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Father’s 250-mile challenge for NICU which saved his son

A father of a six-year-old boy is taking on a formidable challenge to raise money for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit where his son spent the first week of his life.

Henry Hume was born at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital in March 2013 following what had been a routine pregnancy for mum, Justina and dad Tom as they waited for the birth of their first child.

However, things quickly took an unexpected turn for the worse and baby Henry was rushed to NICU with persistent pulmonary hypertension which is a failure of the normal circulatory transition that occurs after birth.

Now, Tom, who is a vet and director at Westover Veterinary Centre, and his business partner Toby, an experienced triathlete, plan to run, cycle, swim and canoe about 250 miles starting on July 11 to raise money for NICU as a thank you to the staff on the unit for caring for Henry who is now a happy and healthy six year old.

Tom, from Thurning, near Briston, explained how joy quickly turned to fear following the birth of his son: “In layman’s terms, Henry’s lungs hadn’t inflated so his blood kept choosing the easy route, through the hole in the heart that all babies are born with, but in the process it was bypassing the lungs and circulating around his body without being re-oxygenated.

“Being a vet I had some limited understanding of the numbers on the intensive care monitors.

“The figure that I will never forget is the level of his oxygen saturation. In animals, anything less than 98% is abnormal and below 90% we would be pretty worried. I am fairly sure the numbers are similar in human medicine and I was watching as Henry’s number fell and fell, eventually bottoming out at 45%.

“The NICU team were incredible, there were five of them crowded around this tiny baby. He was too small to get intravenous access via his arms so they had to cannulate his umbilical vessels to establish IV access.

“He was then anaesthetised and placed in a coma to allow them to mechanically ventilate and inflate his lungs.”

Henry was in the coma for a week, but slowly the support machines were withdrawn and he went from strength to strength.”

Tom said: “We will both be eternally grateful for the lifesaving care in the first six hours after his arrival and then ongoing during that week.

“Ever since that day I have wanted to raise money for NICU to show my appreciation for such an incredible service and also to try and help their resources and enable them to help others.”

Tom and Toby will take on some huge challenges after setting off on July 11:

Day 1 – set off from North Walsham, run seven miles to Aylsham before swimming eight miles of the River Bure to Coltishall where they will camp for the night.

Day 2 – canoe 35 miles from Coltishall to Yarmouth.

Day 3 – cycle of 130 miles to Hunstanton.

Day 4 – run 30 miles from Hunstanton to Stiffkey.

Day 5 – run 30 miles back to North Walsham.

Tom said: “The biggest challenge in training has been getting enough time to get the miles in. I have come to the conclusion that it will be ‘alright on the night’ and that my memories of Henry’s battle to survive will be all the motivation I need to keep my moving.”

In the past, money raised for NICU has helped to pay for incubators, kangaroo chairs for parents and babies, enabled us to enhance the environment and also provided specialist training for staff.

If you would like to sponsor Tom and Toby and support NICU, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/toby-and-tom-westover-vets

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NNUH fundraisers raise £10,000 for cancer charities

A fundraising duo have smashed their original £2,000 target just days before they travel to Scotland to take part in the ultimate challenge.

Lewie and Jonny (Lewis Weatherburn and Jonathan Littlewood), physiotherapists at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, will set off on Friday to run the 96 mile-long West Highland Way.

Thanks to their ambitious plans, they have already raised £10,000 for the N&N Hospitals Charity Boudicca Breast Cancer Appeal and the Big C Cancer Charity.

 This has followed a quiz and burger night, cake sale and a fantastic ball and raffle at Sprowston Manor with over 250 guests.

Lewie and Jonny, who are sharing their progress on social media under the name The Rum ‘Ol Runners, said: “We’re both currently practicing as physiotherapists at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and have seen first-hand how many people are affected by cancer and how this impacts their day-to-day life.

“Breast cancer is something that has a special significance to Jonny’s family and we are both committed to achieving our ambitious fundraising targets.

“We are really looking forward to taking part in the West Highland Way run and hope our training pays off.

“We’ll be motivated by the kind words of support and donations that we’ve received. And also knowing that the money we have raised will make a significant difference.

