Players, staff and supporters of Stafford Rugby Club have come together to raise over £13,000 for the Kidney Unit at University Hospitals of North Midlands (UHNM).
The club held a variety of fundraising events throughout the year including quiz nights, a New Year’s Eve auction and a sponsored bike ride to raise the funds through UHNM Charity.
Vice-president of Stafford Rugby Club Jennifer Walklate presented their cheque to the hospital charity at a special ceremony at the club’s new Coopers Park facility near Doxey Marshes, Stafford.
Jennifer said: “Following my mum Gloria being diagnosed with acute kidney failure, she has been looked after amazingly by the staff at the Royal Stoke University Hospital. My mum has to use a range of equipment and medications which were supplied to her for free on the NHS. This got me thinking about the cost to the Unit that care like this can generate, and so wanted to give something back. Every season the club chooses a charity to support and raise funds for, and this year we decided it was UHNM Charity. One of our main fundraising events was the ‘Tour de Shire’, a 270-mile bike ride over three days, calling in at every rugby club in the county. The ride to the 32 clubs went fantastic, with 30 riders taking part, many of who still ride together now- the spirit of everyone at the rugby club has been amazing, and I’d like to thank everybody who has helped with the fundraising.”
As well as the Tour de Shire, Stafford Rugby Club chairman Tim Woolman also ran the York Marathon to raise funds for the Unit.
Julie Cumberlidge, Matron for Renal Medicine at UHNM said: “We’re always very grateful for any donations towards our charitable funds, and use donations on items that enhance the patient environment on the kidney unit, wards and departments. We’re currently looking at new patient moving equipment, which can also weigh patients as opposed to having to use traditional scales. We’re also looking for new and more comfortable chairs and put up beds for visitors.”
The purpose-built Kidney Unit opened at the Royal Stoke in 2012 and covers an area of 1.2 million people. An internationally-recognised research facility, it also acts as a teaching hospital with Keele University Medical School. Jennifer’s mum Gloria Meakin added: “It’s amazing how friendly and how much at ease they made me feel throughout everything. I can’t say enough about how caring they were, I was treated as a person not a patient. You’re never frightened to ask for anything, as nothing was too much trouble, and they would do anything for you- so lovely.”