‘In July 1991, I was given the all clear again, so it was a huge shock of course when it returned again a few months later. At this stage it wasn’t looking good at all, and the Doctor simply said I probably had around four to six months of life left unless I started a brand new treatment nobody in London had received yet.
‘On medical advice I decided to freeze my sperm in case of future need. During this period, I had to undergo five lots of heavy duty chemotherapy and had an operation to 'harvest' my bone marrow for future reinfusion (known as 'autograft').
‘I was admitted to Samaritan Ward and kept in isolation. The bone marrow was ultimately re-infused by Sister (now Matron!) Louise Farrow on January 16 1992. However there was an initial crisis as the bone marrow showed no signs of 'taking', but eventually I was discharged from Samaritan Ward on 6 February 1992.
‘I raised £7,000 from friends and family, including a pretty big slice from my police colleagues.
‘I re-married in 2008 and in February 2012, Jasmine was born using sperm frozen in 1991, making her the 'oldest' IVF baby in British history (I had been given a 1 in 2 million chance of conceiving naturally!). Then in November 2013, Jessica was born (natural conception) blowing the consultant's odds out of the water!
‘On 5 February 2017, I decided to host a charity dinner to celebrate 25 years alive and raised a further £1,200 for Guy’s and St Thomas’, for prolonging my life beyond another quarter of a century. Today, I am quite simply the happiest man alive!’
Find out more about how you can donate or start fundraising today.]]>
‘My dad Brian was diagnosed with inoperable advanced bladder cancer that had spread to his lymph nodes in August 2016 and given a very poor prognosis but responded beyond anything we could have hoped for to palliative chemotherapy and we were able to have a further 10 months with him before he sadly passed away in June 2017.
Sue with her father
‘We are all so grateful for the amazing care he received from both Oncology and Urology at Guy’s and that he was able to benefit from the incredible facilities at the new Cancer Centre.
‘Last year I raised £1200 and completed the challenge in 52 minutes - I hope to beat my time this year and again raise vital funds for this very worthy cause. My husband and I also did the 11km Cancer Survivors’ Day Celebration Walk last month and will both be volunteering and bucket collecting at the Oval Cricket ground over the summer.’
If you’d like to support Sue in her fundraising bid for Guy’s Urban Challenge, you can donate here.]]>
Jason specialises in elderly care at Guy’s and St Thomas’. He works with the surgical teams on the wards, providing specialist nursing and medical advice for patients over the age of 65. Jason also leads outpatient clinics for elderly patients suffering colonic conditions.
RideLondon is 100 miles of the same route cycled by the professionals in the 2012 Olympics; out from the centre of London, into and over the Surrey hills and then ending back in the capital. We find out more about why Jason has decided to take on this gruelling challenge in support of his workplace.
‘I have been a nurse at Guy’s and St Thomas’ for 14 years. Whilst working on the surgical wards, I have seen first-hand the fantastic work done by the gamut of staff who support our patients with cancer.
‘RideLondon is seen as one of the premier cycle sportives of the year, so the chance to do something I love whilst raising money for our cancer services was an offer I could not turn down.
‘Training was hard, but the rainy commute with a tortuous Kent hill climbed every early morning stood me in good stead for what was the longest ride of my life.
‘I wore my Guy's and St Thomas' shirt with pride, knowing that every penny given will go towards making a real difference.’
Find out how you can take on your own challenge to support Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital]]>
Bladder cancer is the 10th most common cancer in the UK, but the seventh most common cause of cancer death in the UK. In 2014 there were 5,400 deaths – which is 15 deaths every day. It only receives 0.5% of cancer research spend in the UK and is the only top 10 cancer for which the prognosis has not been improving.
Graham and Dianne’s donation of £1.79 million, over five years, is to the Translational Oncology and Urology Research (TOUR) team at King’s College London and Guy’s and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust.
The TOUR team, jointly led by academic lead Dr Mieke Van Hemelrijck and clinical lead Dr Simon Chowdhury, will focus on the creation of a new bladder cancer biobank and a parallel research programme which will increase the number of patients being treated in clinical trials. Dr Simon Chowdhury said: 'This major donation from Graham and Dianne will increase our understanding about bladder cancer and ultimately improve treatment for this awful disease'.
