two hours and 28 minutes. The race saw her travel through Central Ealing, Montpelier, Pitshanger, West Ealing, Hanwell and St Stephen’s before returning to Lammas Park.

“I was determined to do this in recognition of the outstanding work of so many thousands of people in our NHS,” said Sophie.

“Thinking about my Grannie and the money I was raising for the charity helped to keep me going. I told my Grannie I did it and she said it’s lovely.

“I walked the final mile with my best friend whose knee went at mile 10. I was on track to finish in about two hours and 17 minutes, which is not a bad effort for my first proper run. I definitely want to do another one next year and improve on my time.”

Imperial College Healthcare Charity raises funds for five London hospitals within Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust: Charing Cross, Hammersmith, Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea, St Mary’s and Western Eye hospitals.

Since 2009, the charity has awarded more than £34 million in grants to over 470 pieces of clinical research and healthcare projects across the hospitals, all of which aim to improve patient healthcare.

To sponsor Sophie, go to  https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/SophieElizabethH

 

27/09/16: Charity walk in honour of Met police officer raises thousands for Hammersmith Hospital

Keyur groupA Met police officer has raised thousands of pounds to thank the hospital where he is being treated for cancer.

About 85 people joined Keyur Patel, known as Kiwi, for ‘Kiwis Kick Ass Cancer Walk’, a 1K, 5K or 10K walk around Osterley Park in Osterley, west London, on Sunday (18 Sept).

The event raised more than £3,000 for Imperial College Healthcare Charity, which fundraises for research, equipment and projects at Hammersmith Hospital where Kiwi, of west London, is being treated for chronic myeloid leukaemia.

The condition is common in adults around 60-years-old but the trainee detective constable was diagnosed when he was just 30.

He said: “The staff at the hospital are angels disguised as doctors and nurses. They’re the people who help in more ways than you could ever imagine and now I want to give something back. Every time I go there, it doesn’t matter how busy or stressed they are they always have time to smile.”

Chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) is a type of cancer that affects the white blood cells and tends to progress slowly over many years.

Kiwi was diagnosed after he collapsed at work five years ago.

The 35-year-old, who was a detention officer at the Met and special constable at Thames Valley Police at the time, said: “I had a bit of a cold so I took a paracetamol but wasn’t feeling any better. I was standing in the kitchen and a police officer asked me if I was alright. The last thing I remember is blacking out. Luckily my sergeant was holding on to me.

“When I got to hospital they said my spleen was enlarged six times bigger than it should have been. They ran blood tests and I remember seeing the two doctors talking to each other very seriously. I saw one saying to the other ‘the test can’t be right, run it again’ and he replied ‘I’ve run it twice’.

“He then came to me and said my blood count should have been between 6,000 and 11,000 but mine was at 275,000 and they suspected it was leukaemia.

“The first thing I said was ‘how do we beat it?  I’m not going to let cancer kill me’. Every time I went to Hammersmith Hospital I saw people who were much less fortunate than me and were having to take much worse medication. That’s what makes me say I’m very lucky,” he said.

Keyur and sister“With the medication I am on you can live a normal life.”

Kiwi is a Scout leader and members of his group helped out at the walk on Sunday.

“I was only expecting about 20 or 30 people. I want to thank everyone who took part – it means a lot to me. I made the routes 1K, 5K and 10K so they are accessible to everyone,” he said.

Kiwi is hoping to make the walk an annual event.

Imperial College Healthcare Charity raises funds for five London hospitals within Imperial College

Healthcare NHS Trust: Charing Cross, Hammersmith, Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea, St Mary’s and Western Eye hospitals.

Since 2009, the charity has awarded more than £34 million in grants to over 470 pieces of clinical research and healthcare projects across the hospitals, all of which aim to improve patient healthcare.

To sponsor Kiwi, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/kiwiskickasscancerwalk

26/09/16: Schwartz Rounds provide a safe space for all Trust staff to share and reflect

SchwartzTrust staff are invited to reflect on the personal, social and emotional aspects of working in healthcare in the cross-disciplinary forum, Schwartz Rounds.

The sessions, which are funded in part by the Trust’s charity, Imperial College Healthcare Charity, take place every one-two months and rotate between St Mary’s, Hammersmith and Charing Cross hospitals.

The purpose of Schwartz Rounds is for staff to come together and share the challenges and rewards that are intrinsic to caring, not to solve problems or to focus on the clinical aspects of patient care.

