I recently showed two Trustees from a Charitable Trust around Royal Brompton – they were interested to meet the team who work in the hospital school. We then went to meet a mum and her four month old baby who had had major cardiac surgery. In fact the baby boy had spent time on ECMO -  Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation - which is an extraordinary piece of life-saving equipment for a patient of any age but I cannot imagine what mum and dad must have been going through when their tiny new-born was linked up to the machine. Finally we met Rosie -  a perfusionist here at Royal Brompton who brought a whole ECMO machine to show my two guests how it worked. 

Just an hour and a half tour and conversation and I am in awe of what goes on here at Royal Brompton.  Babies are brought to Royal Brompton from other hospitals all over London and much of the south of England and Wales to receive vital world class treatment. 

ECMO brings people back from the balance between life and death and is nearly always successful – after just a few weeks, patients who would not have survived without this extraordinary equipment and the skills and passion of the huge range of medical staff who make it work, can go home to resume their normal life. In just a few weeks’ time we will be launching a new appeal to buy more of this equipment so we can be sure we will be fully prepared for what winter will throw at us. You will hear more about it then. 

And today I have been learning from Sallinder Rai who is our fundraiser at Harefield about some of the wonderful teams and individuals who take part in the Harefield Fun Run. Many run or walk or jog because they can – they have been patients at Harefield but now they are up and about and they want to say thank you.  Friends and families run alongside them and emotions are high. Other families run in memory of a loved one – remembering time which was a bonus because of a heart or lung transplant – but who is no longer here. 

Taking part in the fun run at Harefield keeps a connection and celebrates a life, even if it was taken too early.  It’s been a moving day just hearing about some of the people who are signing up to come to the Harefield Fun Run – being there is truly a life affirming experience. I missed it one year out of my six years of working here and I felt there was something incomplete. This year I will be there – I hope you will come and join us all for a day you won’t forget.