Gill’s Blog



Happy New Year to all who read this! The Charity team has come back to a flurry of activity after a restful Christmas and New Year break. But we never pause completely – our offices were staffed in between the two celebrations, and we continued to speak with our donors and supporters even during that quiet time. We ended the year on a good note. We had some lovely festive events, and received two sizeable gifts to support the purchase of our new gene sequencer, which will speed up the diagnosis and therefore treatment of many potentially fatal genetic conditions. But not all gifts have to be large – gifts of all sizes can make a mountain of a difference – quite literally. In my previous life, at The National Trust, we ‘bought’ Snowdon, and if you take out the handful of very large gifts, we raised over £1 million through an average gift size of £37. It’s a bit like voting – you may think your vote doesn’t count but it does. Without gifts of all sizes, we would not buy equipment, build buildings, support our patient care programme and provide music and art at our hospitals. So, while…

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We have been so lucky this month – support for our Charity and our causes has come from so many different people in so many different ways. It’s what makes working here so extraordinary and warm. Nick Robinson gave an inspiring speech at our St Luke’s Carols by Candlelight Concert last week.He talked about his journey from cancer to recovery and how, through that process, he lost his voice – and I don’t just mean how you lose your voice when you have a cold. Nick lost it for a significant period of time. And for a journalist broadcaster, that must have been devastating. But he dedicated his talk to his Royal Brompton team of doctors, nurses and other staff, and especially, Dr Julia Selby, Clinical Lead Speech and Language Therapist. He said that he would not be here today if it weren’t for their help in getting rid of the cancer and relearning to speak. Thank you to Nick and also to Savills UK Director, Noel De Keyzer, for his company’s support and for reading for us. All our readers were excellent. Our choirs that night were superb – Youth with a Mission sang a beautiful gentle song called…

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The last couple of weeks have again been a whirlwind of activity here at the Charity. I’ll start by saying a huge thank you to our Chair of the Fundraising Committee, Helen Putter, for making our Women at the Heart of the Matter event such a success. But not only was it successful, it was also thoroughly enjoyable and educational. Held in the beautiful Apothecaries’ Hall, it was the perfect location to reach our target to buy a brand new and vital piece of medical equipment. Called an EndoPAT, this piece of equipment helps consultants diagnose and subsequently treat women with cardiovascular disease quickly and non-invasively. This fantastic piece of life-saving kit became the focus and theme for our event. Assisted by one of our wonderful Trustees, Caroline Bault, as well as the Charity team, Helen hosted a fabulous luncheon and auction, and, to our delight it raised more money than the equipment costs. So, we have also raised funds for our One gene, all the difference appeal to expand Royal Brompton’s Genetics and Genomics Laboratory, which is growing to be a truly world-class diagnostic centre for serious genetic heart and lung conditions. The purpose of the luncheon was primarily…

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As the weather turns colder, our thoughts turn to winter, and have we got a winter of events for you! Please come and join us at some – or all – of them. Kicking off the festive season is our Royal Brompton Christmas Gift Fair this very Monday (14 November) at Chelsea Old Town Hall from 10am to 4pm. If I’m honest, I thought that this would be a small, first foray into an event like this, with a handful of stalls – if it worked, well, we may enlarge it for next year. In actual fact, we have gone from a standing start to a whopping 35 stalls, each one more exciting and more festive than the last. I have not bought a single present yet because I plan to buy as many items as possible on Monday. Our stallholders have given the charity a generous donation to be there, and they will give a further 10% of their takings after the day. Entry is free, so do pop down at some point during the day, if you can, and have a browse. To see a full list of our wonderful stallholders, please click here. And the fundraising activities…

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This week has not been the cheeriest. What is happening in the NHS right now is quite extraordinary. I sit in meetings where budgets are scrutinised and savings are made wherever possible and yet nothing is allowed to happen. This will jeopardise the fantastic patient care and treatment the service provides. No hospital is an ordinary hospital, and no patient is an ordinary patient. But I feel particularly proud of the two hospitals we support. The passion to treat our patients – many of whom are really poorly children and adults – and mend them and send them home governs everything. And what can we do here at the Charity to play our part? The income we raise is now more vital than ever. We still only fund projects and programmes that lie outside the remit of the NHS, but these are often completely pivotal to daily life. NHS budgets don’t stretch far enough to build a new Intensive Care Unit at Harefield or develop a world-class Genetics and Genomics laboratory. And to think that you and I, and our fellow fundraisers, volunteers and charity staff are making some of these projects possible is very moving. When I eventually stop…

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My goodness, a lot has been going on. I’m pleased to say that no-one burnt their feet at our first ever Fire Walking Challenge last week – I was too frightened to look, let alone take part, but our wonderful fire walkers took a deep breath and raised over £6,000 towards the extension to Harefield Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit. Since our generous donors are helping us build this state-of-the-art facility brick by brick, this one event alone contributes 120 bricks – quite a sizeable chunk of wall. Thanks to all of you who have sponsored bricks already. We have had a bit of a nightmare getting this through the planning process and then liaising with tenders, but we have now crossed the final hurdle and soon these bricks will transform from being virtual to becoming very real. To find out more about how you can help us in our ambition, please click here. We really like to involve our donors and supporters in our work, and one fantastic way of doing this is by showing them behind the scenes at out fantastic hospitals. This Thursday (6 October) we are giving donors a tour around Royal Brompton’s Genetics and Genomics Laboratory – somewhere most…

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