“We have been overwhelmed at the incredible support and generosity from our families, friends and colleagues not forgetting the amazing businesses who have donated prizes for our events.”

Head of Fundraising at N&N Hospitals Charity Louise Cook said: “Not only have Jonny and Lewie raised an amazing amount of money for our Boudicca Appeal, they have also inspired others to get involved and make a difference.

“They are just the nicest people to work with and we can’t wait to hear about their amazing adventure in Scotland next week.”

You can follow their journey @rumolrunners on Facebook @rum_ol on Twitter and rum_ol_runners on Instagram.

You can make a donation to their appeal here

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Join Becky and become a hospital superhero

ITV Anglia presenter Becky Jago will be joining charity supporters with a head for heights to take part in an abseil down one of Norwich’s most iconic buildings.

The team will be taking part in the 50ft (15m) drop down the side of the Forum on Saturday 22 June for the N&N Hospital Charity Abseil 2019.

Becky will be joined by breast care nurses, hospital staff and members of the public, raising money for the Boudicca Breast Cancer Appeal.

Becky said: “When I heard about the Boudicca Breast Cancer Appeal, I wanted to get involved with the appeal which aims to create a Breast Unit to provide same-day diagnosis service for all patients at the hospital.

“It would be fantastic if there was a huge group of us all encouraging each other over the edge. – I think I may need the help!. So please join me and take the plunge for the N&N Hospital Charity.”

“It is certain to be an incredible experience that you will never forget and all for a great cause.”

Louise Cook, Head of Fundraising, said:  “This is a wonderful opportunity to do something amazing while raising vital funds for the hospital. Your fundraising efforts will make a difference so, whether you are a veteran abseiler, a newbie, newbie, flying solo or grabbing your mates and taking on the challenge as a team, don’t miss out.  Full training and equipment will be provided on the day.”

Contact fundraising@nnuh.nhs.uk to find out more. Registration is £35 and participants must raise a minimum of £100.00, full training is given on the day.

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Marathon challenge supports runner who suffered stroke

A team of more than 20 runners and walkers are preparing for a marathon challenge in support of a friend who was suddenly forced to withdraw from the iconic London Marathon on Sunday, April 28th.

Sarah Knapp, a senior registrar within the Obs & Gynae department at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH), was training for the London Marathon when, several weeks ago, she collapsed at her running club.

Sarah had a stroke and has been treated in Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge and the NNUH and is now back home where she is having intensive therapy and making fantastic progress.

However, she will now be unable to run the marathon this year so the 39-year-old’s friends and colleagues from the NNUH maternity department have decided to run the 26.2 miles for her.

In Sarah’s honour, the team will tackle the marathon distance around the hospital grounds on 28th April, raising money for Sarah’s chosen charity Heads Together and for the maternity fund, part of the N&N Hospitals Charity.

A group of midwives who support each other through running have recruited colleagues from around the department and are hoping that each person will run or walk one mile each. Sarah and her family and friends will also be joining the team on the day with Sarah hoping to walk one mile.

Sarah had planned to run the London Marathon alongside midwives Helen Bowen and Amanda Anderson and will now be showing them support on the day by sending them messages during the race.

Midwife Jo Knox said: “Sarah is a wonderful member of our close-knit team and we wanted to do something to show her the support she has from everyone.

“We felt that taking part together and undertaking the marathon would be a fun way of doing that.”

Sarah added: “Discovering that I’d had a stroke was such a shock, especially as I was the fittest I have ever been.

“However, the love and support that I have received from colleagues, friends and family has been overwhelming.

“I am so grateful to everyone who is taking part in the run and hope that we can raise as much money as possible for Heads Together and the NNUH maternity unit.”

Picture caption: Sarah, back row right, pictured with some of her running colleagues at an earlier event.

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Writer’s book to benefit NNUH Stroke Fund

A former nurse has written a book with half the proceeds from the sale going to the stroke unit at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital where she was treated in 2017.

Lindsay Dowding, who worked at the N&N for 13 years, was taking part in a workshop in Pottergate in Norwich when she suffered a stroke.

She was rushed to hospital within minutes and, two years on, has recovered well.

Now she has penned Charlie the Horse, Owl and the Planning Application, a modern-day fable, which will also benefit the hospital’s stroke team.

