I found out about the Charity and the great work it does when I joined North Bristol NHS Trust in January 2016. I instantly made a pact with myself that I’d do a fundraising event each year.
Many of my family members and friends have been cared for here at Southmead Hospital over the years and raising money is my way of giving back to our local NHS. An old friend was successfully treated for prostate cancer, my mum is the beneficiary of a new knee, my sister the proud owner of a hip replacement, and I’ve even been a patient here myself.
I’m a big believer in always challenging yourself when you ask your friends and family to support your fundraising. It gives you the opportunity to do something you might not ever get to do, and that’s certainly been the case for me.
Alongside raising money, one of my favourite things about fundraising is meeting lots of fantastic people. I’ve even danced a quick step with our former Director of Finance, and not many people can say that!
I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t have a degree of apprehension when we arrived on Dartmoor, but – cross country run aside – it was enormous fun, and we laughed our socks off all weekend.
The camaraderie among the NHS teams was memorable and I can’t imagine I’d ever do an assault course or get to practice on a military rifle range for any other reason than raising money for charity.
Standing on the roof is one thing, standing on the edge then leaning back and stepping off is quite another. It was enormous fun.
Waving at smiling hospital staff inside the Brunel Building as I abseiled down the outside and having friends and family on the ground waiting for me will stay with me forever – what a day!
When the Nightrider popped up as a fundraising opportunity I was intrigued – 100km in and around Bristol in the middle of the night surrounded by hundreds of other like-minded cyclists.
As we began the event at 10:30pm, I saw a group dressed as Disney Princesses for a hen night and, when we descended Park Street as the sun was rising at 4am, the party-goers were still out in force. A bacon sandwich has never tasted so good as the one I got at the finish line!
Strictly Southmead is by far one of the most enjoyable things I’ve ever done! For around four months on Friday lunchtimes, my partner and I would do our best to find a space for a dance lesson. We ended up in some unlikely places including a clinical skills lab surrounded by mannequins.
We’d opted to learn the quickstep, not really appreciating quite how quick it was. Unbeknown to be me, ‘we’ had agreed to a spray tan if we reached our fundraising target and the day before the competition we found ourselves having to choose our preferred shade of tan.
The weekend was so memorable as family and friends packed the Brunel Building. It was the last weekend we were able to be out and about with my father, who sadly died three months later. But he’s in the video, in his wheelchair in the audience, having a lovely time.
Working at North Bristol NHS Trust means I’ve seen first-hand the difference fundraising and donations make to our staff and patients.
A couple of years ago the Charity was able to fund a Library-led project to provide audiobook players for dementia patients. Audiobooks make reading accessible for dementia patients and has been shown to reduce stress and improve sleep. We’ve had amazing feedback from patients and staff alike.
Charity supporters have also funded some wonderful artworks for our newly refurbished library in the Learning & Research Building. The environment is now so much nicer for my NHS colleagues and medical students and the response we’ve had has been overwhelmingly positive.
Knowing the difference that fundraising makes to our hospital, I would absolutely encourage others to get involved in an event. Covid-permitting, I have my next challenge – a cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats – lined up for the end of summer, and I’m already in training!
John is the Library and Knowledge Services Manager supporting staff and medical students at North Bristol NHS Trust.
Sign up for one of our challenge events to raise money for your local NHS in Bristol. Please contact Hannah for more information and to start your fundraising.