‘When I was 21 I was diagnosed with a hole in my heart which was formed at birth, despite having no symptoms growing up and being a keen runner throughout my late teens and early twenties.
‘My condition deteriorated and when I was 23, I ended up needing open heart surgery to repair the hole and a valve. I had a very slow recovery, but all went well and I was able to run the London Marathon 15 months later for the Royal Brompton where I had my treatment.
‘Later that year, in October 2016, I started struggling to walk due to cramping in my legs. I assumed it was pulled muscles and ignored it, until it became nearly impossible to walk and my feet began going numb. My GP sent me to King’s College Hospital A&E where it was found that the main arteries going to each leg were completely blocked with blood clots. After a full body CT scan, I was told that the clots most likely formed in my heart and had also travelled to and damaged my spleen and right kidney.
‘I was told that they would try a minimally invasive procedure called Thrombolysis to remove the clots but there was a 50/50 chance that it wouldn’t work due to how long they had been there. If it didn’t work I would need bypass surgery on both legs, and they said it would be highly unlikely that I would be able to run again. Thankfully, the Thrombolysis procedures were successful.
‘The overriding light from the whole experience were the nurses and doctors in Jack Steinberg Ward and throughout the hospital at King’s. They were all incredible and I felt completely overwhelmed with gratitude for how they treated me and my family. They didn’t treat me like I was just another patient, they asked me questions about my life and ambitions, they spoke to me like I was their friend, they shared jokes with me and explained what was happening to me in terms I could understand.
‘A new Critical Care Centre will be so important for not only the patients, but for their families and for the nursing staff too. My memories of the current Critical Care Unit are quite disjointed. It was hard to distinguish between day and night, so having huge windows overlooking the park will massively help with the mental wellbeing of those who find themselves awake during their stay. The roof garden will also provide a much needed space not only for patients to be able to feel fresh air, but for families to be able to have some time to reflect without having to go too far from their loved ones.
Find out how you can help us create the world’s best Critical Care Centre at King’s College Hospital.]]>
Becca, who volunteered at the event, said: 'I had a great time - I was inspired by the acts of generosity I witnessed and the appreciation demonstrated by patients for King’s staff. I watched a gentleman silently drop a £50 note in the donation bucket, not wanting to receive any attention. I spoke with a woman undergoing chemotherapy who was adamant about donating all of her coins to show her support. And I watched a four-year-old girl’s eyes light up after her parents bought her a pair of our colourful glasses following her hospital procedure'
Thanks to the generosity of our amazing supporters, we raised an incredible £3,035.85 over the two days at the hospital. Here are some of the highlights!
If you missed out on Get Colourful for King’s, don’t worry as there are plenty of fantastic ways you can support our Critical Care Appeal. Find out how you can help us create the world’s best Critical Care Centre at King’s College Hospital.
We will be selling a variety of super delicious treats at our #GetColourful bake sale today from 9am @KingsCollegeNHS, Golden Jubilee Wing! pic.twitter.com/knD4qLcTnr— Support King's (@supportkings) March 8, 2017
Bright socks? Check. Silly wig? Check. Cakes? YES. We're here today and tomorrow to #GetColourful and raise funds for @KingsCollegeNHS pic.twitter.com/A6La3VulKE— Support King's (@supportkings) March 8, 2017
#nhsmillion walked past these gals raising LOADSA money for the new #criticalcare centre @supportkings #nhs Help support them! #getcolourful pic.twitter.com/aYIA0HFpwV— NHS Million (@NHSMillion) March 9, 2017
Our friends at the Katherine Monk ward have a message for you... #getcolourful for @KingsCollegeNHS pic.twitter.com/0BcMy7VHrB— Support King's (@supportkings) March 9, 2017
Staff in King’s Liver Intensive Therapy Unit worked tirelessly to stabilise and protect her but Katie remained in a critical condition for almost two weeks before sadly passing away on 7 June 2016. Katie died from a rare, sudden and very severe illness called ‘acute hemophagocytosis’ which can be triggered by a viral infection similar to that which causes glandular fever. For reasons that are poorly understood, in some young people this viral infection can lead to an abnormal and overactive immune system response that can rapidly result in organ failure and critical illness.
‘It was all very sudden for us to come to terms with and a very tense couple of weeks,’ says Michelle. ‘But the hospital was amazing, and all the staff on that unit were amazing, not just for Katie but for us as well. They were very concerned for our wellbeing – as much as they were for Katie.’
