Harefield hospital is a world renowned leader in heart and lung transplantation and has carried out over 3000 transplants since 1980. It is a dedicated heart attack centre and a pioneer in research for 'artificial hearts' and 'ventricular assist devices'. But behind these statistics are very sick patients who are often in hospital for months and months at a time. Once a major operation has been successfully carried out, it is the long and frightening process of recovery and rehabilitation which results in people remaining in hospital for a prolonged period. The rate of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is very common in patients, especially after a long stay in the intensive care unit.

Harefield hospital are raising money to provide a calming space for patients and relatives during lengthy hospital admissions. There is plenty of research to show that nature and natural sunlight improves our physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing, but we all know from experience how much brighter nature - plus or minus a sunny day - can make us feel.

Numerous studies have shown that patients with access to, or a view of nature experience:

- Fewer complications after surgery
- A reduced need for pain relief
- More positive emotions
- Patients who were able to see nature were also discharged sooner than those who looked out on an brick wall.

The healing garden will include pathways large enough for two wheelchairs, and smooth enough for drip stands to be pulled along easily and for those who are unsteady when walking. The garden will also have private seating areas nestled amongst planting, existing mature trees offering shade from sunny days and grassy areas for children to play.

On Sunday 1st July, I will be taking part in a 26-mile bike ride from the Royal Brompton Hospital, all the way to Harefield Hospital along the Grand Union Canal, in aid of this wonderful cause. My mode of transport will be my beautiful, bright blue town bike which I will decorate with an abundance of leaves, vines and flowers :-) I hope to raise a minimum of £200 for this but would be grateful for any donation that can be spared - every penny counts! :-)

Thank you! xXx Cassie Huckle