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Supporter Stories

Michael’s story

By Supporter Stories

In May 2022, 76-year-old Michael Marsh was diagnosed with prostate and bladder cancer and treated at the urology department based at Bournemouth hospital.

Michael is now an Aviation consultant after a 38-year long career in as a Captain for British Airways. His cancer diagnosis came as quite a surprise after living a very healthy lifestyle and his cancers being very difficult to find to begin with.

He initially underwent chemotherapy and was then in surgery for more than 11 hours in September 2022 where consultant urological surgeons, Kevin Turner and Amit Mevcha, used innovative robotic technology to give Michael the best chance of recovery.

It’s equipment like this that is enabling the urology department to do more for their patients. However, the hospitals charity funds the things that are outside of scope for the hospital and we’re dependent on our supporters to continue to give their time to helping us.

More recently, Michael is joining our charity in our mission to get as many people as possible of all ages, abilities and genders to sign up to our annual March for Men event to directly support men’s health projects across Dorset.

The event takes place at 10am on Saturday 25 March from Bournemouth Pier Approach and every penny raised will go far beyond the finish line to support men like Michael.

Michael is one of thousands of men across Dorset who have faced men’s health concerns.

He says: “These hospitals gave me a new life; I’ll be marching 5k for men this March to give more men like me a great future. We can all walk or race together to help fund more vital equipment for patients like me. I’m so grateful for the personal care I received and all that has been done for me and my family. Now I’m keen to give back.”

Letter from James Keith

By Supporter Stories

Hello there,

My name is James Keith and I’d like to ask you to support University Hospitals Dorset NHS Charity’s Light Up Our Tree campaign because of the incredible care and support my mum, Beverley Keith and our family received.

It’s very difficult to put into words just how incredible my mum was. Nothing I can say will do justice to the remarkable wife, mum, ‘glam-ma’ and friend we have lost. Mum was the most selfless, kind-hearted and fun loving person. She was uniquely able to engage everyone she met in genuine and heartfelt conversation. To me, she was the ultimate mum who my sisters and I considered to be our best friend. Her life was dedicated to her family and she gave us every ounce of love she could and more.

In November 2020, Mum suffered a severe stroke. She spent the next 62 days in hospital. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we were unable to visit and she spent 55 of those days on her own. Mum was treated on Poole Hospitals’ stroke rehabilitation ward and during this time we began to see that she was making slow progress in her recovery. The only contact we were able to have with Mum was through FaceTime. Sometimes the calls would only last 30 seconds, but every one was so important to us all. Due to her stroke, Mum would often struggle to find the correct words; it was so difficult not being able to be there in person to comfort her. As a family, we know all she would have needed was a hug, and to be powerless was heart-breaking.

Whilst in rehabilitation, Mum contracted Covid-19. Staff exhausted all options to save her but there was nothing more that could be done and she was placed into palliative care. After 55 days we were finally able to visit. I held her hand as my dad, my sisters and I sat together and told her stories about how incredible she was. We told her it was ok to let go and promised we would look after each other.

On 24 January 2021, Mum passed away. Throughout this time, hospital staff were faultless. They did everything with such care and understanding, and we’re so grateful they allowed us onto the ward to visit Mum before she passed. They gave us the gift of time to say goodbye and hold Mum’s hand during her final moments.

On the night that Mum passed away, a nurse named Chelsea changed her into a pale pink gown, brushed her hair, put a small amount of make-up on her and softened the lights. This compassionate act meant so much to me and my family. Thank you to all the staff who were so dedicated to providing my mum with such outstanding care in the most difficult of circumstances.

I have so many wonderful memories of Mum’s breath-taking smile and infectious laughter. My mum, Beverley, was such a bright light in so many people’s lives. This candle will represent the light she has left behind in our hearts.

Thank you

James Keith

Penny Jarvis completes the Chicago Marathon

By Supporter Stories

Penny Jarvis worked for Poole Hospital for over 40 years and retired in November 2021. Penny has fundraised for the hospital for many years, starting with her first marathon back in 1998 and to date has raised over £40,000.

Penny is a marathon distance runner took part in the Chicago Marathon on the 9th October. Penny said after completing the marathon;

“I did a personal best thirteen minutes faster than Boston and I came 1st in my age category, which makes me number 1 in the UK for both the marathon and the mile. Think I must be a late developer!!”

Penny who turns 72 in October, is a member of Poole Runners and is one of the club’s top runners and competitors. Her achievements and fundraisers for the hospital have included various London marathons, Boston marathon, Costa Rica coast to coast, trekking the Great Wall of China, Vietnam cycle and the Miramar cycle challenges. It is safe to say Penny loves a marathon and a challenge.