One of the nurses arranged accommodation in the Salvation Army building around the corner from the hospital so Michelle and husband Jared could be close to Katie. ‘Every morning we were there, we were asked, “have you eaten today? Have you slept?”,’ Michelle says. ‘On top of all the other things they needed to think about, and the intensity of their roles, to be thinking about us as well was very generous and kind at such a difficult time.’
After Katie passed away, family and friends rallied round and asked what they could do to help. Michelle asked them to donate blood – and to donate to King’s. ‘At Katie’s Celebration Day, when we said our goodbyes, we had a collection and raised more than £1,400 each for King’s and the Salvation Army.’
Michelle and friends fundraising through a skydiving challenge
Michelle taking part in the Great South Run. Michelle, Harry, Jared after Great South Run
Friend Ian, who raised money by shaving off his beard
Many people fundraised for King’s in Katie’s memory. Michelle’s friends did a skydive and raised almost £2,000, another friend held a cake sale and Jared’s workplace held a collection. Michelle, Jared and son Harry took part in the Great South Run, Michelle’s mum’s darts league raised money and the couple even received a random £10 in an envelope through the door. Most recently, their friend Ian raised more than £2,000 shaving off his beard.
‘Katie was the most wonderful daughter and we would do anything to bring her back, but for family and friends, they just wanted to do something, to give something back to the hospital.’
This year, Michelle's sister Kathryn has organised a charity golf event in April and the family are planning a gala evening and raffle in October. ‘We’re aiming to get our overall total up from £11,000 to £19,000, because it would have been Katie’s 19th birthday this year.’
Michelle hopes the money will be used to make life better for families in a similar situation to the one they tragically found themselves in.
‘We would like the money to be used to make things a little easier, a little less pressure on the wards,’ Michelle says. ‘What happened to Katie was very rare, and we wouldn’t want anyone else to go through what we went through.’
Here are more ways you can celebrate the memory of loved one, just as Katie’s family have, and make a difference at King’s College Hospital.]]>
Sue and Gordon had only been married for four months after having initially met at school, and last seen each other 34 years ago. ‘I knew straight away that she was the girl I would marry. In fact I felt sick, love sick.’ says Gordon.
Gordon and Sue on a night out
Gordon didn’t waste any more time, he proposed five months later and immediately started planning their wedding; the only things Gordon didn’t organise was the flowers and Sue’s wedding dress!
Gordon was on his way to meet Sue to do some Christmas shopping with their girls when he got the call that Sue had been taken to King’s. When Gordon arrived at the hospital he was informed that Sue had had a massive bleed on the brain and that it didn’t look good.
‘My whole world suddenly fell to bits.’ says Gordon.
The doctors explained that Sue probably had this from birth, and it could have happened at any time.
‘When I saw Sue my heart broke and I didn’t want to leave her side.’ And he didn’t, Gordon slept on chairs in the waiting room, stayed at a local hotel and commuted from home in Essex. The family also postponed Christmas, New Year’s, Gordon’s brother’s wedding and a holiday.
Thankfully Sue did survive and Gordon says ‘It was all down to the amazing critical care staff and equipment.’
‘Sue will need a lot of care, and it will take time, but she will get back to her old self when unfortunately others are not as lucky.’ And this is why Gordon is supporting our Support Life Appeal.
Gordon says ‘The one-to-one 24 hour care blew my mind and when I found out how much treatment costs that made me determined to try and pay back what they had done – for saving my best friend and soulmate.’
Gordon is focusing on raising money for the new Critical Care Centre and wants to raise as much money as he can.
Gordon is now in planning mode and arranging various events to fundraise over the coming months – one of his first events will see their daughter Mille shave Gordon’s head during assembly at her primary school, then in the summer he’ll be taking part in a skydive that will take him far out of his comfort zone!
If you’d like to show your support for Gordon and help him raise as much as possible, please visit his fundraising page to donate: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Gordon-Campbell-barr.
You can take on any challenge, big or small, to fundraise for the Support Life Appeal just like Gordon did. Find out more about ways you can get involved.]]>
Terry Curtain, Andrea’s stepfather, was taken to King’s in early December 2016 after falling 44 feet through a cowshed roof while at work. Terry had lots of serious injuries and the family were told that he may not survive the night.
Terry spent 12 days in critical care and then moved to the High Dependency Unit for a further three weeks.
The family were amazed at the level of care Terry received. Andrea says ‘The staff were amazing and attentive and tried so hard to make the patients relaxed and comfortable.
I will never forget the day I visited and found that a nurse named Adrian had discovered my stepfather’s love of Meat Loaf's music. We walked into his room and found him listening to Bat Out of Hell with Adrian; Terry was even able to do a bit of air guitar for us!'
