A thank you for Tom’s treatment

When Tom, one of David Boyce’s three children fell critically ill in 2017 - it looked like he wouldn't survive. The then 18-year old student became ill with pneumonia while studying at Cardiff University. Tom’s condition declined so rapidly, his family was preparing to say goodbye.

Man in sports gear, walking in his garden holding a sign with 30 on it
David Boyce, taking part in one of his 30in30 challenges

As a final effort to save Tom’s life, he was transferred to St Thomas’ Hospital for urgent care, where he underwent ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation) treatment.

ECMO temporarily replaces the work of the lungs or heart in patients with severe lung or heart failure, similar to dialysis for kidney failure, allowing their organs to heal.

Thankfully, Tom has since recovered fully and has restarted his degree, he is currently in his second year. In 2018, David paid tribute to the team who cared for Tom by raising over £25,000 by walking 182 miles to raise money for Guy’s and St Thomas’.

Supporting Guy’s and St Thomas’ Staff through the crisis

Staying fit and checking-in with your neighbours is particularly challenging during this time of COVID-19. But David, 53, from Claygate in Surrey has found an opportunity to do both by participating in the #30in30 challenge with his neighbours.

The Guy’s and St Thomas’ fundraiser, which encourages people to do something 30 times in 30 days particularly close to David’s heart, as all the money raised from the appeal goes directly towards supporting staff working at the forefront of the coronavirus pandemic.

Thanks to donations made through the appeal - the Trust has opened wellbeing zones where staff can relax, rest, and recharge and speak to training wellbeing advisors. As well as a place to unwind after a difficult shift, staff can also access practice support including a laundry service, and food and drink discounts on Trust sites.

Going the social distance with #30in30

David has continued his fundraising since 2018 - but with all of his summer walks cancelled due to coronavirus, he needed to re-think. One of his neighbours came up with the idea for a collective walking marathon on a Mutual Aid WhatsApp chat (a community support group set up during the coronavirus lockdown).

The Boyce family were joined by 10 other households from his neighbourhood to collectively walk the 25 miles of a marathon around the island in the middle of their street. Each family took on 5655 laps separately to make sure they were safely observing social distancing rules. You can support the team's fundraising efforts here.

David says:

‘I love walking and with options limited at the moment about where we can go, it felt like a good way to get everyone involved, whilst giving a big shout out to the great work of the staff at Guy’s and St Thomas’.
‘It was a really great day and I think it might have helped bring our little community a bit closer together.’

Stepping it up with solo laps

Not stopping with his community marathon - David has gone several steps further with his own #30in30 challenge. To raise more funds and awareness to support Guy’s and St Thomas’, he walked a mile a day in his garden over 30 days.

‘It’s 25 laps around my garden to make up a mile and it took me around 35 minutes. I decided I wanted to do it to give me an opportunity to tweet positive messages of support and carry on raising awareness for the great work of the Trust.’ He explains.

Fundraising efforts like David’s make a huge difference for the staff at Guy’s and St Thomas’.

Catherine Hart, Director of Fundraising for Guy’s and St Thomas’, said:

‘A huge thank you to David and his neighbours for raising funds for our coronavirus campaign. Both his community marathon and #30in30 challenge prove that despite being stuck indoors, there are still ways to get involved. All of the money raised will go directly to supporting the hardworking staff at this crucial time.’

Feeling inspired? Why not do your own fundraising?