Thinking of Oscar
November 2016 Newsletter

Newsletter - November 4th 2016

We are conscious of the fact that you might not have seen a tremendous amount of activity from Thinking of Oscar over the summer months and so the main purpose of this edition of the newsletter is to bring you up to date with the numerous projects that we have been working on behind the scenes. The first of these is our new website, launching today, which has been generously created and hosted by our friends at Volume. We hope that you like the new look and feel of the site and that you find it easier to navigate around. Please share it far and wide.

As many of you will know in June this year we had a team of 80 take part in the Blenheim Palace Triathlon and in doing so collectively raised in excess of £60,000, which helped us to complete our fundraising target of £100,000 to build a new Paediatric Procedures unit at the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford. It has been estimated that this unit will help in excess of 2,500 children every year. We were very excited to share this news with the hospital who have been working ever since to start the build phase of the project. Unfortunately the time that it has taken to move the project forward has been a source of real frustration for both ourselves and the hospital, because the John Radcliffe has had to work with multiple stakeholders to get the necessary approvals to start the work and ensure that everything is as it should be for the room. One of the delays has been to make sure that the room has the right air filtration system in it so that they can ensure the correct air quality for those using the room. We have been chasing on an almost weekly basis to gain further updates the latest of which confirmed the estimated costs of the room, included sketches of the proposed content and layout of the room and also reiterated the hospital’s commitment to the project and it’s completion.

Although our personal physical challenges have come to an end for the year we have had amazing friends and supporters who have continued to put themselves through grueling tests to raise money and awareness for Thinking of Oscar. All of these will be featured on our new website and first up is our friend Barry Ruddock. Barry completed five triathlons this year, in aid of Thinking of Oscar, including Blenheim Palace Triathlon, as part of the T.O.O. team and the Windsor Triathlon, alongside David, and finally the Woburn Half Iron Man which he completed last month.

Over the summer we have also been working with Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in London to donate an AccuVein, vein-finding device to their paediatric cardiology department. Again, unfortunately this has taken us slightly longer that we would have liked as we have had to contend with various procurement processes, however we very much hope to be able to report on the device being introduced and starting to be utilised over the coming weeks.

During our correspondence with the GOSH Charity, they informed us that they had been visited by the parents of a US based charity called Hugs for Brady . The foundation was set up by the parents of a young boy called Brady who very sadly lost his battle with leukemia six years ago and his parents have continued to build their foundation up since then. During their visit there was a discussion about phlebotomists (Phlebotomists are specialist healthcare assistants who take blood samples from patients). Brady’s dad, Michael, mentioned his strong feelings about phlebotomists – when Brady was ill and being treated in the US, he felt the care he received when having cannulas fitted was really below par and he even went so far as to say it was one of the most distressing things about Brady being ill. He was in a lot of pain and Michael felt the phlebotomists charged with his care weren’t sure how to adapt their methods to help children (Brady was treated at a hospital for both adults and children). GOSH told the family about the AccuVein technology that we have been working with them on and they were very interested to find out more. We were surprised to learn that the AccuVein technology was not more widely used in the US given that it is American technology and we hope that the chance meeting will mean that the Hugs for Brady Foundation will be able to help children in hospital in America by donating the technology to their local hospitals.

One of the subjects that we spend most time researching and thinking about it identifying the next project for Thinking of Oscar to undertake. We do this by reading and learning as much as we can about the latest trends and technologies within paediatrics globally and we validate those ideas with a number of healthcare experts who are associated with Thinking of Oscar. We keep a close eye on developments in US paediatric healthcare in particular. Typically they are about a decade ahead of where we are at in the UK and so there is a real opportunity moving forward to take advantage of that experience. We are so pleased that Doctor Iain Hennessey has kindly agreed to join us in an advisory capacity. Doctor Hennessey is Clinical Director of Innovation at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool and he joins Doctor Damian Roland who is a Consultant and Honorary Senior Lecturer in Paediatric Emergency Medicine at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust. We hope to be in a position to announce our next project(s) before the end of the year.

Thanks, as always, for your on-going support. On a personal level our life without Oscar remains very difficult however two years down the line with Thinking of Oscar it is increasingly clear to us that, by collaborating with other interested stakeholder groups, there is so much scope to change paediatric healthcare in the UK for the better.

Barry having completed his 3rd Triathlon of the Summer alongside DC and Oliver Meeker

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