The creation of the biobank involves the collection and central storage of tissue, blood and urine samples from patients being seen at the new Cancer Centre at Guy’s and follows on from the team’s successful creation of a similar biobank for prostate cancer. A research programme will be created on the back of the formation of this important resource.
The TOUR bladder cancer team will include dedicated clinicians, researchers, nurses, technicians and students. In addition to this, a new post, the Graham Roberts Clinical Fellow, has been created. This post will be an annual appointment designed to attract bright young talent into the field of cancer research.
Graham and his wife Dianne discussed the gift with Dr Chowdhury before Graham passed away.
Dianne said: ‘Graham wanted to make a difference because once we realised the cancer had spread and there were no treatment options for him he wanted to help other people in his situation.
‘Graham faced his battle with cancer completely stoically. His attitude was he was going to meet it head on and he was going to beat it. Graham was incredibly positive right up until the end.
‘Funding bladder cancer research is the only way to ensure other people don’t have to go through what we had to go through. It is about making a difference to other people’s lives.’
Find out all the ways you can show your support for cancer services at Guy’s.]]>
‘We had treatment from Guy’s and St Thomas’ in the past and we were extremely pleased with the care we received from everybody, for all the help they provided during our stay there. I always wanted to do something in return for Guy’s and St Thomas’ but I didn’t know what I should do as I’m not innately a sports person!
‘It was never going to be a marathon and so I didn’t know what I could actually do to raise some money for the hospital in order to thank them. Last year in October, I was reading a newspaper and read about Adam Leyton who travelled through 12 countries in 24 hours, beginning in Perl, Germany. I was very impressed by this and I have always had an interest in travelling and so thought this is something that I could potentially do. I therefore decided that this was the way I would raise money.
‘I started initially by trying to figure out what the best route would be to take to finish this successfully. It took me over two months to figure out exactly how I would be able to successfully complete this route. I also had my good friend Steve who was onboard to join the race and support me in achieving this feat!
‘I trained vigorously for this and have really enjoyed the process. A highlight of the challenge was seeing all the support across Europe that we got. We had one couple that came to track our progress very late at night. It was also nice to get announced by the flight attendants concerning our world record attempt!
‘We had a camera on our chest filming everything as well as a GPS tracker which was tracking what was going on every 30 seconds and this was directly submitted to the Guinness Book of World Records.
‘We really enjoyed this and may just attempt to break our own record next year!
Want to get involved and have your own fundraising adventure? Find some inspiration here.]]>
‘Guy’s and St Thomas’ is one of five specialised commissioned ECMO services within the UK. ECMO stands for Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation. It’s a bit like putting a patient on an artificial lung or heart machine. We cover a region of about 17 million people (adults, not children). There are currently seven consultants, soon to be eight, who are intensive care consultants. We are on call 24/7 and 365 days a year.
‘Any of the 42 hospitals in our region can call us and ask for advice about patients with lung or heart failure. If we think it is appropriate, we will go with a team in an ambulance and put the patient on the ECMO system in their hospital’s operating theatre. We will stabilise the patient and bring them back to St Thomas’.
‘It’s often young people we treat, and without this service, their chance of survival is only 10-20%. We convert that into a 75% walk out of hospital rate. ‘Typical patients would be those with influenza or pneumonia, or heart failure caused by a virus, inflammation or infection. These people deteriorate so quickly that within hours they find themselves in intensive care and in trouble. They’ve reached the limits of what we call conventional intensive care and they need the support of specialist intensive care and that’s what we offer.
‘ECMO has been around since the 1970s in North America and it’s been in the UK since the mid-90s but it’s a very specialist service. It has absolutely revolutionised the care of people with complete heart failure or complete lung failure.
‘We have been running this now for five years and it has been hugely successful. Guy’s and St Thomas’ now runs the biggest lung failure ECMO service in Europe. We have about 100 patients a year on ECMO and we’ve grown over the last five years to such an extent that we’ve outgrown our capacity in intensive care.
