Jumping for Bill: The abseiling Ronnies
Meet ‘The Three Ronnies’ (now four since a new member joined) - Aisling, Anne-Marie, Paul and Gosia are taking part in the St Thomas' Abseil 2018 where they will descend 160ft to raise money for St Thomas’ Hospital.
The team felt inspired to give back following the treatment of their uncle and friend Bill who, aged 90, had to have his right leg amputated below the knee.
Late last year, Bill visited his GP because of pain in his right leg. He discovered that he had unknowingly suffered several blood clots and was sent to St Thomas’ A&E and was later admitted to the Sarah Swift ward for immediate surgery.
Bill’s surgery involved a bypass from his left leg to his right leg to open new pathways for blood to flow to his foot. After one week, it was decided that there wasn’t enough blood flowing to his right foot for it to function without extreme pain. After much consideration, Bill opted for a below the knee amputation. The operation was a success, but Bill’s mood was low. After changes to his medication, Bill declared he was ready to leave the hospital and be transferred to the rehabilitation centre.
‘The physio team were superb,’ says Paul. ‘Combining technical knowledge with humour and compassion, they cajoled and nagged Bill into regular exercise. After seven weeks, Bill transferred to the community rehabilitation centre in Kennington, and a further seven weeks later he was sent home. Bill is just on the start of his journey. Since leaving the rehabilitation centre, he’s suffered a few falls and is currently back in St Thomas’ recovering from flu and another secondary infection.’
Impressive care at the rehabilitation centre
The team spoke of how impressed they were with Bill’s care in both the hospital and the rehabilitation centre:
‘The staff were amazing; the nurses, support staff, the consultants - everybody. We knew they were on the top of their game - they were knowledgeable, quick to share information and most importantly for us, we could see they really cared about Bill.’
Paul and his fellow Ronnies wanted to do something that showed their appreciation for the care and love Bill received. When they saw the adverts for the abseil, they knew this was their opportunity to raise money for a worthy cause. ‘It was an easy decision,’ says Paul, ‘dress up and then jump off the top of a building? What could be better!’
The ‘Ronnies’ theme
As the name suggests, the team were going to abseil down St Thomas’ dressed as Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett also known as ‘The Two Ronnies’. While Paul is staying true to this idea by wearing Bill’s 1964 dinner suit and frilly blue shirt, Aisling has reinterpreted the Ronnies theme and will be dressed as Ron from Harry Potter. Anne-Marie and Gosia are holding their costumes back for a surprise.
The Ronnies have been active fundraisers, smashing their original target and raising it twice. They’re planning a final push leading up to the abseil to help reach their new target of £1,500. They hope the money raised will help other families through difficult times.
‘We’re expecting a big old crowd, both family and friends, who’ve promised us a big cuddle and some bubbles when we make it to the bottom,’ says Paul.