Friday, June 24, 2011

International Freight Shipping and Logistics Industries Called to Assist Great Ormond Street Appeal

OSCAR Campaign Wants to Raise Five Hundred Thousand Pounds
Shipping News Feature

UK /WORLDWIDE – The world famous children’s hospital Great Ormond Street has launched a new appeal for donations from the international shipping and logistics industry. The OSCAR (Ocean and Shipping Community Advancing Children's Health and Research) campaign aims to raise significant funds towards areas of urgent need at the specialist hospital and its research partner, the UCL Institute of Child Health.

The campaign hopes to raise £500,000 toward the remaining £2.2 million needed for the Seas and Oceans themed floor in the hospitals new building and is asking for companies and individuals across the freight shipping community for support by making a gift of £20,000 or more.

The money will be used to create a world-class Clinical Investigations Unit which will house three critical facilities including a Cardiac Day Care Unit, Echo and ECG monitoring and a Lung Function Unit to carry out complete testing on children with heart and lung disorders.

In a statement the hospital said that:

“The campaign represents a unique opportunity to create a shared legacy, delivering tangible support to help advance pioneering medicine for children around the world.

“In addition to making a difference to the lives of thousands of children and their families, your support will also ensure you are engaged with the hospital and the vital work of the clinical investigations team.”

The campaign is the inspiration of Phil Parry, Chairman of shipping recruitment agency Spinnaker Consulting. Mr. Parry started the OSCARS appeal alongside Great Ormond Street following long term treatment for his son Oscar who fell ill with leukaemia at just three years of age.

Although he initially responded well to three years of chemotherapy, Oscar eventually fell ill with an even more aggressive form of the disease and required a bone marrow transplant.

Following the transplant, Oscar relapsed again. A second transplant was needed as well as the removal of his spleen, and at this point Oscar was given just a 10 per cent chance of surviving. Incredibly he pulled through but endured a gruelling 26 weeks as he contracted and fought graft-versus-host disease (GVHD).

Oscar finally made it home, only to be urgently readmitted as the GVHD returned. He was placed on life support and, having suffered several brain haemorrhages and seizures, was given hours to live. It was a terribly difficult time for his family as they watched the disease take its toll on him. Amazingly he recovered and spent the following three months learning how to walk, talk and play again.

Unbelievably, the GVHD then returned for a third time and the whole terrible cycle was repeated. At the recommendation of his doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital, Oscar was nominated to become the first patient ever in the UK to receive a groundbreaking stem cell transplant. Fortunately, the new transplant was a success and finally cured the GVHD.

Today Oscar is happily back at home and has recently started at secondary school. He still needs to visit the hospital every three months.

Mr Parry said that:

“Great Ormond Street Hospital is a very special place to me and my family. It became a second home to us for a number of years while my son Oscar was undergoing his treatment for acute leukaemia. Watching Oscar get better only to see him relapse so many times was very hard for us all but to witness first-hand the unbelievable dedication and support from the doctors, nurses and support staff who were simply unwilling to give up on him was humbling.”

Great Ormond Street Hospital is the UK’s leading children’s research hospital and one of the top four centres of excellence for paediatrics in the world. They have experts across more than 50 paediatric specialties and treat children who suffer from complex and life-threatening illnesses.

The hospital receives over 175,000 patient visits each year from the UK and around the globe, with a large proportion of international patients referred to them from Greece, Cyprus and the Middle East.

They face an ever-increasing demand for their services and with some of their buildings dating back to before World War II there is an urgent need to build new facilities.

Mr. Parry added that:

“Having spent the last 20 years working in shipping, I really believe that there is an opportunity for those of us in the international shipping community to come together in support of a cause that, although not directly related to our industry, could affect any one of us. The OSCAR campaign is a wonderful new initiative that aims to generate much needed support for Great Ormond Street Hospital through the generosity of individuals and organisations from across the world of shipping.

“It is my hope that you will join us and become part of a pioneering philanthropic community within the shipping industry which will make a tangible difference to the lives of the very sick children who come from all over the world to be treated at Great Ormond Street Hospital.”

Anyone who wishes to find how they or their company can get involved in supporting the OSCARS campaign should contact Gordon Smith or Louise Taylor on:

Tel: +44 7239 3016/3098


(pic: Oscar with mum Yvonne and dad Phil)