During the sessions, a multi-disciplinary panel present on their personal experiences of a shared case before audience discussion.

Feedback for the sessions has been very positive. One participant said: “I think it’s very useful to have a space to talk and reflect on these sensitive and complex topics.”

Another attendee said: “I loved hearing the stories and really connecting with them. It was a great space to talk openly about our feelings.”

Schwartz Rounds has attracted more than 800 attendances so far since it began in July 2015. More than 95 per cent of those who gave feedback said that they would attend Schwartz Rounds again and recommend it to a colleague and nine in ten said that they had gained a greater sense of self-awareness and an insight into how others care for their patients.

Dr Alex King, consultant clinical psychologist and project lead for Schwartz Rounds, said: “For staff to be the best they can be, it’s important that they’re looked after and feel supported. People say they get a sense of community coming to Schwartz Rounds and it’s good to know that they’re not alone in feeling the impact of this work. Others say it gives them time to reflect, reconnect to their values and remember what person-centred care is all about.

“Broad mixes of people attend, including doctors, nurses, therapy staff, clerical and management staff, from the very junior to the very senior alike. There are some very poignant stories and you really see the best of your colleagues.

“We are very grateful for the funding and advice we’ve had from the charity. They enabled us to better promote the programme, strengthen our evaluation and provide lunch for attendees as a token of appreciation by the organisation.”

The next Schwartz Rounds are:

Monday 17 October at Hammersmith 
Friday 4 November at Charing Cross
Tuesday 22 November at St Mary’s

20/09/16: New exhibition at St Mary's is a celebration of colour

IMG 6532Vibrant works by acclaimed London-based artist, Tim Head, have gone on display in the Cambridge Wing Gallery at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington. 

Imperial College Healthcare Charity, which manages the art collection at all five Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust hospitals, has organised the display of Tim Head’s visually stimulating prints as part of the charity’s aim to improve the hospital environment for staff, patients and visitors.    

Tim Head’s work has been displayed internationally, including at the Venice Biennale, Modern Art Oxford and Whitechapel Gallery. His work is held in many public collections including Tate; the British Council Collection, Arts Council Collection, British Museum and the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York. 

Lucy Zacaria, arts manager at Imperial College Healthcare Charity, said: “It’s wonderful to have such colourful artworks brightening up the hospital for staff and patients. We are proud to be working with Tim and his gallery, Parafin, on this show, which brings the healing power of colour to patients, staff and visitors.”

The exhibition will be on display at St Mary’s Hospital, Cambridge Wing, ground floor, from 13 September 2016 until March 2017.

Tim Head said: “It is a real pleasure to have been given this opportunity to show my prints at St Mary’s Hospital within such a vibrant and distinguished programme of exciting art. I hope these prints may open up various avenues of pleasurable distraction and speculation.”

Ben Tufnell, director at Parafin, said: “It is both exciting and an honour to be involved in the art programme at St Mary's, which does so much to create a stimulating environment for patients and staff at the hospital.”

The works exhibited at St Mary’s Hospital showcase Tim Head’s investigation of the digital medium and the illusory depth of chromatic intensity with which he experiments. 

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.

The charity’s current exhibitions include the Staff Art Exhibition at Charing Cross Hospital, which displays over 60 artworks by Trust staff and their families and Capturing the Light at Hammersmith Hospital, which focuses on three artists and their exploration of light.

 

15/09/16: New standardised critical care transfer bag rolled out across the Trust thanks to charity

IMG 6510The first ever standardised critical care transfer bags have been rolled out across the Trust thanks to full funding from the charity.  

The bag contains everything needed when moving critical care patients between wards and hospitals, making it faster for staff to find what they need in the case of an emergency, particularly when staff work or train across different organisations. 

Developed collaboratively through the North West London Critical Care Network, the bag will help make transporting vulnerable patients in critical care a smoother experience. 

Lindsay Benjamin, outreach and resuscitation team leader at the Trust, said: “If there’s an emergency and a patient deteriorates en route to another hospital, we can be really responsive to what the patient needs at that time.

“We’re making that process safe, knowing that we have the full, standardised set of equipment for the patient and also cutting the time needed to check the equipment inside.

“We are extremely grateful to Imperial College Healthcare Charity, which has funded these 30 bags, enabling us to hold this launch where staff can take these bags back to their units across the Trust.”

