We’ve done it!
The South Cleveland Heart Fund has reached its £1m target for the upgrade of a MRI scanner, thanks to generous donations from the public.
The £1m milestone was reached within 18 months, after a number of kind-hearted people rallied together to raise vital funds for the cause – with events ranging from race nights to a Bollywood extravaganza!
The upgrade will enable cardiac consultants to carry out state of the art scanning and a full Cardiac Magnetic Resonance (CMR) Imaging service, supporting the James Cook University Hospital’s existing status as a regional cardiothoracic centre at the leading edge of heart care advances.
Doctors will now be able to view the moving heart in high definition from any angle and without exposure to X-rays.
This will enable them to identify areas of scarring due to heart attacks or heart muscle disorders, in a procedure Dr Neil Maredia, consultant cardiologist at The James Cook University Hospital, described as being like “putting the heart under a microscope, without the need for an invasive tissue biopsy”.
Dr Maredia said the trust was very grateful to the South Cleveland Heart Fund for raising “such an impressive sum”.
“Thanks to their efforts, we have now commenced a major upgrade of our existing MRI scanner, which will bring it up to the latest specifications, allowing us to provide a high quality and resilient service for the region,” he said.
“A further portion of the money raised will be used to facilitate the installation of a brand new high-powered MRI scanner which will bring greater capacity to the unit and, with its wider bore, allow us to undertake scans in a greater proportion of the population than was previously possible.
“As well as expanding the clinical service we provide to patients from around the region, these developments will drive an increase in the unit’s research activity, with the aim of improving our understanding of heart disease and its future management.”
Adrian Davies, chairman of South Cleveland Heart Fund, said it was down to the hard work of the whole committee and donors that the fund had reached its latest target in such a short space of time.
“The SCHF committee, who are all volunteers, received invaluable help from the Gazette campaign, Rotary Clubs in our catchment area of 1.6m raised £80k, led by Mike Overy of Middlesbrough Erimus, MFC Charity partnership, Psyche, Acklam and Stockton Rugby clubs, and all the donations from grateful patients and their loved ones too numerous to mention. A massive thank you to all who supported this vital campaign.”
He added the South Cleveland Heart Fund still had a number of other items on its “shopping list” and would continue to raise money for the trust.
“We raised £1.4m before this latest £1m and we will carry on raising money to keep the unit at the leading edge of advances, such as getting new equipment, training and pump-priming new techniques and research,” he said.
“Our next event will be an evening of entertainment on 15 April at the Riverside Stadium thanks to Middlesbrough Football Club, one of our charity partners for this year. We are also planning a golf day on 21 April at Rockliffe as part of our work with the football club.”
Dr Michael Stewart, consultant cardiologist and chief of cardiothoracic services at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “The South Cleveland Heart Fund has supported facilities for cardiac patients from Teesside, County Durham, Cumbria and North Yorkshire for many years; but to have raised so much money for this appeal in such a timely way is a fantastic achievement.
“By ensuring that we have access to the latest technology, the Heart Fund will help us achieve our goal of providing the best possible care to our patients with heart disease, and allow us to broaden our research studies to make sure that we can continue this in future. We and our patients owe them a huge thank you!”