As we enter this bank holiday weekend in remembrance of VE day the nation will cast their minds back to the sacrifices made by the heroes of WWII. While in this pensive mood, the country will be taking stock of the current reality, which for many has evoked a war time spirit and rhetoric, drawing a parallel between the past and the present. As we reflect on the reality of life during lockdown, and the sombre facts of the devastating loss of life, amongst the sadness, stories of hope sustain us and provide us with some solace and a glimmer of hope. This can be found in the incredible acts of kindness from our current heroes, who continually go above and beyond, solely for the benefit of others. The weekly clap for careers continually highlights society coming together in a show of solidarity with key workers, particularly our beloved NHS staff. In this newsletter, in addition to sharing our latest updates, a spotlight is shone on the everyday heroes who have been pivotal in helping St Mark’s through this difficult period, through helping procure PPE, providing nutritious snacks and meals for staff, and the incredible individuals who answered our call to become a #homehero by participating in the 2.6 challenge.
Spotlight on: Dr Siwan Thomas-Gibson, Dean of the Academic Institute
“Although strange, deeply challenging and sad, I am sure this period will have made us all stronger. St Mark’s can be enormously proud of the response we continue to deliver to this worldwide emergency”
Dr Siwan Thomas-Gibson has written a poignant and reflective piece on the current situation and challenges faced by all at St Mark’s, Northwick Park and the wider LNWUH Trust community. Yet, despite hardship, there is resilience, and a tireless commitment from staff across St Mark’s and Northwick Park Hospital, who continue delivering excellent care, with compassion, dedication and diligence to all patients under these extraordinary circumstances. The powerful and moving article is available to read now on the St Mark’s Hospital Foundation website.
We are delighted to share with you a selection of photographs which provide a snapshot of some of the donations that have been received from existing and new donors. The amount of work that has been undertaken to secure these supplies has been immense and serves to demonstrate how a community can pull together to overcome challenges that are thrust their way. Immense thanks to all of our supporters whose efforts in aid of St Mark’s are truly commendable.
Rachelle Goldberg, chair of the Northwick Park Rotary Club is pictured here with a fellow rotarian delivering nutritious snacks which have provided staff with a treat to maintain their energy while working long and busy shifts. Thank you to the entire Rotary Club for their kind and considered donation. Such acts of kindness are thoroughly appreciated, and staff also have a calm and relaxing environment in which to enjoy these delectable delights in the re-purposed Post Graduate Common Room, which now serves as a break-room.
On the topic of food, it is well established that good nutrition is essential in maintaining wellbeing, and Veron and Dr Phil Tozer donned their chefs hats and provided a selection of hearty and healthy cooked meals to their colleagues. Additionally, after making a few adjustments, the now reopened Friends of St Mark’s tea bar is providing fresh food to staff, with a complimentary coffee or tea for all.
St Mark’s Hospital Foundation’s Chief Executive Jason Bacon has been busy overseeing the logistics of the deliveries, and Research Fellow Isabel Martin has been integral in distributing equipment and supplies to her fellow clinical staff. The deliveries received have consisted of a diverse array of goods including visors, goggles, gowns, gloves, masks, hand creams and many more pieces of kit.
Special thanks to everyone who has rallied behind us, from local secondary schools, colleges, universities, medial companies, OakNorth Bank, Nandos Harrow, Discovery UK and even the BBC’s Holby City! The list provided here is by no means exhaustive, as we have received support from a vast arrange of individuals, companies, and educational institutions.
Made with love and care; from wedding dresses and high-end fashion to scrubs for the NHS
Karen, of Nunnington Threads, swapped making wedding dresses to scrubs for staff. Karen lovingly handmade 55 pairs of scrubs which were then donated to be used by our redeployed clinicians. One such recipient of the new scrubs was Research Fellow Anisha, who is delighted with them, “they are fab and fit perfectly!” We have also had high-end fashion brand Mint Velvet shift their production lines, making the aesthetically pleasing emerald coloured scrubs which, as evidenced from the photos, have been extremely well received by staff including those working in Endoscopy and Bowel Cancer Screening, who are pictured wearing their new threads.
Communication and connectivity thanks to our #Commschampions
In our last newsletter we reported that the Foundation was supporting a new initiative lead by Research Fellows Dr Anu Obaro, Dr Ollie Duxbury, and Miss Isabel Martin to provide vital communication between patients and their loved ones while visits to the hospital remain suspended. It is a great priviledge to be able to announce that this initiative has been successful in connecting patients and their loved ones during such difficult circumstances. This has truly been a labour of love from everyone involved including Life Lines and Dr Joel Meyer, and the LNWUH Trust IT. This project highlights collaboration at its best, and was helped to get off the ground by the fundraising drive started by Ayesha Akbar and Ali Corr-Pickard. We also thank everyone who donated to our specific appeal which helped support this initiative. It is with great delight that we can report that this project has facilitated 317 video calls since the 9th April! You can review the full infographic which showcases the initiatives success on our Facebook page here.
Thank you to our 2.6 challenge home heroes!
The 2.6 challenge, set up to help support the UK’s charities, has shown the spirit of philanthropy in Britain remains resilient despite economic adversity. At St Mark’s we have been humbled by the support we have received in response to our campaign and a staggering £1,264 has been raised so far! We are extremely thankful to everyone who has donated, and particularly to those who took on a challenge! Mitch took the plunge and shaved his hair down to 2.6mm, Claire decided to undertake a duathlon cycling/running for 2.6 miles, and Dr Claire Taylor cycled 26 miles! You can still get involved with the #TwoPointSixChallenge, either by directly donating, donating to our home heroes, or by taking on your own 2.6 themed challenge!
“Somewhere Over The Rainbow…”
You may have already seen the now viral footage featuring St Mark’s Dr Maxton Pitcher playing violin alongside his esteemed colleague Dr Katherine Fawcett on piano. This impromptu concert came together in what is a beautiful and emotional scene, which sees staff celebrate the moment senior nurse Alicia left intensive care after being treated for Covid-19. If you haven’t seen the video yet you can view it on our social media channels where you will also be able to watch Dr Pitcher and Dr Fawcett being interview on Sky News.
In tribute to all NHS staff you can also watch Max and his fellow musicians performing a rendition of the classic and poignant ‘Over The Rainbow’. This is a heartwarming piece of musical joy that is guaranteed to make you smile. Simply click the image or click here to watch the video, which has had nearly 4,000 views on Youtube.