A total of 125 clinicians were involved in developing the new bags, and a review has been published in the Journal of Intensive Care.

13/09/16: Son takes on charity challenges to thank hospital for caring for dad

Jayjit shahThe memory of a devoted father has inspired a fundraising drive for the hospital that treated him.

Jayjit Shah is taking on the Richmond Half Marathon on 18 September and the Five Peaks Challenge on 15 October to raise money for Hammersmith Hospital in honour of his father, Shantilal, who died of kidney failure in January 2015 after five years of treatment.

Money raised by the network engineer, of Uxbridge, will go to Imperial College Healthcare Charity, which raises funds for equipment, research and projects at Hammersmith Hospital.

Jay, 48, said: “Dad had fantastic service at Hammersmith Hospital. The quality of care and professionalism of staff was excellent and now I want to give something back.

“I know he would be happy if he could see what I’m doing. I feel like he is pushing me and giving me the energy and strength that I need to complete these challenges.”

It is thought Jay’s father’s condition was triggered by his diabetes. The Kingsbury resident received dialysis at Hammersmith Hospital three times a week for five years to manage his symptoms. He died at the hospital at the age of 69.

“Dad was a very courageous man and he always had a smile on his face. He was always building friendships with everyone - even when he was having treatment in hospital,” he said.

Jay, who has already completed a 10K, has been training to run the 13.1 mile route in less than three hours. It starts in Kew Gardens, continues along the River Thames and finishes in Old Deer Park.

He will also climb the five peaks in the Lake District in a single day on 15 October to raise further funds for the hospital. He will walk 14 miles, including a 1,300m climb, tackling five of England’s most demanding peaks, including its highest – Scafell Pike.

Jay has raised £838 so far and is hoping to take on the London Marathon for the charity next year.

Imperial College Healthcare Charity raises funds for five London hospitals within Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust: Charing Cross, Hammersmith, Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea, St Mary’s and Western Eye hospitals.

Since 2009, the charity has awarded more than £34 million in grants to over 470 pieces of clinical research and healthcare projects across the hospitals, all of which aim to improve patient healthcare.

To sponsor Jay, go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jayjit-Shah

For more information about Imperial College Healthcare Charity, go to www.imperialcharity.org.uk.

 

12/09/16: Patients and staff treated to unique Japanese-inspired drawing workshop

IMG 6480Japanese theatre, poetry and music inspired by a sculpture by artist Henry Moore were the focus of a dynamic art workshop at Charing Cross Hospital.

More than 30 patients, hospital staff and visitors were inspired to draw while enjoying poetry, performers in handmade kimonos and Japanese soundscapes next to the sculpture at the west London hospital on Tuesday 6 September.

The event was organised by Imperial College Healthcare Charity, which manages the art collection at the hospital, and was led by artists Angela Hodgson-Teall and Miles Coote, with Peter Hollamby and the Dalston Ballet Company.

Natalie Craven, arts officer at Imperial College Healthcare Charity, said: "It was fascinating to see the public reaction to this unique event and have so many staff, patients and visitors spontaneously take part. 

"Some staff members only had ten minutes to spare on their break but stopped to draw the Henry Moore sculpture that they pass every day.

"As an arts team we're looking to expand our wider arts activities to include music, dance and literature, so it was a great opportunity to work with a new group of artists.

"The artists involved were keen to reflect the Japanese and European art histories connected with Henry Moore's 'Working Model for Reclining Figure' (1963-5) sculpture in their performances. 

The sculpture, on permanent loan to the charity from the Tate, is part of the charity's extensive art collection which is displayed to improve the hospital environment for staff and patients.

One of the artists leading the event, artist Angela Hodgson-Teall, said: "I used to be a trainee doctor at Charing Cross Hospital, as well as an artist, so this is a really interesting environment for us to perform in. 

It's nice to think that we can have a positive impact on patients and their families."

Louise Watkins, who took part in the event, said: "Workshops like this are are great for the community, which is especially important in London. It brings people together from all walks of life.

"Having them in the hospital is a good idea. It takes your mind off the purpose of your trip and reduces your stress levels, especially if people are feeling isolated. This gives them a focus and a place to come and have a chat."

Imperial College Healthcare Charity raises money for research, equipment and projects to improve the patient experience at Charing Cross and the four other London hospitals that make up Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. 