‘The Trust is now building a brand new intensive care unit which will be an 11 bedded unit on the 6th floor of the East Wing. That will be our new ECMO unit, and it will free up space in the other units that can be used for general intensive care patients.
‘The key thing about the ECMO is that like a lot of supportive care it is supportive therapy. It doesn’t solve the heart or lung problem but it buys us really important time for these young people, who are deteriorating rapidly, to halt many of the processes that contributed to the deterioration. This allows us to find out what the underlying problem is and diagnose it and treat it.
‘What motivated us to take part in the abseil was the fact that we recognise that Guy’s and St Thomas’ needs this capacity. ECMO is working wonders for young people who are at death’s door who are turning around and walking out of hospital. Because we feel so strongly that we need this unit, we are willing to do anything to assist.’
You can read how ECMO saved one of our supporters’ lives
Find out more about how you can donate or start fundraising today.]]>
‘I did the abseil on 12 May to show my appreciation for the care Ian has received at Guy’s and St Thomas’. In the first instance it was the first response that was so amazing. It took the ambulance nine minutes to get to Ian and five paramedics literally kept him alive for two hours in my bathroom. The paramedics knew it was severe sepsis straight away. The medical team were however very calming. They knew exactly what the problem was and got Ian straight to the hospital, making sure he was getting plenty of fluids.
‘It was never just about Ian either, as the doctors took an interest in my well-being by ensuring that I was doing well and mentally able to cope with the situation. They were very well aware of just how terrified I was too, and so ensured that I was put at ease. The doctors also ensured that I was always close to everything that happened. They informed me about Ian’s progress and always kept me in the loop. It has made me feel a part of Ian’s progress over the months.
‘Blood clots caused brain damage to Ian and that is what he is being mainly treated for at the moment. Initially, he had no sensation in his hand and as time has gone on, he’s got tiny movement in his fingers, showing he is responding to treatment.
‘I see Ian hoisted every day out of his bed for treatment and I thought, if he can be hoisted up to get better, then I can be hoisted up out of my comfort zone and raise money by doing the abseil!
‘I was absolutely terrified about the prospect of doing an abseil but I did it and loved it!’
Find out more about how you can donate or start fundraising today.]]>
‘In May 2015, I was knocked unconscious during a power boat accident in Southampton Solent. Although my father rescued me and gave me mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, I was at first given a 0% prognosis.
‘When I was taken to the hospital (with paramedics, air ambulance and the RNLI all on hand to assist almost immediately at the incident site), I was checked into A&E and taken almost straightaway to intensive care. My parents were told, “Anyone who you would like to see Simon needs to come now, because we do not think he will make it”.’
‘This was devastating news for my family, but there was a possibility that a team from St Thomas’ Hospital in London could come down to provide specialist care. That is when my family first learnt about ECMO (Extra corporeal membrane oxygenation).
‘In intensive care medicine, ECMO can be used to help patients who are having both heart and lung difficulties. In my case, my lungs had collapsed and were not functioning and therefore ECMO allowed time for my lungs to recover whilst doing their job for them. It removes up to 6.5 litres of blood per minute from the body and artificially removes the CO2 and oxygenates the blood before it returns to the body.
Read more about our amazing ECMO team.
‘Thankfully the amazing team said they would come down to Southampton. Chris Meadows (the ECMO consultant) met with my family and told them about the procedure and the risks. Chris and his team then went and did what they do best. I was incredibly lucky and they said it had gone smoothly.’
‘Thanks to my amazing dad’s bravery and the critical care of the ECMO team, I pulled through. I was on ECMO for five days, which gave my lungs enough time to recover and repair themselves. I spent a total of 21 days at St Thomas’ Hospital before being transferred home.
‘Without the ECMO team and intensive care team in that unit, I would not be lucky enough to be around today. For that reason, I decided that I wanted to give something back, so I ran the London Marathon to raise money for the ECMO unit at St Thomas' Hospital.'
