The last couple of weeks have again been a whirlwind of activity here at the Charity.

I’ll start by saying a huge thank you to our Chair of the Fundraising Committee, Helen Putter, for making our Women at the Heart of the Matter event such a success. But not only was it successful, it was also thoroughly enjoyable and educational. Held in the beautiful Apothecaries’ Hall, it was the perfect location to reach our target to buy a brand new and vital piece of medical equipment. Called an EndoPAT, this piece of equipment helps consultants diagnose and subsequently treat women with cardiovascular disease quickly and non-invasively. This fantastic piece of life-saving kit became the focus and theme for our event.

Assisted by one of our wonderful Trustees, Caroline Bault, as well as the Charity team, Helen hosted a fabulous luncheon and auction, and, to our delight it raised more money than the equipment costs. So, we have also raised funds for our One gene, all the difference appeal to expand Royal Brompton’s Genetics and Genomics Laboratory, which is growing to be a truly world-class diagnostic centre for serious genetic heart and lung conditions.

The purpose of the luncheon was primarily to raise awareness about women’s cardiac conditions. More women die of heart attacks than men. That is a fact. But it is not necessarily because women have more heart attacks than men – it is because women present cardiac failure in different ways. Where men have a crushing pain in their chest, which acts as the trigger to instantly seek help, women have pain in the form of stiffness or an ache, but over a longer period of time. It’s therefore incredibly easy to ignore – that is, until it’s too late. Our theme was therefore all about prevention and testing. The EndoPAT machine provides a simple test to establish whether or not someone is at risk – and if they are, they can take steps, whether they are clinical or lifestyle, to avoid potential tragedy.

Thank you to all of our guests, our sponsors – Premier League and the Michael Hintze Charitable Foundation – and to the gorgeous Ella Mills. Perhaps better known as Deliciously Ella, she gave a very moving speech about her journey from being diagnosed with a serious cardiac illness, through to being one of today’s most successful food entrepreneurs. Thank you, Ella.

Two of Royal Brompton’s wonderful professors – Peter Collins and John Pepper OBE – played hosts for the luncheon. They underlined the glamorous event with a serious message about how cardiovascular disease can affect anyone, and our guests certainly took that message on board.

So now we look to Christmas, which to be honest, has already begun at the Charity.

In a day of firsts for us, we held our inaugural Christmas Gift Fair on 14 November, which was truly a shopper’s paradise – I did most of my Christmas shopping there, while at the same time, helping the Charity – and in the evening, we had our first Brompton Quiz, hosted by Clive Anderson. There was delicious food, great company, a wonderful location and over £13,000 raised for our One gene, all the difference appeal.

And today – just today – we have heard that we have secured £50,000 from a Charitable Trust to help us with our ambition to build six new state-of-the-art intensive care unit bedrooms and a scanner centre at Harefield Hospital. As you can tell, November has been a very good month.

Will you help us make December fantastic too?  Please join us for our wonderful December events and help us raise funds for our two superb hospitals. We have:

  • Santa Dash 2016 at Ruislip Lido – guaranteed to make you laugh – especially if you put on a Santa suit and join in.  It’s such a super day.
  • Royal Brompton’s Carols by Candlelight Concert at St Luke’s in Chelsea, with a host of special readers including BBC’s Nick Robinson – Wednesday 7 December, at 6.30pm.
  • Harefield Hospital’s Carols by Candlelight Concert at St Mary’s Church, Harefield – Thursday 8 December, at 7pm.

Huge thanks to Savills for sponsoring our Royal Brompton Carols by Candlelight Concert, helping us to raise even more money for our hospital.

So, if your calendar isn’t already filled with festive activities, do please come along – I would love to see you and wish you a Happy Christmas in person.