A lifesaving operation
Like many, Chris contracted Covid-19 in 2020 and this regrettably progressed into Long Covid. As a result, Chris sought support from social services in November 2021. To help provide Chris with more support, social services installed a key safe by his front door. Little did Chris know just how important this was going to be. When his social worker came to visit and couldn’t reach Chris, they were then able then to use the key box and help save his life.
“The social worker was able to enter my house because of a key box she had fitted for me and found me wandering around in a state of confusion. An ambulance rushed me to The Royal London Hospital, where an emergency operation for a brain bleed saved my life. I was told that two hours later and I would have died.”Chris discloses alarming details about his subdural haematoma (bleed on the brain).
Chris was kept in an induced coma for several days. When he finally awoke, he found his daughter had rushed from Oxford to be by his side. His weakness, discomfort and fatigue were enormous, despite the relief of painkillers.
Having spent a few weeks in hospital recovering, Chris reflected on the expert care he received from the hospital team as “better than brilliant.” He also shared more on the jokey rapport he developed with the staff.
“I was only allowed to walk with a frame and a nurse or physio, and it took all their attention to see I didn’t fall. With my silly sense of humour, I couldn’t seem to help joking by stating, ‘oh, my heart!’ then turning towards the helper and saying ‘look, it’s here!’ Cruel I realise, but they took it well, laughing after getting over the shock.”Chris on his tongue-in-cheek dynamic with the hospital team.
Chris’ birthday extravaganza
Chris had plenty of time to reflect on the deep gratitude he felt for the staff who helped save his life and the devastating impacts of Covid-19 he witnessed the same staff dealing with. Chris felt compelled to do something.
“I feel deeply indebted to these incredible people who work at The Royal London Hospital. So my JustGiving fundraiser was an obvious way to say thank you.”Chris on the inspiration behind his fundraiser.
Thus, Chris’s #NHS75 fundraiser was born to celebrate both his 75th birthday this year and the NHS’ 75th birthday (July 5 2023) – a double celebration. Chris asked for donations in lieu of birthday gifts to support NHS staff.
After learning about the Barts Charity funded Wellbeing Hubs for NHS staff at each of the Barts Health NHS Trust hospitals Chris took to social media to help inspire donations to his cause. The permanent hubs are spaces where staff can relax and decompress away from clinical areas. By improving relaxation spaces for staff, the aim is that they will have greater capacity and capability to continue to provide safe and compassionate care to patients.
Chris also made sure to carry his ‘Thank you NHS’ sign with him everywhere, sharing his story and encouraging donations far and wide.
“Of course it’s only a small gesture but it’s the best I can do. A heart felt thank you to everyone who has helped, with donations big and small. One child gave £2, saying it was her pocket money. How beautiful is that?”Chris expands on the success of his fundraiser.
How is Chris now? Healthwise, Chris shared that his continuing recovery from his brain injury and major surgery has been a struggle. However, Chris is still motivated to continue fundraising. Chris hopes that as he and NHS mark 75 years, they can strive forward with renewed energy and wisdom.
Lastly, Chris thanks his very special daughter.
Thank you so much for organising this heart-warming fundraiser, Chris. We wish you well, and we know that The Royal London Hospital will be grateful for this generous fundraising effort.