As part of this, the charity has a collection of more than 2000 works of art across the hospitals.

The charity's on-going arts programme includes workshops run by Paper Birch, which aim to engage and stimulate elderly patients with dementia through creative sessions, and the Rhythm Studio workshops, which bring together child patients and their siblings to create impromptu music.

For more information about upcoming art workshops, visit www.imperialcharity.org.uk/art-collections or follow the charity on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

07/09/16: Cancer survivor thanks hospital that saved his life

MartinOrloffAndDaughterA grandfather is raising money to thank the hospital that saved his life after he was diagnosed with cancer.

Martin Orloff, of Borehamwood, pictured left with his daughter Katie, was treated for stage two bladder cancer at Charing Cross Hospital in west London.

The 64-year-old will be playing the drums in a charity gig at The Three Hammers in Mill Hill on 17 September to raise money for Imperial College Healthcare Charity, which fundraises for research, equipment and projects at the hospital.

He said: “The team at Charing Cross Hospital saved my life and I want to give something back. If it wasn’t for the surgeon and the aftercare I wouldn’t be here today.

“When I was diagnosed, I wanted to get on with it and get it done because there’s a lot to look forward to and life is very important.”

Martin’s band, The Swinging Retros, will play hits from the 1960s and 1970s at The Three Hammers on 17 September from 7.30pm.

Money raised will pay for much-needed equipment for the urology department at Charing Cross Hospital.

Martin visited the GP in 2014 when he noticed he didn’t feel right. He was tested and referred to a specialist where he was then sent to Charing Cross Hospital for surgery.

“I am still here. I have got six grandchildren and my family are why I wanted to carry on,” said the freelance sales agent. 

“I walked my youngest daughter down the aisle two months later and I played the drums at the reception. I had played at my other two daughters’ weddings too so I was determined to do it for her as well.

“There are plenty of people who don’t survive. I got through it because I acted so quickly – had I have left it, it could have been a completely different story. I want people to know that if you notice the slightest thing they should just get it examined and get it sorted.”

The family thanked everyone in the urology department at Charing Cross Hospital who treated Martin.

His wife, Vivienne, said: “As soon as Martin was out of hospital, one of his biggest concerns was whether he would be able to play the drums again with his band and once the specialist had given him the go ahead there was no stopping him. 

“Together with his fellow band members, Martin has played at various charity events, helping to raise significant sums of money for charities close to our hearts. Above all, he has wanted to do a fundraiser for the unit he was treated in at Charing Cross Hospital. 

“He was overwhelmed by the kindness and support of all the team at the hospital, particularly his consultant Norma Gibbons and his specialist nursing team led by Gail Kerr. 

“It will be a wonderful evening filled with music, dancing and lots of laughter.  Let’s celebrate life together and thank you in advance for your support.”

The event has raised more than £1,300 so far. To donate, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/martin-orloff-vivienne-orloff.

 

02/09/16: Staff Art Exhibition moves to Charing Cross

staffartexhibitionMore than 40 pieces of artwork by Trust staff and their families have been installed in reception at Charing Cross Hospital.

The Staff Art Exhibition, organised by the Trust’s charity, Imperial College Healthcare Charity, was well received at Hammersmith and St Mary’s hospitals.

The exhibition showcases the artistic talents within the Trust and includes oil paintings, photographs and watercolour collages. 

We asked some of the participants to tell us about the story behind their pieces.

Nicole O’Riordan, Nurse Recruiter and winner of the print-making category for her work entitled ‘Lost’, said that the piece had been inspired by her late father’s dementia diagnosis. She said: “Part of my way of dealing with his diagnosis 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. To see these prints in the exhibition is really moving.”

Anna Bosanquet, Senior Research Midwife at St Mary’s and Queen Charlotte’s, said, “Most of my artwork is related to my role as a midwife. The two photographs were taken when I was attending women giving birth at home and aim to show the calm, beauty, but also the intensity of the experience.”

Charing Cross Hospital is the exhibition’s final destination and ends on the 30th October,  so make sure you take a detour and enjoy the wonderful variety of works created by colleagues on display.

To learn more about the artworks and the artists behind them, visit the charity’s Facebook page, Instagram account and website.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/charityimperial/

Website: http://www.imperialcharity.org.uk/current-exhibitions

Instagram: imperialcharity

02/09/16: Consultant completes Channel swim for More Smiles Appeal

ParvizThe consultant who set up the children’s intensive care unit at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington has completed a 43.5 mile swim across the English Channel to raise funds for the More Smiles Appeal.

