When it comes to places in the Capital that are associated with heroes, sporting arenas and music venues might be ones that instantly spring to mind.
But while they may not enjoy the adulation of the masses or have millions in the bank, the Sick Kids hospital in Sciennes sees thousands of heroes pass through its doors every year. And for the first time they are set to be recognised at an awards ceremony which aims to thank the brave patients, selfless staff and dedicated fundraisers who make the hospital one of Edinburgh’s best-loved institutions.
The Sick Kids Friends Foundation, itself celebrating its 20th anniversary, has today launched the Sick Kids Heroes awards – and has appealed to the public to put their own ideas forward.
The winners will then be decided by a public vote in four categories and by an expert panel in three others, ahead of an awards ceremony in May.
The Friends Foundation, which provides state-of-the-art medical equipment, funds improvements to facilities and pays for specialist training programmes that the NHS could not buy on its own, has received the full backing of the Evening News in its effort to shine a light on some of the region’s most courageous patients, along with talented and caring medical staff.
The charity’s chief executive, Maureen Harrison, said: “I’m delighted to announce our media partnership with the Edinburgh Evening News to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Sick Kids Friends Foundation.
“The anniversary marks two decades of help from fundraisers, volunteers and staff at the hospital to make sure we provide support for sick children receiving treatment and their families.
“We hope that our 20th year will be a record fundraising year culminating in a celebratory awards event where we’ll have the chance to hear some amazing stories and salute the courage, skills and tremendous caring attributes of many.”
The four categories that will be decided by a public vote include one to find two inspirational patients, a member of staff who has made the “ultimate difference”, a successful young fundraiser and an “amazing” volunteer fundraiser.
A panel, which includes Taggart and Holby City actress Siobhan Redmond and a representative from the young people’s advisory group at the hospital as well as Evening News editor Frank O’Donnell, will select winners in categories to recognise companies that have exceeded fundraising expectations, a team that “goes the extra mile” and a hospital volunteer.
The awards ceremony, which follows a lunch event, is to take place on May 10 at the Caledonian Hotel. The Friends Foundation is also searching for sponsors for individual awards, with prices ranging from £300 to £1000, while the event title sponsorship is up for grabs for £5000.
Frank O’Donnell, editor of the Evening News, said: “We are tremendously lucky to have such a wonderful facility as the Sick Kids on our doorstep.
“Our readers are always telling us just how much they appreciate all the work that is done there, so I am delighted that the News can play a part in recognising all the unsung heroes that make it happen.
“Whether it is a kind hospital porter, a world-renowned surgeon or an inspirational young patient or fundraiser, I hope as many of you as possible will take the chance to say a big thank you to your own Sick Kids hero.”
Dorothy Hanley, chief nurse at the Sick Kids, paid tribute to the Friends Foundation, which within the past 12 months alone has provided equipment including ultrasound machines worth £94,000, a new children’s play area within the Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion, a £36,000 heart scanner for infants and children and paid for music therapy classes.
The nurse, who will also sit on the awards judging panel, said: “For the past 20 years, the Sick Kids Friends Foundation has played a hugely important role in supporting families and staff at the hospital. We are delighted that, as part of their anniversary celebrations, we have this opportunity to recognise their contribution and that of individual patients, members of staff and volunteers.
“I know that the judging panel is going to have some very difficult decisions to make and would encourage the people of Edinburgh to get involved and to nominate someone they know who has made a difference.”
Nominations are welcome from anybody – whether they have been directly affected by the work of the Sick Kids hospital or not.
They could come from a patient or one of their family members, or a Evening News reader who has been touched by one of our stories in the past. Nominations are expected by April 11, ahead of judging on April 18. Public voting, which will be carried out through the Friends Foundation Facebook page and website, will be open between April 19 and May 1.
The awards have been launched as the Sick Kids enters its final years at Sciennes. A new facility, which will join on to the Royal Infirmary at Little France, is due to open its doors in 2017.
