‘In May 2015, I was knocked unconscious during a power boat accident in Southampton Solent. Although my father rescued me and gave me mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, I was at first given a 0% prognosis.
‘When I was taken to the hospital (with paramedics, air ambulance and the RNLI all on hand to assist almost immediately at the incident site), I was checked into A&E and taken almost straightaway to intensive care. My parents were told, “Anyone who you would like to see Simon needs to come now, because we do not think he will make it”.’
‘This was devastating news for my family, but there was a possibility that a team from St Thomas’ Hospital in London could come down to provide specialist care. That is when my family first learnt about ECMO (Extra corporeal membrane oxygenation).
‘In intensive care medicine, ECMO can be used to help patients who are having both heart and lung difficulties. In my case, my lungs had collapsed and were not functioning and therefore ECMO allowed time for my lungs to recover whilst doing their job for them. It removes up to 6.5 litres of blood per minute from the body and artificially removes the CO2 and oxygenates the blood before it returns to the body.
Read more about our amazing ECMO team.
‘Thankfully the amazing team said they would come down to Southampton. Chris Meadows (the ECMO consultant) met with my family and told them about the procedure and the risks. Chris and his team then went and did what they do best. I was incredibly lucky and they said it had gone smoothly.’
‘Thanks to my amazing dad’s bravery and the critical care of the ECMO team, I pulled through. I was on ECMO for five days, which gave my lungs enough time to recover and repair themselves. I spent a total of 21 days at St Thomas’ Hospital before being transferred home.
‘Without the ECMO team and intensive care team in that unit, I would not be lucky enough to be around today. For that reason, I decided that I wanted to give something back, so I ran the London Marathon to raise money for the ECMO unit at St Thomas' Hospital.'
Read about how Simon’s family coped with this traumatic experience – and their wonderful fundraising support.]]>
‘ECMO is like putting a patient on an artificial lung or heart machine. It often ‘buys time’ for someone desperately unwell so that their underlying condition can be treated. Often we treat young people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s with a predicted chance of dying around 80% - 90%. This is converted into a 75% survival rate with ECMO.
‘Guy’s and St Thomas’ is one of five specialised commissioned respiratory ECMO services within the UK. What that means is that we are on-call 24/7/365 for anyone with severe lung failure in our region of 17 million people stretching from Dorset in the West to Margate in the East. Any of the 40+ hospitals in that region can call the ECMO hotline and refer a patient for ECMO. They get to speak to an ECMO Clinical Nurse Specialist and Consultant immediately. Approximately 100 times a year, we activate the ECMO retrieval team and go to place the patient on ECMO in the operating theatre at their local hospital before bringing them back to ‘Guy’s and St Thomas’.
‘Typical patients would be those with influenza or pneumonia, especially during the winter, other inflammatory or infective conditions, asthma, drowning, aspiration of stomach contents into the lungs, or even heart failure caused by viruses or septic shock. They deteriorate so quickly that within hours they find themselves in intensive care having reached the limits of what conventional intensive care can support. At that point, specialist intensive care including access to ECMO may be the only answer and that’s what we offer.
‘We have been running this commissioned service for just over 5 five years now. Currently, the team consists of eight intensive care consultants, thirteen clinical nurse specialists and fifteen perfusionists in addition to physiotherapists, dieticians and pharmacists. The service also relies heavily on the general ICU and is integrated with many other ‘Guy’s and St Thomas’ specialties. ECMO itself has been around since the 1970s in North America but it remains a very specialist service. Nevertheless, it has absolutely revolutionised the care of critically ill patients with severe lung or heart failure.
‘Guy’s and St Thomas’ now runs the biggest lung failure ECMO service in Europe. We have grown over the last five years to such an extent that we’ve outgrown our capacity in intensive care. The Trust has recognised this and has now committed to building a brand new 11-bedded intensive care unit on the 6th floor of the East Wing. This will accommodate our new ECMO unit, and will free up space in the other intensive care units so that we have enough capacity for general ICU patients from the ED, medicine, surgery and other hospitals.
‘What motivated us to fundraise was the fact that we recognise that Critical Care at ‘Guy’s and St Thomas’ needs this capacity. Providing the ECMO service is hugely rewarding – we see ECMO working wonders for young people every day. Many of our ex-patients also raise funds for us through charity dinners or running the marathon, and it is humbling to see this. We all feel so strongly about this new intensive care unit, and the help we will be able to give to more patients, that we wanted to do something to help fund EW6, even if just in a small way!’
You can read how the ECMO saved one of our supporters’ lives
We’re wishing Chris, Nick & Steve all the best for their upcoming abseil – you can sponsor them here. Find out more about how you can donate or start fundraising today.]]>
In November 2011, Steve Manstone had enjoyed a night out at a West End show and an overnight stay in a London hotel, but the next morning he started to feel chest pains and his wife Sue called an ambulance. The paramedics and ambulance crew had to navigate through road closures around the Cenotaph for the Remembrance Day Parade being held that day, but treated him as soon as they arrived and then took him to St Thomas’.