She said: The stroke pathway team were fantastic and I recovered after two nights in the acute stroke unit and they saved the day really.”

One year later, friend and artist Lynn Rutherford also suffered a serious stroke and was treated by the same team at the N&N.

Lindsay said: “She was in the opposite bed to what had been mine and she was also under the care of Consultant Stroke Physician Chit Hmu.

“The whole team was fantastic, and against all the odds she has made it and it is all down to the care we received.”

Lindsay, who retired in 2014, will be holding a launch of her book Charlie the Horse, Owl and the Planning Application at The Boars pub on Spooner Row on 17th April.

Set in the village of Spooner Row, near Wymondham, it tells the story of the animals who live in the village and how housing developments, taking over the surrounding fields affect the lives of some of the endangered species living there. Illustrations in the book are by Lynn Rutherford.

While researching the book, Lindsay discovered that the real-life horse Charlie belonged to Darren and Mel Walker, who both also work at the N&N.

Lindsay said: “Half the proceeds from the book will go to the stroke unit because, if it wasn’t for them there would be no book and we wouldn’t be doing this.

“Lynn and I so much wish to help stroke awareness, the fact that you can recover from this and get on with your life in many instances, and to thank Dr Hmu and the entire unit.

“Hospitals are having a hard time at present but their amazing work should be recognised.”

Everyone is welcome to come along to The Boars Pub at Spooner Row, Bunwell Road, on 17 April from 3-6pm.

There will be music by Composer and jazz trumpeter Chris Dowding who has written a song for the book.

Charlie the Horse, Owl and the Planning Application is available from Amazon, Jarrolds in Norwich, Reeves in Wymondham or via email at lcrutherford@btinternet.com or lindsaydowding@btinternet.com

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Football world supports charity gynae appeal

The football world is supporting an appeal by N&N Hospitals Charity to purchase a piece of equipment which could transform the way some ovarian cancer patients are treated in Norfolk.

Former England, West Ham, Chelsea and Liverpool footballer Joe Cole has led the way, speaking of his support for the charity’s gynae VOiCE campaign which supports women going through gynaecological cancers, including vulval, ovarian, cervical and endometrial.

In particular, the charity is looking to purchase a piece of equipment which would provide hyperthermic intraperotoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) – this is a hot chemotherapy bath to the abdomen that is given at the end of surgery. This is now performed in many specialist centres in Europe for advanced ovarian cancer, but is not widely available in UK.

The campaign has been spearheaded by fundraiser David Giess who has worked in the football industry and whose wife, Anne, is being treated for ovarian cancer at the N&N.

Joe Cole urged everyone to support the VOiCE appeal: “My dear friend is currently being treated at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital for ovarian cancer.

“I have witnessed and been told of the excellent work being carried out by Mr Burbos, Dr Wade and all the team in the Gynaecology and Oncology wards in regards to cancer treatments.

“I have donated to the hospital’s VOiCE campaign to raise funds for new equipment to help future victims of this awful disease. Please join me in supporting this appeal and give what you can.”

The hospital charity is holding a prize draw next month with a fantastic line-up of football-related prizes. They include an England shirt signed by Gareth Southgate, Spurs shirt signed by Harry Kane, and signed shirts from Manchester United, Norwich, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal, and a West Ham captain Mark Noble match-worn shirt. There is also a signed Jurgen Klopp cap, signed footballs and many more prizes. All funds will go towards the purchase of the HIPEC equipment and other equipment that can help gynaecological patients.

Mr Nikos Burbos, Consultant Gynaecological Oncologist, said: “It is always humbling when patients and their families choose to support the hospital charity in what are often difficult times for them.

“David and his family have worked incredibly hard to fund raise for the gynae department and, in particular, to enable us to purchase innovative equipment which would otherwise be unavailable to the team.

“It is fantastic to hear how Joe Cole and all the football clubs which have donated items are supporting our hospital and our department to benefit the patients we treat and their families.”

Raffle tickets are available from the hospitals charity by emailing fundraising@nnuh.nhs.uk or will be on sale at The Forum in Norwich on Saturday 23rd March from 10am until 3pm.