Read about how Simon’s family coped with this traumatic experience – and their wonderful fundraising support.]]>
In November 2011, Steve Manstone had enjoyed a night out at a West End show and an overnight stay in a London hotel, but the next morning he started to feel chest pains and his wife Sue called an ambulance. The paramedics and ambulance crew had to navigate through road closures around the Cenotaph for the Remembrance Day Parade being held that day, but treated him as soon as they arrived and then took him to St Thomas’.
Steve had had a heart attack and as cardiologists prepared him for an operation to open the narrowed arteries and placement of a coronary stent, he had a cardiac arrest. He was successfully resuscitated after four minutes had passed and was so grateful for his care that he has been fundraising for the unit ever since.
Steve has hosted annual golfing tournaments with members of Thames Valley Construction Training Association and has encouraged friends and family to fundraise as well. So far they have raised over £8,000 which has allowed the unit to buy two CPAP machines. These machines help to keep patients’ airways open after a heart attack so they can continue to breathe.
When Steve first starting raising money for the unit, he asked staff how they would like to spend it.
Steve says: ‘I wanted it to be something the staff knew was needed. They told me that one CPAP machine was being shared between three wards – now there is one for each ward.’
Claire Pearson, Deputy Sister on the Coronary Care Unit, explains: ‘Steve had a cardiac arrest right in the middle of the ward. I remember it really clearly – I was the one who resuscitated him’’.
‘Steve is one of those rare people who have kept in touch, which is so lovely. We really appreciate seeing how well he’s doing and it’s been great to meet his grandchildren. To continue to fundraise year after year is phenomenal and has made a real difference to the care we have been able to provide to the patients who came after him.
‘The latest donation to the unit has gone to train more nurses in emergency care skills like resuscitation.’
Steve has been given a clean bill of health and plans to carry on fundraising. ‘I’m so grateful - without the efforts of the staff at St Thomas’ I wouldn’t have seen my daughter get married, celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary, and meet my wonderful grandchildren. I’ve done it simply to say thank you and to give something back. I hope to be able to continue to fundraise in the future’.
There are plenty of ways you can fundraise to say thank you. Find out about all the ways you can support your hospital
Photo: Steve, with grandson Matthew and Claire Pearson, Deputy Sister on the Coronary Care Unit]]>
Lee Michael Walton has always been passionate about music and singing. As a young boy attending chapel in his hometown of Pontardawe in Wales, he loved the sound of the magnificent organ and learned to play from the age of seven, later becoming a professional musician.
As a singer, when Lee was diagnosed with a tumour that left him unable to speak for weeks, it was devastating for him. The tumour had grown in his palate and was now pressing behind his eye. Its rare location meant surgeons at Guy’s took 21 hours to remove all the cancerous tissue.
They took bone, skin and a vein from his leg to rebuild the roof of his mouth and Lee was left with a feeding tube, breathing tube, pain, swelling and on crutches – but he was alive.
‘When I first woke up in Guy’s Hospital I saw two faces,’ Lee recalls. ‘One was the speech therapist and one was the dietician. They simply said: “We’re going to take good care of you”. You can’t underestimate how profoundly positive hearing someone say that to me was.’
Lee couldn’t speak for more than a month and had to write everything down. But doctors were impressed with his determination to recover and to get singing again. It was another 18 months until Lee’s teeth were replaced and he now suffers from frequent sinus infections.
But Lee is now free of cancer. He says he’s grateful for the expertise of the team at Guy’s, especially his surgeon Mr Ricard Simo who Lee still sees for check-ups.
‘It was a horrendous experience to go through but the care I received was amazing, and the nursing so sensitive,’ he says.
Although Lee recovered physically, the mental toll of his experience was extensive and four years ago he had a breakdown. He has since rebuilt his life – thanks in part to music. He is currently creating an album of music called ‘The Journey Home’ and once released, he plans to give 10% of what he receives to Guy’s and St Thomas’.
‘The album is a celebration of the human spirit, about learning through life,’ Lee says. ‘I hope people will enjoy it and gain strength from it too’.
You can read more about Lee’s incredible journey and how you can support the release of his album. There are many different ways you can organise your own fundraising to support your hospital, just like Lee has.]]>