November 2017


November news  

30.11.17: Donate to the Wishing Tree Appeal and help families in crisis this Christmas

IMG 0752Imperial Health Charity has launched its Wishing Tree Appeal for Christmas 2017, raising money to support hospital patients and their families facing financial crisis this Christmas.

Every penny donated to this year's appeal will go towards the charity's hardship fund, which awards emergency grants to help patients and their loved ones.The money we raise will be used to help cover household bills, food and clothing costs, as well as travel and accommodation fees so that friends and family can be there to offer much-needed support while patients are in hospital.

Last year the hardship fund awarded a total of £74,000 to help dozens of patients cover sudden and unexpected costs arising from their time in hospital.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 patients and their families who are facing financial crisis this Christmas."

To make a donation towards the appeal, call 020 3640 7766, email or visit   You can also donate £5 to write a personal Christmas message, which we will hang from one of our Christmas Wishing Trees outside each of the Trust's hospitals - Charing Cross, Hammersmith, Queen Charlotte's & Chelsea, St Mary's and the Western Eye. Visit for more information.

15.11.17: Creative course helps patients socialise and develop their artistic skills

IMG 8776Patients are becoming more confident in making art thanks to a creative course that helps them express themselves and get to know each other.

The monthly Art and Wellbeing Course, organised by Imperial Health Charity, features a variety of workshops, designed to help patients develop their artistic skills and enhance their wellbeing and recovery.

A recent workshop brought patients to the St Mary’s A&E to visit the new commissioned artworks by Emma Haworth and Chris Orr RA, before trying their hand creating their own landscapes using ink painting and collages.

Suzanne, one of the workshop regulars, believes initiatives like this can make a huge difference:

“I used to go to a lot of art classes but it’s been quite difficult since I was diagnosed with cancer. The course really helps and I find art therapeutic. I like to be part of a group and I like being instructed and being taken into bits of art that I haven’t done before.”

The workshops offer guidance for patients to help them gain confidence with different art styles. Suzanne believes the community that’s formed around the course is an equally important part of it:

“It’s now become a social thing as well. We’re able to relate to one another. A lot of us are struggling with life and our conditions. You don’t need to talk about it here but you understand that everybody is in a similar situation.”

Kate Pleydell, Arts Officer at the charity, said: “We’re delighted to offer this opportunity to patients. These workshops are a brilliant way for them to build their confidence, see wonderful works of art and do something surprising and stimulating in the hospital.”

“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.”

The course takes place from 2-5pm on the first Saturday of each month with workshops 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.

14.11.17: Runners make record time to help friend saved by pioneering stem cell therapy

runnersHitting the wall is a tough test for any runner - but when Dave Brown and Mark Raphael put themselves through the pain barrier at the Belfast Half Marathon, they had a special motivation to reach the finish line.

Dave and Mark completed the 13.1-mile challenge in support of their friend Jonathan Hamilton, who suffers from multiple sclerosis and recently underwent ground-breaking stem cell treatment at Hammersmith Hospital.

"Jonathan has had a challenging time as his condition has progressed," said Dave. "He has been in and out of hospital for consultations, treatment and recovery. Throughout this time he has spent extended periods away from home, his loved ones and his boys, Freddie and Harry."

Jonathan's condition affects his central nervous system. He has mobility problems and walks with to straighten his gait. He also suffers from poor vision, caused by damaged nerves in his brain and spinal cord.

Thanks to the outstanding care of experts at Hammersmith Hospital's haematology department, Jonathan is showing signs of improvement after undergoing stem cell therapy. He finds it easier to walk, is less fatigued and is more alert generally.

One of only a few dozen patients to have received a haemaopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) at Hammersmith, Jonathan is among the first to benefit from the new treatment.

The procedure involved transplanting a special type of stem cell extracted from Jonathan's own blood back into his body while his immune system was suppressed using chemotherapy.

Mark added: "Time will tell how successful this has been but the signs are positive. He is enjoying spending time with his family and he is growing stronger by the day."

To show their appreciation for the team which is helping Jonathan manage his condition, Dave and Mark set out to support The Blood Fund. The pair raised more than £5,000, breaking their own personal best times. 

Their contribution will help fund pioneering research at Hammersmith as well as improvements to the hospital environment for patients with blood disorders.

Inspired by Dave and Mark's story? Find out more about our exciting fundraising opportunities at

07.11.17: Mother completes cycle challenge to thank hospital staff who saved her son

ruby8A mother whose baby was saved by doctors at Queen Charlotte's & Chelsea Hospital has raised more than £2,000 for Imperial Health Charity by completing a 35-mile cycling challenge.

Ruby Danowski had experienced a normal pregnancy up until baby Vaughn arrived - but a drawn-out and complicated birth left her newborn struggling with a series of complications triggered by his birth asphyxia, which restricted the flow of oxygen to his brain.

 Thankfully, Vaughn was in good hands. Experts in the hospital's neonatal unit were able to provide first-class care, helping him survive those challenging early days.

 A crucial MRI scan after 10 days in intensive care showed that Vaughn's brain was functioning normally - and he is now a happy and healthy little boy.

"The hospital provided a private room for me so I could visit him round the clock," said Ruby. "And when our fragile family felt overwhelmed with fear, the support and care of the nurses and consultants kept us strong."

Ruby took part in the Thames Bridge Bike Ride last month, cycling the 35-mile route and raising more than £2,000 for Imperial Health Charity.

We will make sure the money Ruby raised goes straight back to the neonatal unit at Queen Charlotte's & Chelsea, so that other mothers in her position continue to receive the best possible care.

 Ruby added: "The NHS caught us the moment things went wrong and continue to support us and countless other families."

 Inspired by Ruby's story? Find out more about our exciting fundraising opportunities at

01.11.17: Applications for 2018/2019 research fellowships now open

NHS UCLH DAY 2 LAB 0135 10083Applications for next year’s research fellowships open on Wednesday 1 November, awarding staff up to £50,000 to undertake pioneering research and prepare for further study.

 The programme, managed by Imperial Health Charity, allows medical and non-medical staff to take part in 12 months of out-of-programme research to develop their skills for the benefit of patients at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

 This year, £436,905 was awarded to nine fellows in a range of fields, including research into improving dialysis access for older patients and developing a urine test to diagnose oesophageal and gastric cancers.

 Eilbhe Whelan was one of the recipients, receiving £50,000 for research aiming to identify women at high risk of gynaecological cancer.

 “I’m thrilled and excited to have been awarded a research fellowship,” said Eilbhe. “I feel so lucky to be here because there’s a huge network of people working in one area that will be really helpful to me.”

 “The project is relatively labour intensive with regards to recruiting patients. Having the fellowship means I can do my research and analysis without having to worry about clinical commitments.”

 Imperial Health Charity and its funding partner, the NIHR Imperial Biomedical Research Centre, have awarded 55 fellowships totalling £2.5 million since 2009.

The research fellowships are open to anyone employed by Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust who plans to undertake their proposed research project for the benefit of Trust patients or the surrounding communities.

 Applications close on January 31 and those successful will be notified in Spring 2018. For more information about the programme and how to apply, visit our research fellowships page.

 You can get in touch with the charity grants team by emailing or phoning 020 3857 9847.


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