Dr Parviz Habibi, 64, set off from Dover on Tuesday 30 August reaching France after 19 hours and 12 minutes in the water. His efforts have raised more than £20,000 so far for the St Mary’s Hospital More Smiles Appeal.

Dr Habibi has been training for two years for this challenge and while he has done four previous Channel swims as part of a relay team, this was his first solo attempt.

Dr Habibi said on completing his swim: “I am really pleased to have finished. It was very challenging but all the years of training and preparation have paid off.

“I would like to thank everybody for all their support and generous donations. The More Smiles Appeal is a great cause which will help us to improve the lives of many more children and young people in the future.”

Dr Habibi set up the children’s intensive care unit at St Mary’s in 1992 with one bed and one nurse. Today, the eight-bedded unit treats a range of medical, surgical and trauma patients as well as being a world leader in the understanding and treatment of serious infections.

The More Smiles Appeal is aiming to raise at least £2 million to help fund the £10 million expansion of the current unit to 15 beds allowing more than 200 extra children to be cared for each year. Earlier in the month, the appeal reached a major fundraising milestone of the £1 million mark.

The appeal, led by Imperial College Healthcare Charity and COSMIC, is looking to raise at least £2 million towards a £10 million project. The remainder of the costs are to be funded by the Trust and Imperial College Healthcare Charity.

To donate to please visit Parviz’s JustGiving page.

 

02/09/16: East Ham teenager's bucket list helps appeal to reach half-way mark

Vaishali22The family of a teenager who died after collapsing at school have helped an appeal at the hospital that tried to save her to raise half of its fundraising target.

The St Mary’s Hospital More Smiles Appeal, which has received support from the Duchess of Cambridge, aims to raise at least £2 million to create a bigger, state-of-the-art children’s intensive care unit at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington.

Among the people who have helped the appeal reach the first £1 million are the friends and family of 15-year-old teenager Vaishali Bance Suhayr who have raised £5,569 in her memory by taking part in activities from her bucket list, including a skydive and paying for a strangers’ groceries.  They are set to complete more activities later this year.

Vaishali’s mother, Srija, of East Ham, said: “Vaishali is always with us. She lived by the motto YOLO (you only live once) even though she suffered from severe allergies and asthma which meant she was at risk of falling ill at any time.

“She would be so happy if she could see what she has inspired us to do. She has made so many people want to reach out and help others. Whenever we tell people what we are doing they want to help. As a family, we would like to thank everyone who has donated so far.”

Vaishali’s friends and family have each been choosing activities from the list. Her sister, Shalu, raised £250 by taking part in a skydive with her friend Saleh Khan.

The 20-year-old Middlesex University student took on the challenge wearing her sister’s tracksuit bottoms with her family watching on the ground.

Shalu said: “I have always wanted to do a skydive and after my sister passed away I found that it was part of her bucket list. It was a chance to do something I always wanted to do, but it was also for my sister and for the More Smiles Appeal, which felt even better.”

Her father, Harish, said: “It was really emotional to watch – we are all so proud of both of them. They both experienced that moment that takes your breath away that Vaishali loved so much.”

To raise further funds, some family members have taken part in a sponsored walk.

The St Mary’s Hospital More Smiles Appeal, led by Imperial College Healthcare Charity and COSMIC, is looking to raise at least £2 million towards a £10 million project to create a bigger, state-of-the-art children’s intensive care unit. The remainder of the costs are to be funded by the Trust and Imperial College Healthcare Charity.

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 sometimes have to travel as far afield as Birmingham for treatment. In 2014, the unit had to turn away 233 children, more than half the number admitted.

The redeveloped unit will have 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.

Currently, the eight-bedded unit treats a range of medical, surgical and trauma patients. It is a world leader in the understanding and treatment of serious infections in children including meningitis and septicaemia, as well as specialising in other life-threatening conditions such as seizures, asthma, sickle cell disease, severe injuries and helping children recover after major surgery.

Around 7,000 children, from newborn to 18 years old, have been treated at St Mary’s Hospital Children’s Intensive Care Unit since it opened. Patients have come from all over the country including as far afield as Devon, Jersey and Northern Ireland. However, the once modern facility has aged and staff and patients are now in desperate need of more space, more beds and up-to-date facilities.

