Sadly, just two weeks before his 18th birthday, Dan caught pneumonia and passed away.
‘The staff were absolutely brilliant. The nurses and doctors were fantastic and showed their full support. It was this passion and care that Dan received that moved us to fundraise for King’s.’ says Jane.
Dan was a keen cricketer and it was because of this love that Jane decided to hold a charity cricket match. The first match raised £3,500 and each match since has raised more and more money.
This year Jane decided to go bigger, not only have they continued with the tombola and raffle – which have brought in some fantastic prizes such as a cricket bat signed by both the England and Australian teams – but they have added a BBQ to try and get as many people as possible to attend.
Jane says ‘I just praise King’s. Every day if I could mention King’s College Hospital I would. I can’t thank them enough and we will carry on doing our fundraising each year and raise as much money as we can.’
Inspired by Jane’s story? You can sponsor her here or find out how you can take on your own challenge to support King’s College Hospital!]]>
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 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.’
Katie’s parents have also been raising funds for King’s College Hospital’s Liver Intensive Therapy unit (LITU) in Katie’s memory. The LITU us a unique specialist facility with a worldwide reputation for the care of critically ill patients with liver disease, major injuries and acute liver failure (ALF).
Throughout Katie’s time at King’s she was heavily reliant on blood products. Her friends and family have been raising awareness of this and have collectively encouraged 60+ people to donate so far.
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.]]>
The funds have been used to buy a vital piece of equipment used by surgeons during minimally-invasive brain surgery. The endoscopic ultrasonic aspirator is a long, thin, flexible tube that allows surgeons to remove tumours quickly.
King’s Consultant Neurosurgeon Chris Chandler says: ‘We’re the busiest neurosurgery team in the UK for tumours. This unit would not be where it is without this kind of donation. This device allows us to do cases that we would never have been able to do in the past.’
The device has already been used on more than 50 patients, including many children.
‘Sometimes the corridors we have to operate through are very small,’ says Chris. ‘This makes it easier to treat babies and children. We’re second only to Great Ormond Street Hospital in the number of children we treat and in addition we treat adults of all ages. Safety, accuracy and outcomes are improved through using smaller equipment.’
Paul’s father Malcolm said: ‘We’re really pleased to hear that this equipment will make such a difference – better for patient, easier for the surgeon.’
Chris says: ‘I cannot overestimate how important this equipment is, it makes such a difference. King’s is leading edge and this allows us to up our game, raising the bar higher and keeping King’s at the top.’
Paul’s partner Hayley says: ‘I am very overwhelmed with how the money has helped out King’s College Hospital and I think that Paul would be incredibly proud of what he has achieved. I am very proud to have known Paul and what an amazing person he was.’
We are so grateful to Paul’s family at such a difficult time for their continuing commitment to and support for King’s.
Lead image: Paul's parents Malcolm and Linda Gallihawk and his partner Hayley with Chris Chandler (second right) and Clinical Director Ranj Bhangoo, who performed Malcolm’s brain surgery.]]>
‘Our son Thomas was diagnosed in March 2017 with Type 1 diabetes. When you get diagnosed there’s a lot to take on board, both from Thomas’ perspective and the family as a whole.
‘Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong condition and something one has to learn to live with. We went to King’s for four days after Thomas went in A&E and was diagnosed. We received absolutely fantastic all round service from King’s. All the staff were really supportive and made the process for Thomas and ourselves easier to accept and cope with!
‘When the opportunity came to support the diabetic team at King’s, we felt it would be a great way to get the family together, give back and say thank you. We also hope to help other patients and families like ours who might need support with diagnosis and treatment of diabetes, now and in the future.
‘Thomas and our whole family were happy and proud to be a part of the race in the stunning setting of Greenwich Park and we are all looking forward to supporting YDC again in the future.
‘By running as a family and fundraising for YDC we were hoping to spread more awareness on Diabetes Type 1, help our son build confidence and prove that whatever your diagnosis you can make a difference and live a normal life.’
Young Diabetes Connections provides education and fun events for children and young people with diabetes. Find out all the ways you can get involved to support patients at King’s.]]>
‘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
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.]]>