Michelle Whitehurst completed Comrades 2022 in South Africa

By Supporter Stories

Staff Fundraisers Spotlight  

Michelle Whitehurst completed Comrades 2022 in South Africa

Michelle Whitehurst and Phil completed Comrades in South Africa with 10 minutes to go and within the 12-hour cut off challenge requirements.

Comrades Ultra Marathon is approximately 90km (56 miles) starting at city hall in Pietermaritzburg and finished at the Moses Mabhida in Durban, South Africa.  The NHS has been a big part of their lives for the last 30 years through Michelle’s career, her role as public governor and her volunteering during COVID-19.  Michelle said of her motivation;

“We have both seen the incredible work undertaken by all NHS staff and the £750 raised during this ultra-marathon is to support University Hospitals Dorset NHS Charity and our wonderful hospitals.  We are delighted to have completed this ultra-marathon, although it was the toughest challenge we have ever faced”.

Carole’s Story

By Supporter Stories

Losing both her parents to cancer inspired Carole Loader to start taking on epic challenges to raise money that would make a difference to local cancer services. In 2010, Carole chose to fundraise for our Jigsaw Appeal which saw a brand new cancer unit built on our Royal Bournemouth Hospital site.

A keen long distance runner, Carole ran five marathons in two months and raised £1,050 for the Jigsaw Appeal. Carole raised the bar for her next challenge and in 2012 ran a total of 20 marathons, raising £4,701.

“My motivation comes from the fact that I have had first-hand experience of the devastation cancer causes, and I love the fact that I can take part in a sport that I thoroughly enjoy whilst helping others as they go through a very traumatic time in their lives.” – Carole Loader

Since 2010, Carole has attempted to complete a fundraising ‘mega challenge’ for University Hospitals Dorset NHS Charity every two years, including running Coast to Coast (200 miles in seven days) with her friends Pat and Claire, raising £2861.

In 2018 Carole devised a plan to run a 450km ‘sandwich’ which would see her run four 100km races with a 50km race in the middle, over a period of five months.

“I’m not someone who can just sit back and wait for people to post donations to my fundraising page. I had to keep going bigger every time I set myself a challenge. These days, you rarely just get ‘sponsored’, especially if you’re doing something you absolutely adore like I do with running, regardless of the mega distances. You have to be prepared to go the extra mile and think outside the box” – Carole Loader

Just before Carole started her 450km ‘sandwich’ challenge, she broke her toe and had to wear a boot for six weeks, meaning the race plan was thrown out of the window. Once recovered, Carole eased herself in with the 50km race and then completed two of the 100km races. But, again, injury struck and damage to her achillies tendon meant the races were postponed until much later. The challenge took her 18 months to complete instead of the planned five.

Carole has also raised additional funds for us by, among other things, growing and selling plants and holding bake sales. Carole then had the idea of sewing and selling blankets to other members of the huge running community to which she belongs. She made blankets out of old race t-shirts, backed them with fleece and sold them back to their owners. This has so far raised an incredible £5,000. Carole’s blankets have proven so popular that she has made almost 250 so far and will continue to make more as the orders keep coming in!

“I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported me over the years in my mad quests. My husband John has been fantastic throughout, never stopping me when I come up with new ideas but being the sensible head, making sure I’ve not bitten off more than I can chew. Whilst I can still run and come up with crazy ideas, I’ll definitely still fundraise, as far as I’m concerned, anything I can raise, no matter how much, will benefit someone, in some way, going through cancer treatment.” – Carole Loader

So far, Carole has raised an astonishing total of £17,177 for cancer services at University Hospital Dorset.

If Carole’s story has inspired you and you are interested in supporting one of our current projects then please contact us today!

Colin’s Story

By Supporter Stories

Following a stroke in April 2021, Colin Phillimore decided to raise funds to support our Walkerbot fundraising appeal. The new state of the art robotics cost a total of £365,000 and allow stroke patients the opportunity to take the thousands of steps needed for their brains to rewire as they relearn to walk. Thanks to supporters like Colin, the device is now in the use at The Royal Bournemouth Hospital Stroke Unit.

Read Colin’s story here:

“ I was just putting my trainers on to go for a jog and ‘Bam!’, my whole body was spinning. There was a searing and swirling metallic noise in the back of my head and a current went from my left foot up my leg, back and neck.

