A fundraiser for the intensive care unit at Tunbridge Wells Hospital has helped raise over £18,000 for the ward.
Over 600 people have contributed a total of £18,089 for the hospital as of this afternoon (29 April).
The money will be ringfenced exclusively for the intensive care unit, with the first £1,000 going partially towards buying iPads so that patients in the unit will still be able to contact their families and loved ones without the risk of spreading the Coronavirus.
The rest of the first £1,000 will then be spent on a “wobble room”, designed to give staff at the unit a personal space to help with their mental wellbeing.
All other funds will then be spent on equipment for the ICU unit.
Intensive care campaign
The campaign was set up by mother-of-three Caroline May from Langton Green.
Ms May, who regularly sets up fundraisers like this one, told The Canterbury Hub that she had to think outside the box when trying to get people interested.
She explained that she decided to go for a reverse 999 theme to help promote the fundraiser.
“The reverse 999 came in because I wanted it to be successful remotely”, May continued.
“My previous campaigns involved swimathons, parties in the park, quiz nights, but under these circumstances they weren’t possible.
“999 works nicely, because £9.99 is affordable, but it also has the theme for flipping the idea that to get help you dial 999.
“Now we need to help our NHS, so it’s a reverse 999 situation.
“There have been a lot of variations of £9.99 – we’ve had three £999 donations so far.
“I had to stand next to his bed and watch him fight for his life”
In 2018 Ms May’s son, Arthur, was diagnosed with severe, acute heart failure caused by Myocarditis, a viral infection of the heart.
He was rushed to the pediatric intensive care unit at Evelina London Children’s Hospital, where he fortunately made a full recovery.
She explained how this terrifying ordeal made her particularly empathetic towards the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Corona hits close to home for me because it’s a virus, like what Arthur had.
“I’ve had to be with Arthur on two 999 calls, as well as one transfer to the intensive care unit.
“He was in ICU for 3 weeks. I had to stand next to his bed and watch him fight for his life. People can’t even stand by their beds now.
Ms May said that the local reaction to the fundraiser has been incredible.
“The response has been amazing,” Ms May continued.
“We’ve had lots of encouragement from people. It resonates with people.
“It just feels like you can make a difference. It’s about building community and connection, and still feel like you’re making a difference.”
You can donate to the fundraiser here.