Fundraisers at the heart of life saving machine

23rd May 2018

A state-of-the-art new heart scanner is helping to save lives thanks to a successful fundraising campaign by the British Heart Foundation and The Rotherham Hospital and Community Charity.

In 2015, the two charities joined forces to launch the Rotherham Scanner Appeal to raise £103,990.59 to buy a new echocardiogram (echo) machine for Rotherham Hospital. Thanks to fundraising in the community and at Rotherham Hospital, together with donations from local businesses including Westfield Health, the echo machine is now helping to play a life-saving role in diagnosing patients with suspected heart conditions. Barry Mellor, Chair of the Rotherham Hospital and Community Charity's Charitable Funds Committee, said: -When we began fundraising for the Rotherham Scanner Appeal more than two and a half years ago it was a real ambition for both charities to enhance the care we provide to patients suffering suspected heart related conditions. -The appeal was led by two families in Rotherham who sadly lost loved ones to undiagnosed heart conditions and they were a constant inspiration for us during the fundraising activities. -We're incredibly proud to have successfully raised enough money for the echo machine at Rotherham Hospital and it's wonderful to see so many people mark this success at our celebration event. Thanks to the Rotherham Scanner Appeal, there are now four echo machines at Rotherham Hospital. It uses sound waves to create detailed three-dimensional images which allow doctors to see the structure of the heart and heart valves, also giving information on the function and pumping action of the heart. The device has a lifesaving role in medical investigations for patients with suspected heart disease or other heart related conditions. Simon Smith, Consultant Cardiologist at Rotherham Hospital, said: -The additional echocardiogram machine is a wonderful resource because it's made to a high specification, it's modern, reliable and the clarity of the pictures is excellent. This is particularly useful when subtle findings influence the management of a patient's condition and what follow-up treatments we should provide. It also means we can conclude a patient's heart function is normal, providing reassurance and peace of mind. -The new echocardiogram machine produces 3D images which mean we can get a better picture of a patients' heart muscle function. This is important when diagnosing and treating some conditions such as heart failure and determining which patients are suitable for complex cardiac device therapy - a new service we have been able to offer at the Trust since March 2018. -It's also a particularly valuable resource because more people than ever before need heart scans, largely due to an ageing population. We are also seeing more patients receiving cancer care being referred for scans and the additional echo helps us keep up with demand without allowing patient waiting times to increase. Dan McNally, Area Manager at the British Heart Foundation, said: -This has only been made possible by the generosity of the local community. There are 31,100 people in Rotherham living with cardiovascular disease (CVD) and the new echocardiogram machine will help end heartbreak for some of the local families affected by heart and circulatory disease. The Rotherham Scanner Appeal is another success of the Heart Town partnership, which was launched in 2012 by the British Heart Foundation and Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council. From saving lives to educating people about healthy living, Heart Town has been an important weapon in the fight against cardiac-related deaths and on-going medical issues in Rotherham. The campaign was spearheaded by Councillor Ken Wyatt, Chair of Rotherham Heart Town, and local BHF volunteers. Cllr Wyatt said: -Heart Town has been a successful partnership between the BHF, RMBC and the NHS working together for over five years. During the period we have played a major role in developing and raising awareness and funds to help beat heart and circulatory disease in the borough. We were delighted to get behind the scanner appeal recognising the real benefits for local patients. Many thanks to all those who helped bring this project to fruition. Fundraising for the echo machine included a £45,000 donation from the Westfield Health Charitable Trust. Graham Moore, Trustee of the Westfield Health Charitable Trust, said: -We are delighted to have played our part in this successful fundraising campaign, by making a £45,000 donation to close this appeal. -The echocardiogram machine will help the medical team diagnose and monitor heart conditions and we're very proud to help support and enhance the services and care patients receive at Rotherham Hospital. Case Study: The Fellows family The Rotherham Heart Scanner Appeal reached its target of £103,990.59 thanks to the family and friends of Tom Fellows, who sadly passed away aged 19 following an undiagnosed heart condition. Tom, of Bramley in Rotherham, died after suffering a burst aorta, which was caused by coarctation of the aorta — a narrowing of the heart's main artery. Tom and his parents, Sue and John, were unaware of his condition. Following the teenager's death, his parents helped to support the appeal alongside the British Heart Foundation and the Rotherham Hospital and Community Charity. They hosted various fundraising events, including two football matches at Tom's former school, Oakwood High School, in November 2016. Susan said: -The last few years have been utterly heart-breaking. Tom loved life and he was looking forward to growing up, getting married and having children all the usual things young people aspire to. He was fantastic; caring, thoughtful and had a smile which could light up any room. He also had a huge hug which could fix anything. -We owe it to him to keep going and our fundraising was our way of coping with the grief, of facing it and turning it into something positive. -We hope that having the scanner in Rotherham will mean that patients with heart conditions are able to receive early diagnosis and treatment, so that other families in Rotherham don't have to go through what we have. It would be amazing if we could prevent just one family from losing a loved one. -We would like to thank everyone who has supported our family's fundraising and the Rotherham Scanner Appeal.

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