'Seeing Terry look more like his old self, a man seriously ill on a ventilator and his nurse rocking to Meat Loaf together was the best thing ever.’
After five weeks at King’s Terry moved to a hospital close to home and is now continuing his recovery at home with visits to King’s to check his progress.
‘I’d been dieting since September but thought that if I did a sponsored slim-a-thon I could do something for King’s and the sponsorship would also help keep me motivated to lose the weight.’ says Andrea.
As well as sponsorship from donors Andrea and her friend Jo, who is also dieting, have decided to pay the £5 weekly cost for their slimming group into the fund. Andrea is also planning some fundraising events at local pubs to help boost the total!
If you’d like to support Andrea in her fundraising challenge, you can donate here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Andrea-gregory1.
Find different ways you can get involved and fundraise to support the Support Life Appeal, just like Andrea has.]]>
She was inspired to take on the challenge not only by seeing the treatment patients receive every day, but also from her own lifesaving surgery she underwent at the hospital five years ago.
After preparing and training for the course in the UK, Juli travelled to Stockholm and entered the race, being the only British woman to take part.
In difficult conditions, she finished the race in 5 hours 19 minutes – even though at 36km she ‘hit the wall’ and suffered painful leg cramps that almost caused her to withdraw.
“It was the best experience of my life and I feel so accomplished and enjoyed every painful minute of it. Would I do it again? Yes but with proper cross country skates and not hockey ones.
I may not have placed anywhere, but for me I placed for myself by finishing the race - that was all that I wanted to do. I have fulfilled a lifelong dream.”
You can help Juli reach her target of £2,000 by donating here.
Juli suffered complications following keyhole abdominal surgery in 2011, where it was discovered she had masses of adhesions around her bowel. Upon being rushed to A&E at King’s, Juli had the scary experience of being told she had a bowel perforation.
‘I knew something was very wrong when I was wheeled into the resuscitation area immediately,’ says Juli. ‘All I can remember is my surgeon, Mr Schulte, telling me I required urgent surgery. My daughter was beside herself, frantically calling family to get them to come in as they weren’t sure I was going to pull through.’
Juli came round from the surgery three days later and spent a week in Critical Care, before being transferred to Lister Ward for recovery. She has since had three further operations and thankfully, after many months, Juli made a full recovery.
‘I have been adhesion pain free for 18 months,’ says Juli. ‘Since my life was saved I’ve wanted to give something back to King’s.
‘At work I see the amazing work and life-changing surgery performed in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery for patients who have suffered terrible head and facial injuries. I feel that fundraising so that further research can continue in this field will be the best way I can contribute.’
Juli has been ice skating for most of her life. She played ice hockey for 16 years until her surgery unfortunately put an end to her playing competitively, but she hasn’t let it stop her skating for fun.
Before the event, she spoke of the challenge ahead;
‘Although Mr Schulte told me that I could not play hockey ever again, I was determined to get back on the ice and went for a cheeky skate two months post-op, just for 15 minutes to slowly skate round.
‘For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to be able to skate on a large natural frozen surface. The best place to do this is in the Scandinavian region and I heard about this race - the Vikingarännet - through friends.
It takes place on the old frozen Viking waterways in Sweden. Currently I’m in training whilst working at an outdoor ice rink, where I’m skating for anything from two to five hours per day to build up stamina and strength. I hope to complete the race in about three hours.’
Juli aims to raise £2,000 towards supporting research to help advance treatment for patients suffering from head, neck, facial and jaw conditions.
‘I’ve seen the incredible work these surgeons perform and the fantastic outcomes that patients have as a result,’ says Juli. ‘I’m keen to fund ongoing research that will help make outcomes even better for these patients.’
Follow Juli’s training progress on her Facebook page and to support her in reaching her target, you can donate on her fundraising page.
There are many ways you can fundraise to support King’s – and they’re not all quite so chilly! Find out more.]]>
A brave thing for most people to take on, it’s particularly incredible for Tom as he is currently having daily radiotherapy treatment. Their challenge, named Thames 100: Never Give Up, has so far raised over £4,000.
In spring 2015 Tom had lifesaving surgery to remove a tumour from inside his spinal cord. The condition he had is rare and the surgery was very risky. Tom was told that he had a strong chance of ending up in a wheelchair or worse. Thankfully, the surgery was a great success.
‘The skill of the surgeons and the fantastic care I received at King's enabled me to make a miraculous recovery,’ says Tom. ‘Within a month or so I’d completed my first fundraising event for King's.’
