You may or may not know, but the NHS turns 70 this year. It’s hard to actually imagine life without the NHS now, in 2018 as it’s something that for most of us has always been there, our guardian angel having our back when we need it.
We ALL have our moments of overwhelming gratitude for the National Health Service; points in our life when we or someone we love needed them most and they were there. Or perhaps you have read the stories which touched you, watched a documentary or fundraiser TV show which moved you to tears, and told tales of brave and remarkable patients that have stayed with you.
Of course the NHS can’t always manage alone, and many of us will already be aware of some of the many charities working hard to prop up the financial needs of the NHS service. They may have funded a service you have used, whether you know it or not, and many are inspired by real life stories and survivors.
Everyday 17 babies are stillborn. When Lauren Petrie’s child Jada became one of those 17 she was determined to do everything she could to help others through the same experience. With the help of a kind and generous donation she created Jada’s Room – a place where parents of stillborns could recover.
“When I got to the hospital, three hours before my scheduled appointment, I was not prepared to hear that they couldn’t find a heartbeat,” she explains “even after one midwife, two doctors and a senior sonographer checking me I still didn’t believe it, it felt like I was in a nightmare, everything went into slow motion’.
At 3.30 that morning she gave birth to Jada. The moment she set eyes on her, she knew she couldn’t let her death be in vain. While she couldn’t stop other parents suffering the same heartache, she could do something to help them.
Together with her bereavement midwife, Jane Scott, she set up Jada’s Room. The room is exclusively for stillbirths and miscarriages and has a double bed where parents can lie down with their baby.
It even has its own kitchen area where people can have tea and coffee in private rather than having to walk down the corridor bumping into proud parents with their new babies.
The psychological impact of losing a baby can be devastating it. Although hospitals can’t stop it altogether, with the help of NHS charities they can create a restful environment for parents at the worst possible time.
The stories you can unearth when you begin reading through the NHS charities are both humbling and inspiring. The experiences of others which could have caused deep rooted distress and heartache being used to turn the situation into a positive mark for others.
Sandra steps in
Ruth was diagnosed with a shocking heart condition which prompted the emergency delivery of her baby at 33 weeks and them being separated at birth at two different hospitals. But thanks to the help of NHS charity funded Family Support Nurse Sandra Brown, Ruth and her family found a way to cope with their traumatic ordeal.
Mums like this who find themselves separated from their babies at birth often worry about not bonding. Not only do they need to cope with their own situation, but they are also worried for their baby and how they will be affected.
‘I had to have a general anesthetic during the delivery, but Sandra was there and she took photos for us. After I was woken Sandra bought William to see me everyday by ambulance, and when he was well enough she went above and beyond and personally bought him over in a car seat.
‘Without Sandra’s help, I would not have seen William and would have missed out on his early development. Being separated from a new born baby is incredibly difficult, but all the support Sandra gave was so beneficial. She knew just how important it was that I saw William regularly.’
Here in Kent, my own local hospital Darent Valley is seeking support in fundraising to respond to the needs of Doctors and Nurses. Whether buying state of the art equipment to deliver new or improved procedures, funding research and teaching or supplying items that impact on quality of care and patient experience, this all helps them to deliver a service way beyond the NHS standard.
Turning your own experiences, whether heart ache or happiness into a means of helping others is something many of us look to do after a life changing experience. We supported Darent Valley after their exceptional maternity care for us over three years and three pregnancies. If you have wanted to do the same but haven’t got around to it yet, this could be the perfect excuse.
With over 70 NHS support charities taking part in the #NHSBig7TEA, You can find out how your local hospital needs you by searching here: https://nhsbig7tea.co.uk/search. Or, you can support generically and your funds will be split equally across all charities.
Ultimately, the point of #NHSBig7tea is to ask supporters to get together and raise a brew, collecting donations to raise funds for the local NHS supporting charities. You can do that on or around the 5th July 2018 and by taking a small act, make a huge difference to the incredible work of the NHS,
I look forward to toasting my NHS with Tea and B on 5th July, and I hope you’ll join me.
If you would like to plan a party, choose a charity or download a pack, you can find out more here: https://nhsbig7tea.co.uk/plan-a-party