Steve had had a heart attack and as cardiologists prepared him for an operation to open the narrowed arteries and placement of a coronary stent, he had a cardiac arrest. He was successfully resuscitated after four minutes had passed and was so grateful for his care that he has been fundraising for the unit ever since.
Steve has hosted annual golfing tournaments with members of Thames Valley Construction Training Association and has encouraged friends and family to fundraise as well. So far they have raised over £8,000 which has allowed the unit to buy two CPAP machines. These machines help to keep patients’ airways open after a heart attack so they can continue to breathe.
When Steve first starting raising money for the unit, he asked staff how they would like to spend it.
Steve says: ‘I wanted it to be something the staff knew was needed. They told me that one CPAP machine was being shared between three wards – now there is one for each ward.’
Claire Pearson, Deputy Sister on the Coronary Care Unit, explains: ‘Steve had a cardiac arrest right in the middle of the ward. I remember it really clearly – I was the one who resuscitated him’’.
‘Steve is one of those rare people who have kept in touch, which is so lovely. We really appreciate seeing how well he’s doing and it’s been great to meet his grandchildren. To continue to fundraise year after year is phenomenal and has made a real difference to the care we have been able to provide to the patients who came after him.
‘The latest donation to the unit has gone to train more nurses in emergency care skills like resuscitation.’
Steve has been given a clean bill of health and plans to carry on fundraising. ‘I’m so grateful - without the efforts of the staff at St Thomas’ I wouldn’t have seen my daughter get married, celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary, and meet my wonderful grandchildren. I’ve done it simply to say thank you and to give something back. I hope to be able to continue to fundraise in the future’.
There are plenty of ways you can fundraise to say thank you. Find out about all the ways you can support your hospital
Photo: Steve, with grandson Matthew and Claire Pearson, Deputy Sister on the Coronary Care Unit]]>
Lee Michael Walton has always been passionate about music and singing. As a young boy attending chapel in his hometown of Pontardawe in Wales, he loved the sound of the magnificent organ and learned to play from the age of seven, later becoming a professional musician.
As a singer, when Lee was diagnosed with a tumour that left him unable to speak for weeks, it was devastating for him. The tumour had grown in his palate and was now pressing behind his eye. Its rare location meant surgeons at Guy’s took 21 hours to remove all the cancerous tissue.
They took bone, skin and a vein from his leg to rebuild the roof of his mouth and Lee was left with a feeding tube, breathing tube, pain, swelling and on crutches – but he was alive.
‘When I first woke up in Guy’s Hospital I saw two faces,’ Lee recalls. ‘One was the speech therapist and one was the dietician. They simply said: “We’re going to take good care of you”. You can’t underestimate how profoundly positive hearing someone say that to me was.’
Lee couldn’t speak for more than a month and had to write everything down. But doctors were impressed with his determination to recover and to get singing again. It was another 18 months until Lee’s teeth were replaced and he now suffers from frequent sinus infections.
But Lee is now free of cancer. He says he’s grateful for the expertise of the team at Guy’s, especially his surgeon Mr Ricard Simo who Lee still sees for check-ups.
‘It was a horrendous experience to go through but the care I received was amazing, and the nursing so sensitive,’ he says.
Although Lee recovered physically, the mental toll of his experience was extensive and four years ago he had a breakdown. He has since rebuilt his life – thanks in part to music. He is currently creating an album of music called ‘The Journey Home’ and once released, he plans to give 10% of what he receives to Guy’s and St Thomas’.
‘The album is a celebration of the human spirit, about learning through life,’ Lee says. ‘I hope people will enjoy it and gain strength from it too’.
You can read more about Lee’s incredible journey and how you can support the release of his album. There are many different ways you can organise your own fundraising to support your hospital, just like Lee has.]]>
Following a collection at Roy’s funeral, the children took on the incredible challenge of swimming the length of the English Channel – a whopping 22 miles – to raise the awesome amount of £1,066 in total.
Roy was referred to Guy’s Hospital in April 2016 after being first diagnosed with leukaemia three years earlier. Unfortunately it was too late in the progression for any chance of cure, but his condition was managed under the expertise of Professor Claire Harrison.
Roy suffered an infection which made his health deteriorate further. The staff worked tirelessly to get him well enough to be able to spend a short period of time back at home with his family, before he died at Guy’s on 26 August 2016.
Anna says she feels that the treatment her dad had at Guy’s was incomparable to any other care he received.
‘My father’s patient-centred care was carried out with respect, inclusion and dignity by an expert team that worked together,’ she says. ‘We felt that all that could be done was being done and trusted everyone there. The palliative care team at the end were also amazing.’
