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Supporter Stories

10 new reclining chairs make rest possible during chemotherapy

By Supporter Stories

The Jigsaw Unit at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital now has 10 new reclining chairs to help make patients a little more comfortable during their chemotherapy treatment. This means every patient having chemotherapy in the Jigsaw Unit can now sit back and relax as they try to get some much-needed rest during their treatment.

These chairs will be putting 150 patients in the more comfortable seats each week.

Making this all possible, is the fantastic fundraising champion that is Hilary Coleman who started a hugely popular fundraising drive earlier this year.

Hilary has first-hand experience on the unit and the importance of finding comfort amidst the storm of treatment. Hours spent in bolt upright chairs had left an indelible mark in her memory.

In fact, this is where her desire to alleviate the discomfort of her fellow patients began.

Hilary said: “I was there from 11am until 6pm some days and being in an upright chair is really uncomfortable. However, one day, I had a really comfortable recliner chair. To be able to put my feet up and close my eyes was just amazing. It’s so important for people to be able to relax as they have chemo.”

It was in that moment, Hilary started her mission to fundraise for more reclining chairs through University Hospitals Dorset NHS Charity. Originally Hilary wanted to provide two more, costing around £1,900 but she went on to raise more than she ever imagined.

Just four days in, Hilary had raised enough for one chair. So many people in the local community donated and the support was flooding in from friends and family. Hilary was blown away by everyone’s generosity and she found it a good way to take her mind off things. Hilary describes this as therapeutic at this difficult time.

Hillary raised an incredible £6,115 to purchase three chairs and inspired fundraising by two other amazing supporters who raised enough for another two chairs. The Ferndown and Parley Rotary Club and Faye Clifford’s Open garden also raised an amazing amount this year to allow us to purchase all the reclining chairs needed for its ten bays on the Jigsaw Unit.

Fundraising Officer for University Hospitals Dorset NHS Charity said: “These chairs are more than items of furniture. Instead Hilary’s fundraiser became symbols of compassion, offering comfort and support to those who needed it most. Thank you so much to the fantastic four supporters for funding these much-needed items and to all the kind people that donated to their fundraising efforts.”

University Hospitals Dorset NHS Charity is continuing to fundraise for more reclining chairs for the Cancer Care Unit at Poole Hospital.

Previous NHS Nurse walked her way towards recovery and beyond

By Supporter Stories

75-year old Perla Gabuya from Bournemouth was a Mental Health Nurse in the community for over 25 years when she found her love for the NHS and for giving back.

Sadly, in 2015, Perla was diagnosed with breast cancer and went on to have a mastectomy. Four years later she also had a craniotomy as her doctors found a tumour in her right ear. This led Perla to lose her hearing in her right ear.

While receiving treatment, she was determined to get herself well enough to go home to continue with her recovery. To do this she set herself the challenge each day to get up and walk just one step further than the day before. It started with just taking steps from her bed to the bathroom, to the end of the ward and so on.

It was from this moment on that her love for walking began. In fact, Perla is organising a 5-mile walk in Hyde Park on Saturday 21 October to raise funds towards Warm chemotherapy after surgery (Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy) to support our patients with advanced ovarian cancer.

Perla said: “I love the NHS and I want to give back. It’s in your heart when you’re a nurse – you just want to help others! So, this year I thought what better way to celebrate my 75th birthday, than to walk for my local hospitals which coincidentally is the 75th birthday of the NHS.”

“After always helping people, I know I can do more to support more nurses like me and more patients like me! I want to do something unforgettable and hope as many people will support me as much as possible.”

Perla’s love for walking has become a passion among so many of her friends who will be walking alongside her around the 5-mile route starting at Hyde Park in London.


We want to say a HUGE thank you to Perla for raising a fantastic £2,295.72 + Gift Aid by completing her 5-mile charity walk in Hyde Park on Saturday 21 October.

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 as a Captain for British Airways. His cancer diagnosis came as quite a surprise after living a very healthy lifestyle and because his cancers were 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.

Michael joined 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 took 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.