Dr Simon Nadel, children’s intensive care unit consultant and clinical lead, said: “We are delighted to have reached this milestone in the More Smiles Appeal and would like to thank the generosity of all those who have brought us this far. To know we are half-way towards realising our ambition of being able to give exceptional care to more children and their families is truly exciting.  However, there is still a long way to go. We cannot do this without the continued support of the public.”

Josephine Watterson, director of fundraising and communications for the More Smiles Appeal, said: “We are exceptionally grateful to the public who have given so generously to the More Smiles Appeal. Their donations will help save many lives in the future. But we are only half-way there and we will be continuing our efforts to secure the support we need to reach our target. There are so many ways to get involved and over the summer there will be a series of public events where people can make a donation. Every penny can make a difference.”

There are five general children’s intensive care units in London and 25 in the UK.

01/09/16: Stevenage mum thanks children's intensive care unit by fundraising for appeal

EllaA mother has helped an appeal at the hospital that saved her baby's life to raise half of its fundraising target.

The St Mary's Hospital More Smiles Appeal, which has received support from the Duchess of Cambridge, aims to raise at least £2 million to create a bigger, state-of-the-art children's intensive care unit at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington.

Among the people who have helped the appeal reach the first £1 million is Janice Stevens, of Stevenage, whose 18-month-old daughter Ella was treated there.

Janice said: "I'm so pleased that my fundraising has helped the appeal reach the half-way mark. The team at St Mary's Hospital saved my daughter's life and they have also saved me – I couldn't cope without her."

Ella has been in and out of various hospitals since she was born at 23 weeks at Lister Hospital in Stevenage on 19 February 2015. She wasn't due until June 2015 and has suffered health complications as a result, including chronic lung disease, pulmonary hypertension, problems with her gut, her eyes and one of her heart valves.

She was transferred to St Mary's children's intensive care unit in September 2015 after she caught adenovirus, which resulted in a serious, sticky cold but she struggled to battle it due to her chronic lung disease.

"I had never heard of St Mary's before as it's a long way from Stevenage," said Janice.

"I was scared because going to a new hospital was daunting, but when we got there the staff were amazing. They explained what was happening all the time and there was always someone to talk to - they provide a level of care far beyond what you would expect.

"Ella really wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for them."

Ella was at St Mary's from September 2015 until January 2016. She was in the children's intensive care unit three times and was cared for in the children's wards between those times. Janice has raised £188 for the appeal so far.

The total raised by the St Mary's Hospital More Smiles Appeal, led by Imperial College Healthcare Charity and COSMIC, will go towards the £10 million project to redevelop the unit. The remainder of the costs are to be funded by Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Imperial College Healthcare Charity.

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 sometimes have to travel as far afield as Birmingham for treatment. In 2014, the unit had to turn away 233 children, more than half the number admitted.

The redeveloped unit will have 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.

Currently, the eight-bedded unit treats a range of medical, surgical and trauma patients. It is a world leader in the understanding and treatment of serious infections in children including meningitis and septicaemia, as well as specialising in other life-threatening conditions such as seizures, asthma, sickle cell disease, severe injuries and helping children recover after major surgery.

Around 7,000 children, from newborn to 18 years old, have been treated in the children's intensive care unit since it opened. Patients have come from all over the country including as far afield as Devon, Jersey and Northern Ireland. However, the once modern facility has aged and staff and patients are now in desperate need of more space, more beds and up-to-date facilities.

Dr Simon Nadel, children's intensive care unit consultant and clinical lead, said: "We are delighted to have reached this milestone in the More Smiles Appeal and would like to thank the generosity of all those who have brought us this far. To know we are half-way towards realising our ambition of being able to give exceptional care to more children and their families is truly exciting. However, there is still a long way to go. We cannot do this without the continued support of the public."

Josephine Watterson, director of fundraising and communications for the More Smiles Appeal, said: "We are exceptionally grateful to the public who have given so generously to the More Smiles Appeal. Their donations will help save many lives in the future. But we are only half-way there and we will be continuing our efforts to secure the support we need to reach our target. There are so many ways to get involved and over the summer there will be a series of public events where people can make a donation. Every penny can make a difference."

There are five general children's intensive care units in London and 25 in the UK.

To find out more about the St Mary's Hospital More Smiles Appeal, visit www.moresmiles.org.uk.  

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