Around 7,400 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the UK each year and more than 4,100 women die from it each year. March is ovarian cancer awareness month and the N&N are hopes to raise awareness of the cancer which is often known as a “silent killer” because up to 60% of women are diagnosed once the cancer has already spread.

More information about ovarian cancer awareness month is available at www.ocam.org.uk

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Runner’s marathon bid after friend’s cancer diagnosis

A runner is preparing to tackle the world’s most iconic race in support of the team at Norfolk and  Norwich University Hospital who supported her friend after a cancer diagnosis.

Kelly Thurgood, from Pakefield in Suffolk, will join up to 40,000 others on the starting line of the London Marathon taking place on Sunday 28th April.

It’s the second year, Kelly has taken part in the race, and after being lucky enough to get a place in the ballot for this year, she decided to raise money for Mulbarton ward where Danny Alison was treated.

She said: “When we found out that Danny had been diagnosed with Acute Lymphblastic Leukaemia (ALL) I knew I wanted to support him and the family in some way.

Kelly and Danny Alison

“They were determined that any funds raised should go to Mulbarton ward where Danny was treated.”

 The 32-year-old will be cheered along on the day by son, Elliott, five, and  11-year-old daughter Darcey, who is Kelly’s biggest supporter and often joins in on the training runs.

Danny’s wife, also called Kelly,  said her husband’s diagnosis one year ago was a huge shock and came totally out of the blue.

She said: “He had chest infections and had been suffering from back pain but had just put it down to work.

“One Friday the pain was so bad he went to the N&N and on the Saturday the doctors diagnosed ALL.”  Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia is a type of cancer that affects the white blood cells.

Kelly Alison from Carlton Colville in Suffolk, who has two daughters Sophia, 14, and Jasmin, 11, said Danny underwent chemotherapy before recently having a stem cell transplant.

She said: “It has been a tough year but hopefully Danny has now turned a corner and things will get better.

“As soon as Kelly said she wanted to raise money for us, we were determined that it should go to the team who treated us so well, including [Consultant Haematologists] Angela Collins and Matthew Lawes and nurse Sarah Hicks.

“The whole team was fantastic and I don’t know how we would have coped without them – they really got us through.”

You can support Kelly here http://www.justgiving.com/Kelly-Thurgood

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Boudicca Appeal Smashes £100k milestone

An appeal to build a new breast care centre at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has passed the £100,000 mark thanks to the generosity of fundraisers.

The Boudicca Appeal has reached the milestone four months after its launch after supporters raised money by holding quizzes, coffee mornings and undertaking dry January. Support has also come in the form of legacies and in memory donations.

Future plans include a Superhero Abseil down the side of the Forum in June, a team participating in Run Norwich in July as well as the Summer Fete and Open Day.

The appeal aims to raise £800,000 towards a new facility where patients can have the necessary images taken, undergo a biopsy and see their consultant in one appointment. Currently, not all patients are provided with this same day diagnosis service because of limited capacity in the existing unit.

The N&N Hospitals Charity is now urging even more people to support the appeal by getting behind a series of fundraising events planned for the coming months – including a series of events by the Rotary Clubs of Norwich which include a quiz night, a walk and a special ball taking place in November at the Assembly House

Louise Cook, head of fundraising, said: “We are really grateful to everyone who has supported the appeal so far and helped us reach this important milestone.

“The new breast care centre will make a real difference to the experience which thousands of patients have each year when receiving care, so we would encourage anyone who is thinking of doing some fundraising to please consider supporting Boudicca in any capacity. Just do what you can from holding a cake sale at work to our abseil –everyone can do something.”

Mark Davies, CEO of the NNUH said, ‘’ We are delighted to have reached this milestone so early in our fundraising. We urge people to get behind this appeal so that the target can be reached sooner than later.’’

Anyone who would like to find out more can call the N&N Hospitals Charity on 01603 287107 or visit www.nnuh.org.uk or donate directly on www.justgiving.com/campaign/boudicca

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Club announces Boudicca as charity of the year

Norfolk Snowsports Club has chosen the N&N Hospitals Charity’s Boudicca Breast Cancer Appeal as its charity for the year.