Anna and her children, 13-year-old Amelia and 11-year-old Hugh, chose to support the Haematology department and the Breathe partnership at the hospital, as they had such positive experiences of both.
Anna recalls a classical piano concert that was a particularly special moment for her dad, one of many which take place at the hospital run by Breathe Arts Health Research in partnership with Guy's and St Thomas'.
‘My father enjoyed an amazing concert in the Atrium one afternoon,’ recalls Anna. ‘We were all inspired by these wellbeing events available for patients and visitors. They seemed to be a great example of how hospitals can care for their patients in ways that support the holistic needs of the patients.’
Amelia and Hugh’s ‘Channel Swim Challenge’ took place throughout the month of November 2016 in their local swimming pool. The determined pair swam 1,416 lengths between them, the equivalent of 22 miles – incredible!
‘We wanted to do it because it was a challenge for ourselves and we wanted to do something for our Grandad,’ say the children of their achievement.
‘The fun parts were swimming and feeling pride after we finished, and the hard part was keeping going,’ says Hugh. ‘Lots of family came to cheer us on for our last session as we completed the last length.’
Amelia adds, ‘We loved watching our total growing, which exceeded our target of £250. We hope that it will help Breathe to continue to put on events at hospitals like those our Grandad enjoyed attending, and that it will help the Haematology department to continue their good work.’
As if that wasn’t fantastic enough, the family plans to continue their support of Guy’s and St Thomas’ in memory of Roy.
‘It is devastating to lose someone close,’ says Anna. ‘Fundraising in my father’s memory has given us a positive focus. It has been a lovely thing to do.’
Fundraising in memory of a loved one can be a generous way to honour them, with the positive focus described by Anna. Find out more about celebrating somebody’s life in this way.]]>
The cinemas screen the very latest releases for free and allow access to patients with wide-ranging needs, offering spaces for wheelchairs and beds as well as standard seats.
Kavita chose to raise funds for breast cancer research after being diagnosed with the BRCA gene, carriers of which are at high risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. Kavita was told that her odds of having breast cancer were 85%, so she opted to have a double mastectomy. Kavita recollects her memorable run here.
‘The staff I met through my 18 months at Guy’s and St Thomas’ were the most dedicated individuals I’ve ever known. To see staff always giving 100%, both physically and emotionally, was hugely motivating at the start of my career.
‘The hospital does an amazing job but it needs additional funds to go the extra mile – whether that’s in patient care or research.
‘I’d always watched the London Marathon as a child and was inspired by the super-heroes (both in and out of costume) I witnessed running, walking and crawling the 26 miles around London’s beautiful landscape. In 2013, I turned 40 and I wanted to mark it positively as I had been diagnosed with the BRCA gene four years previously.
‘I ran the race alone but fundraised with a friend from Dubai, Nicky, who encouraged me during the painful months of training. Together Nicky and I raised £10,000 through the generosity of our friends and family.
‘I hope that our collected funds will help with breast cancer research so that if any of my children are diagnosed with a mutated BRCA gene, they may benefit from as yet undiscovered medical options.
‘For the marathon itself, I travelled from Dubai alone, incredibly anxious, leaving my husband and three gorgeous children at home. On the tube ride to the Marathon, I met loads of people all with their own touching stories.
‘The 12 miles following the halfway mark were the hardest of my life. I shed tears and remembered the past four years and their challenges. I have three young children and need to live a long, healthy life for them.’
‘I will never forget the last part of the Embankment with St Thomas’ Hospital and Big Ben ahead, and the phenomenal crowds on the side-lines. The doubts were piling up in my head, but then I saw a huge group of people cheering just for me. The penny dropped when I saw they were wearing Guy’s and St Thomas’ t-shirts. Their cheers gave me the energy and courage to pass the finish line.
‘I felt elated and proud that I had completed the 26 miles. I’ve managed to inspire my children to believe that one day they can attempt the same challenge and raise funds for a charity close to their hearts.
‘I feel blessed to have been involved with such a wonderful charity and hospital, and to have given back to a community who took care of me as family while I was training.’
Were you successful in the ballot for London Marathon 2017? Why not join Team Guy’s and St Thomas’ and help support your hospital, just like Kavita did!]]>
Following a heart operation in 2014 that didn’t go to plan, Marian ended up spending two months in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at St Thomas’ before she sadly passed away.
Marian encountered various complications, and she was kept on a ventilator. This meant she wasn’t able to speak, but the staff provided her with a white board so she was able to communicate her needs.
‘The nurses were extremely patient with not only mum, but all of us,’ says Amanda. ‘They all communicated with her as a person, not just a patient. The doctors always explained as much as they could to mum, to allow her to be aware of everything.’
Amanda and James remember one occasion when the staff arranged a portable ventilator for their mother so they could take her outside by the River Thames.