However, despite this initial success, surgeons were unable to remove all of the tumour and in November 2016 Tom was told that he’d need a long course of radiotherapy over Christmas and the New Year, stretching into February 2017.
Tom decided that he wanted to do something special to support the hospital that saved his life and started planning the 100-kilometre row. Not only this, but he has an inspiring message of hope to share with other cancer sufferers.
‘I want to show that you can still be active and still do something useful - even after spinal surgery, even when you have cancer,’ explains Tom. ‘I hope that this will also help people going through similar experiences to me.
‘If I'd known when I was going through it that people were still able to do so much after surgery, it would have really helped me recover. This is why the challenge is called: Thames 100: Never Give Up.’
Tom was supported by friends and family for the challenge, which went on over two days and finished on New Year’s Day at Tower Bridge. The team consisted of Tom and Toby Gould as the rowers, with Becs Boyce as the all-important cox. They were helped by rowing legend, John Graham, and Sunbury Skiff and Punting Club, who managed the event and provided support to the crew.
‘We didn’t quite know if we were going to make it,’ says Tom. ‘The first day had a great atmosphere with lots of supporters seeing us off and cheering, and some lovely picturesque views. The second day was more heads-down-and-row. The final stretch was the hardest as it was against the tide, it was really tough.’
The determined team completed the challenge despite terrible weather conditions of pouring rain. They celebrated afterwards with family and friends at a party held nearby the finishing line.
The crew at the end - Toby Gould, Becs Boyce and Tom.
‘It feels amazing, I can’t quite believe we managed to do it,’ says Tom. ‘Because of the radiotherapy I’ve been having at the same time, I didn’t know what affect it would have on me. But that’s the point of it, to show that you don’t have to be a victim.’
Tom’s final radiotherapy session is on 6 February 2017. His moving message, which can be seen on his Facebook page, remains powerful and strong – never give up!
If you’d like to show your support of Tom and his incredible achievement, please visit his fundraising page to donate.
You can take on any challenge, big or small, to fundraise for any part of King’s, just like Tom did. Find out more about ways you can get involved.]]>
St Paul’s Academy in Greenwich did some fantastic fundraising this year and raised an incredible £2,000 for King’s.
Pupils and staff held a Jersey Day last October, where they wore a sports shirt to school in exchange for donations. The students decided the money raised should go to Lion Ward, where one of their fellow pupils, Martin Shittu, was cared for.
The school has supported King’s since Martin was treated at the hospital for a brain haemorrhage in 2012. Martin, who was in year 7 when he first fell ill, spent 16 weeks on the children’s ward from January 2012.
Thanks to the care he received at King’s and then at a rehabilitation centre in Surrey, Martin was able to return to St Paul’s in autumn of the same year. He has since completed his GCSEs last summer and recently began his sixth form course there.
The Academy has raised over £5,250 since 2012, thanks to their incredible efforts.
‘Colleagues, students and their families have witnessed first-hand the magnificent treatment and facilities provided at the hospital,’ says Principal of the Academy, Patrick Winston.
The money raised from the Jersey Day was presented to Lion Ward Manager, Rani Kamaran-Nair and staff member, Betty at an awards ceremony in November. This was particularly poignant as Rani looked after Martin during his stay on the ward.
‘We hope these recent funds raised will to support Lion Ward’s work in helping change and improve the lives of patients and their families across South London and beyond,’ says Patrick. ‘As an Academy, we will be continuing to fundraise for King’s College Hospital for many years to come.’
Supporting the hospital at school is a great way to fundraise – and so much fun too!
Find out more about how your school can get involved.]]>
"Without the Roger Dobson Fund's support, many of the discoveries we’ve made would have been impossible." - Professor Giorgina Mieli-Vergani, Director of Paediatric Liver Service
The Roger Dobson Fund has raised over £200,000 since it was formed 10 years ago, and tireless fundraising by family, friends and many others means it won’t be stopping there.
The fund contributes to the study of autoimmune liver disease in children and young people, with the aim of finding safe treatments that improve quality of life and, in the future, to cure the condition altogether.
The Magic Carpet is a fantastic piece of kit for children and young people of all ages and abilities. It can be wheeled to children’s beds when they’re not able to leave them to provide a more stimulating environment.
The funds were raised from the Bromley Rotary Club’s Christmas Concert in December 2015. Sian and many other PRUH staff went along to enjoy the festivities, which included performances from the Bromley Temple Band of The Salvation Army and the Bromley Boy Singers, along with other special guests.
Above image: Major Melvyn Ackroyd from the Rotary Club of Bromley with PRUH children's ward staff Karen Littler and Sian Spencer-Little showing off the Magic Carpet.]]>