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Diane and Graham Charity Evening
Diane and Graham at their fundraising evening.
Diane and Graham Fundraising 1
Mr Sri Kadirkamanathan, consultant upper GI surgeon, Nick Alston, trust chairman, Mr Shahab Siddiqi, consultant colorectal surgeon, and Yvonne Carter, charities manager, with Diane and Graham.
Diane and Graham Fundraising 2

September 14

Fundraising couple twirl their way around the dance floor to raise £1,800 for our robotic surgery appeal

A fundraising couple have twirled their way around the dance floor to raise £1,800 for our robotic surgery appeal.

Diane Whitelaw and Graham Christie held their charity dance at Hamptons Sport and Leisure on August 18. 

Guests enjoyed an evening of ballroom, Latin and sequence dancing, plus a raffle.

The couple were inspired to fundraise for the appeal after Graham underwent robotic surgery.

Diane said: “The evening was a great success, more so than we could ever have imagined. Everyone was happy and loved the music and dancing.

“We are grateful to everyone who was involved, including those who attended, contributed donations and offered raffle prizes. Special thanks go to Currys PC World for donating the Amazon Echo which raised £100 in our silent auction.

“We would also like to thank the following local businesses: ASDA (SWF); Boots; Claremont Garden Centre (Maldon); Jems Dance & Party; Majestic Wine; Morrisons (Maldon); Odeon Cinema; Pizza Express, Prezzo; Sainsburys; Secret Garden Tea Rooms; Tesco;  Vintage Inns (Fox and Raven, Chelmsford); Waterstones; and Wyvale Garden Centre.

“This was our first attempt at running such an event and we are extremely grateful for the guidance and support received from the Mid Essex Hospitals NHS Trust Charity team.”

Graham’s Story: “Funding the robot is so important” 

Graham Christie, 74, from Bicknacre 

“In February 2015, I visited Cuba for the third time. It has beautiful beaches, glorious weather, interesting architecture, friendly people...but the food was dreadful! I contracted food poisoning towards the end of my holiday, returning home to discover it was campylobacter, which did not respond to the antibiotics prescribed. I was very lucky that my GP at the Danbury Medical Centre was ‘on the ball’. He acted immediately and within two weeks I'd been given a colonoscopy, CT scan and MRI scan, complete with results. I could not have had better treatment. 

“The colonoscopy identified a small cancer in my rectum, in a difficult position to get to. I was fast tracked for surgery and an opportunity arose for the operation to be carried out by Mr Shahab Siddiqi, who suggested robotic surgery.

“At the end of August 2015, I had the operation, which lasted nine hours and included removal of the tumour, repair to a hernia and the fitting of a stoma bag (ileostomy). Fortunately neither chemotherapy nor radiotherapy was required.

“After eight days in Broomfield Hospital, with nurses who went beyond the call of duty in their care of each patient, I was ready to return home and face life with a stoma bag. Rather than feeling sorry for myself, I made a conscious decision to continue with life as normal. It took a while to regain my fitness levels but I was soon dancing again (I teach with my partner Diane), rambling with my local walking group and swimming.

“Nine months after my operation, I took a two and a half hour flight to enjoy a holiday in Sorrento and revisited the following year. I also took my grandchildren and their family to Tenerife in November 2016. A year later, I flew 12 hours to Mauritius and coped extremely well. 

“Earlier this year during February/March I was even more adventurous, as Diane and I visited Singapore then went on to Perth, Sydney and Cairns where we experienced white water rafting, amongst other activities. I hope my story will bring inspiration to new ostomates and anyone feeling reluctant to pursue life with the same vigour as before. Don't let it stand in your way. 

“Funding the robot is so important.”

‘Our Charity’ is calling on the community to rally together for our £1.5million appeal to fund the upgrading of the robotic surgery service at Broomfield Hospital, including a state-of-the-art new surgical robot and the continued use of surgical robotics.   

There is significant evidence that demonstrates a number of advantages for patients who have benefited from surgery with the surgical robot compared to conventional surgical techniques including: 

•Shorter hospital stays

•Immediate effects during recovery

•Precision surgery (overcoming limitations of laparoscopic surgery)

Your support will put Broomfield Hospital firmly on the map as surgical innovators in Essex.

You can donate to our appeal, ‘Rally Together for the Robot’, here: https://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/midessexhospitals/surgicalbot