‘It allowed her fresh air and a chance to see and smell flowers again, which she loved,’ says Amanda. ‘Just magical in the dark moments.’
Amanda and James say they wanted to fundraise to repay the staff for their kindness. ‘They never gave up on mum and this was just a small thing that we could do to pay back.’
They decided that the two separate runs in May and August were a fitting way to mark their mother’s journey with the hospital and also to remember her by.
Friends and family gathered forces on the sidelines to cheer them on at both events, and the pair lapped up the ‘amazing’ atmosphere.
‘I’d love to see some of this money go towards supporting those fantastic doctors and nurses on the ICU,’ says Amanda. ‘They are incredible people, who deserve so much thanks and praise for the amazing work they do.’
Above right image: Marian on the portable ventilator looking out at the Thames
If you've been inspired by Marian's story, or you'd like to get involved in fundraising for Guy's and St Thomas', you can find out more here.]]>
This weekend over 290 athletes took on the second Guy’s Urban Challenge – a 2.4km run around Guy's Campus, followed by a 15km cycle on a state-of-the-art Wattbike, topped off by a gruelling stair climb to the 29th floor of Guy's Tower – the world’s tallest hospital building.
All our challengers were raising funds for Guy’s Hospital, St Thomas’ Hospital and Evelina London. So far, the total amount raised is over £94,000 – and we're still counting. Here are our highlights of the two-day event.
Getting set to pound the pavements. No shoving at the start line, please!
We're off #GuysUrbanChallenge @KieronJBoyle cuts the ribbon! @SupportEvelina @SupportGSTT @GSTTnhs pic.twitter.com/3lCjrCyysQ— Gemma Peters (@gemmapeters) 30 September 2016
Emma and Caroline Oakley took on their second Urban Challenge, accompanied this year by their friend Michelle, to thank staff at Guy’s and St Thomas’ for treating their dad’s lung cancer.
Emma & Caroline are back with friend Michelle to say thanks to @GSTTnhs for their dad's care https://t.co/g3ImOPoGrV pic.twitter.com/NjFUpZwrej— SupportGSTT (@SupportGSTT) 30 September 2016
A nine-strong team from our Radiotherapy unit slipped on their tutus to run – you were definitely working that orange, guys!
Here's our fabulous radiotherapy team looking radiant and ready to #runspinclimb! pic.twitter.com/u6VF2s6WIj— SupportGSTT (@SupportGSTT) 1 October 2016
Rosh kept the pedals moving fast to raise funds for the new Cancer Centre at Guy’s – you made it look easy, Rosh!
Rosh abseiled down our Cancer Centre, now she's spinning to show thanks for her dad's care https://t.co/zPUtINyULu pic.twitter.com/9EYP2896aP— SupportGSTT (@SupportGSTT) 1 October 2016
#GuysUrbanChallenge 52 mins & 16 secs, £1135 raised so far for Urology Oncology dept treating my Dad - aka BG.❤️❤️@SupportGSTT #runspinclimb pic.twitter.com/Nixnv19yzW— Sue Coates (@suecoates75) September 30, 2016
Thanks to each and every person who took part in the race, to everyone who donated, to the volunteers who helped the challenge run smoothly, and to the firms which provided fantastic prizes for our raffle and much-needed energy boosts to fuel the challengers – you’re awesome!
You can check out more pictures from the two-day event on our Facebook photo album.
Registration is now open for Guy's Urban Challenge 2017 on Saturday 30th September 2017. Register today!]]>
Joanna’s taking on the 2.4km run, 15km spin, and 29-floor stair climb to raise funds for the hospital to thank them for the amazing care they’ve given her mum. She explains how the staff at Guy’s and St Thomas’ have helped her family.
‘In 2013 my mum was diagnosed with a serious blood disorder called Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). After three years of intensive treatment, including chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant, we are delighted that she is now in remission.’
‘The road to full recovery, however, is a long one, and mum is currently receiving pioneering light therapy treatment at Guy’s and St Thomas’. The doctors, nurses and all the staff at the hospital have been absolutely incredible during this difficult time for my mum and our family.
‘I have seen first-hand how, on so many occasions, they have gone above and beyond the call of duty to care for their patients. They continue to be an immense source of support for all of us.
‘My mum is my hero, and so are all the staff at Guy’s and St Thomas’. Taking part in Guy’s Urban Challenge is my way of saying a huge ‘thank you’ to everyone who has helped us along the way.’
‘I’m so glad that we can now count many of the doctors and nurses among our friends – I think that’s a real testament to the hospital’s amazing support network and its brilliant staff. I hope the money I raise will directly help other patients like my mum, and enable Guy’s and St Thomas’ to continue to provide its world-class cancer services to those who need it most.’
If you’d like to support Joanna in her fundraising bid for Guy’s Urban Challenge, you can donate here.]]>