Three consortia which have bid to build and run the hospital, which will also incorporate NHS Lothian’s clinical neuroscience and child and adolescent mental health service, have been shortlisted with a winner due to be chosen in spring 2014.
The Sick Kids Friends Foundation is expected to continue to be heavily involved in the new hospital, with the existing Sick Kids set to be sold off once its replacement is ready.
How you can nominate:
Phone: 0131-668 4949 Or send us your name, address and postcode to receive a nomination form by post.
Send to: Sick Kids Friends Foundation
20 Millerfield Place, Edinburgh EH9 1LW
The categories in the awards, which are set to be presented on May 10 in a glittering awards ceremony, are:
• A patient who has filled us with admiration (there will be two winners in this category).
• A member of staff who has made the ultimate difference
• A young Sick Kids fundraiser whose success has inspired us all
• A volunteer fundraiser whose efforts for the Sick Kids have been outstanding
• A company whose fundraising has been beyond expectations
• A team who always go the extra mile
• A Royal Hospital for Sick Children volunteer whose time given to Sick
Kids has touched our hearts.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE
THE Sick Kids Heroes award is looking to honour those people who make the hospital such a special place – so who could you nominate?
It might be a special nurse whose caring touch made all the difference to your visit to the hospital, or a poorly youngster whose determination to overcome the obstacles life has thrown in their way has inspired you. Whoever it is we want to hear from you.
The Evening News has featured several inspirational stories on the work of the Sick Kids hospital, the patients who have been treated there and their families.
Jack Henderson, originally from Prestonpans, raised more than £30,000 for the hospital since he set up his Jack Draws Anything website.
He was moved to raise cash for the facility after his brother, Noah, was treated there. He was named Child Fundraiser of the Year at the Pride of Britain Awards.
Another major fundraiser is 92-year-old veteran Tom Gilzean, who started collecting for charity five years ago after being contacted by a friend who wanted help raising funds for the Sick Kids Friends Foundation.
He has since raised more than £70,000 for a variety of causes – with the SKFF being the biggest beneficiary – and he was awarded a British Empire Medal in the New Year Honours list for his tireless work.
Thanos Tsirikos, a spinal surgeon at the hospital, has proved popular with staff and patients due to his dedication. The father-of-three said he treated patients like members of “his own family”.
One of the youngsters he treated – with the help of specialist equipment paid for by the SKFF – was Nicole Page, a teenager from Bathgate.
Nicole had suffered from a severe curvature of her spine, but with the help of Tsanos, the 60-degree curve was straightened.
Samantha Muncie is a proud mum whose life has been touched by the Sick Kids. Her son, Stephen, weighed just 2lb 3oz when he was born 14 weeks premature and the 20-year-old was told to expect the worst after bleeding on his brain was discovered.
Samantha and her partner, Stephen Galloway, were asked whether they wanted to turn off his life-support machine, but Stephen was saved after consultant Jerard Ross came into hospital on his day off to perform emergency surgery. Samantha then raised money for the Sick Kids by taking part in a 10km walk.
Maiya Sutherland is another brave youngster to have been treated at the Sick Kids. We told last November how Maiya, then just three, was rushed by ambulance to the Sick Kids after she suffered a potentially lethal stroke.
She received physiotherapy and speech therapy, and returned home around a week and a half after later.
Maiya’s speedy recovery would not have been possible without the care and dedication of the “amazing” staff at the Sick Kids, for whom parents David and Samantha were full of praise.
Another inspirational patient is teenager Kaya McInnes, who had to learn to walk again after suffering horrific injuries in a head-on car crash in 2007. Originally feared dead, she reached hospital in a deep coma. But the former James Gillespie’s pupil stunned staff at the Sick Kids by learning to walk on her own and talk again.
To nominate your Sick Kids Heroes award, fill out your form and return it to Maureen Harrison, The Sick Kids Friends Foundation, 20 Millerfield Place, Edinburgh, EH9 1LW.