Last Wednesday, 15 November, we were honoured to host a very special Royal Reception at St James’ Palace in the presence of Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra

The event was to celebrate the support the Charity has received over the years from many of our high-level donors and fundraisers, as well as former patients who have bravely overcome life-threatening illnesses to live full and rewarding lives. The Charity Team were incredibly humbled to hear their experiences of our hospitals. HRH Princess Alexandra also seemed touched by the stories of bravery that she heard.

Vaughan Wheeler was one guest with such a story. In early 2016, quite out of the blue, Vaughan found himself in the Harefield office of Cardiac Surgeon, Toufan Bahrami, who told him that his aortic valve was leaking – a dangerous condition, which can be fatal. Vaughan underwent open heart surgery to replace the valve at Harefield Hospital. He said: “I know it sounds odd, but I had a great time at Harefield. The nurses and doctors made me feel so incredibly at ease. I was laughing and joking before my surgery because they had reassured me so much at every stage of the process.”

To say thank you to Harefield Hospital for the care he received, just months after his surgery, Vaughan took on a 10k run through London, raising £4,172.

Vaughan added: “My wife Jennifer and I were so happy to be invited this evening to meet with HRH Princess Alexandra and so many other inspiring people.”

Her Royal Highness also met with hospital consultants, including Dr Susanna Price, Consultant Cardiologist and Intensivist on our Adult Intensive Care Unit. Dr Price amazed our guests during a speech in which she described some of the cases she has recently been involved with.

She spoke of one young woman whose heart had stopped and who was clinically dead. Dr Price and her team placed her on an ECMO (extra corporeal membrane oxygenation) machine, which can mimic the function of the heart or lungs (or both) when they have failed. Against all the odds, they were able to revive the young woman who has now returned to her studies in the US. The Charity’s ‘Enhancing Critical Care’ appeal is currently raising money to support many more critically ill patients like these. If you’d like to learn more, please click here.

Her Royal Highness then personally addressed the audience, welcoming them to the palace and thanking them for their support of our Charity, before Helen Pütter, Chair of the Fundraising Committee, presented the Princess with a flower bouquet.

We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who attended this landmark event, particularly HRH Princess Alexandra for being so gracious and welcoming of our donors. We’d also like to thank the companies that supported the evening, including Nyetimber for the award-winning English sparkling wine, Savills and KX Health, whose teams supported the evening with generous donations, and Lavender Green for the beautiful flower arrangement and bouquet.

Finally, we would like to say a big thank you to our guests – from former patients and existing donors, to newer contacts, with whom we look forward to fostering great relationships.