Life changed at a stroke, a Cerebellar Stroke. I’d never heard of the Cerebellar/Cerebellum and always related a stroke to the heart and arteries.

Thanks to the quick thinking of my partner Michele, the paramedics soon arrived; I was observed and scanned at Poole Hospital and by Sunday 25 April transferred to the Royal Bournemouth Hospital. By Monday 26 April, with thanks to the incredible team, I was back home receiving treatment from physios and therapists within the Early Discharge Team. By relearning how to coordinate my limbs through repetition and practice, I have now relearned how to walk.

I was so empowered, I am not a victim – I am a survivor.

I wanted to give something back and started my own crowdfunding campaign to spread awareness about the Walkerbot and encourage donations to provide this piece of technology to those receiving treatment at the Stroke Unit.”

You can see a short video of Colin’s progress shared within his Crowdfunding appeal here: Colin’s Video

If Colin’s story has inspired you and you are interested in supporting one of our current projects then please contact us today!

Gerry and Pauline’s story – The Alan Miller Trust

By Supporter Stories

In 2018, following the sad loss of their friend Alan Miller, Gerry and Pauline Smith approached us with a desire to support an upcoming project.

Alan left a large amount of money to charity in his will and Gerry and Pauline were tasked with donating funds to charities in his memory from the Alan Miller Trust.

Following their initial interest in current hospital appeals, Gerry and Pauline wished to make an initial contribution to support the treatment of children accessing our services. They made a £50,000 donation on behalf of the Alan Miller Trust in January 2019, to fund a portable imaging machine that is used to take retinal images in infants. This machine supports prematurity screening, eye cancer in infants and other related conditions.

Since making this generous donation, Gerry and Pauline remain incredibly involved in hospital projects and have now donated over £325,000.

Donations from the Alan Miller Trust also includes funding for the Butterfly Garden, a private outdoor space – located at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital – for end of life patients and their loved ones to spend time outside in a peaceful and secluded environment.

As well as making a contribution to the staff health and wellbeing fund in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we received a significant donation from the Alan Miller Trust, which contributed directly to our Walkerbot fundraising appeal.

The £365,000 walking robotics have now been fully funded and are in use at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital Stroke Unit, helping stroke patients to take the thousands of steps needed during recovery.

“It has been incredible to support so many causes thanks to Alan and we’ve met some amazing people on our journey. It’s been an absolute joy doing this for our wonderful friend.”

– Pauline Smith –

Alan was past President of the Westover & Bournemouth Rowing Club and a dedicated volunteer for Dorset Wildlife Trust and the National Trust on Brownsea Island.

If you are inspired by this story and would like to consider leaving a charitable gift to our hospitals in your will, please get in touch to find out more.

Connie’s Story

By Supporter Stories

Young fundraiser, Connie, made a wonderful £50 contribution to our Children’s Ward after undertaking some fundraising of her own. She is proof that no matter your age, there are so many unique ways to go above and beyond to support us!

Connie gathered a selection of sweets, books and games which she then went on to sell at the end of her road. She sold a range of items to neighbours, friends and local passers-by, proceeds of which she kindly donated to UHD charity.

Connie stopped by the Poole Hospital charity hub where she was awarded a certificate, and also crowned our Young Fundraiser of the month for September 2021.

“I wanted to raise money for children who feel poorly and can’t be at home with their families. I hope that raising money for the hospital may go towards buying new toys and activities to might make them feel a bit happier.”

If you or a younger member of your family are looking to fundraise for us there are so many ways you can do so! Find out how you can do your own fundraising and if you’d like to have a chat with a member of the team, just get in touch.

Roger Parsons

By Supporter Stories

Roger is a long term supporter of the charity and has donated a total of £47,000 to the charity since 2014.

In 2000, Roger was admitted to the Royal Bournemouth Hospital following a heart attack, and his life was saved by the incredible cardiology team. Since receiving treatment, the hospital has always held a special place in his heart and he has continued to donate generously to various fundraising appeals, as well as contributing to the heart fund.

“The Royal Bournemouth Hospital saved my life and supporting my local hospital charity means a great deal to me.”

Following years of support, Roger became a governor of the Royal Bournemouth Hospital in 2014 and remained in this role until he retired in 2019. He continues to demonstrate a great interest in the future of our hospitals and charity.

In 2021, Roger purchased a Flo Jac lifting device for our hospitals. In funding this machine, patients that fall whilst at our hospitals are able to be recovered in a safe and efficient way.

If you, like Roger, would like to make a difference to your hospitals, why not take a look at our current projects and determine which area of our hospitals you may like to support.