The club, based at Trowse, will be raising money at a number of its events throughout the year which will be announced on the club’s social media sites @norfolkski and facebook.com/norfolkski/

The Boudicca Appeal launched at the end of 2018 with the aim of creating a dedicated breast cancer unit at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH), which will cost £800,000.

Over the past five years, the current breast cancer unit has seen an 80% increase in patient numbers (645 referrals per month in 2018, compared to 360 in 2012).

This means that, after an initial consultation, some women need to go away and wait for an appointment to come back at a future date for further tests.

The new unit will allow for faster diagnosis and treatment and same-day diagnostic tests for all patients.

Norfolk Snowsports is among a number of organisations in the county to have to have pledged their support for the appeal.

NNUH Head of Fundraising Louise Cook said: “We are so pleased that Norfolk Snowsports Club has chosen the Boudicca Appeal as their charity for the year.

“The club is such a fantastic facility on our doorstep with thousands of members of all ages and we are lucky to have them on board.

“Boudicca is the charity’s main appeal for 2019 as we work to make sure the new breast unit is created as quickly as possible.”

The Snowsports Club joins a number of organisations in the city which have chosen to support the Boudicca Appeal this year.

These include the five Norwich Rotary Clubs, The Forum Trust, Eaton Golf Club and Spire Solicitors along with the many individuals and teams taking part in fundraising challenges.

If you would like to support the appeal, please contact fundraising@nnuh.nhs uk or go to www.nnuh.org.uk for more information.

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Challenge of a lifetime for Boudicca Appeal

A staff member at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) is embarking on the challenge of a lifetime taking part in the final leg of the Round the World Clipper Yacht Race in aid of the Boudicca Breast Cancer Appeal.

Daniel Cox, a project management officer within the Surgical Division, will take part in the coveted final leg of the race from New York to Liverpool in June 2020 a journey expected to take more than 22 days at sea.

If that wasn’t enough of a challenge, Daniel is also taking part in the Brighton Marathon in April this year – his first marathon and just one year after taking up running with the NNUH Couch to 5k running club.

Daniel said: “I am coming up to my 50th birthday  and I wanted to mark it with a couple of challenges.

“I grew up in Greenwich which is on the route of the London Marathon and also home to all the maritime heritage so it seemed the perfect challenge – I’ve always had an interest in sailing and done it occasionally and I thoughts let’s do something mad.

“I signed up for the Clipper Race first of all and thought I needed something to drive me and inspire me and am now well into the training programme for the Brighton Marathon.”

The Clipper Race is the only race of its kind where people with no experience of sailing can take part in the challenge which takes in six oceans and 40,000 nautical miles over eight legs.

Although Daniel’s leg of the Clipper Race is more than a year away, the full race starts in July this year and his training has already started in Portsmouth where the Clipper is based.

He said: “It is one of the most challenging things I have ever done. It consists of finding your way around a 70ft racing boat, learning about the different sails and ropes, how to handle the boat and life on board.

“Once at sea, we will work on a shift system of four hours sleep and four hours sailing and sail through the night. There could be up to 20 people on the boat so we are hot bunking – once you’re up someone else is in your bed

“They say even the most experienced sailors can get sea sick but, touch wood, I have not had a problem yet.

“The biggest challenge is not the sailing, because you can learn to sail, but being part of a team and learning to live together for long periods of time at sea.”

Daniel’s family have been very supportive through the mental and physical demands of the training and are 100% behind him as he also raises money for the N&N Hospitals Charity Boudicca Breast Cancer Appeal.

The appeal aims to raise £800,000 to provide a dedicated one-stop-shop breast cancer service where patients will receive diagnostic tests and clinical and imaging assessments on one day.

Daniel said: “I’ve worked at the Trust for two years and it’s a fantastic place to work filled with brilliant people doing amazing things and as part of that I thought what can I do to support it.

“When it comes to cancer, as with so many people, many of my friends and family have been affected by cancer and the Boudicca Appeal was a great opportunity to raise awareness and support this fantastic cause.”

You can support Daniel via his JustGiving page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/danielcox2020

For more information about the Boudicca appeal, go to https://nnuh.org.uk/about-us/latest-campaigns-and-appeals/the-boudicca-appeal/

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