Ukraine: Edinburgh hospital staff and patients walk four million steps for charity

Staff and patients at an Edinburgh hospital unit have walked four million steps to raise funds for Ukraine.

The number of steps is how many it would take to walk between the Robert Fergusson Unit, a neurorehabilitation service for patients with acquired brain injury and associated behavioural disturbance, in the Scottish capital and Kyiv.

Helen O’Leary, an occupational therapist at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital-based unit, said that “staff and patients really wanted to do their bit to help the humanitarian efforts in Ukraine”.

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“Though some of our patients have a reduced ability to interact with the world, they are still aware of what goes on globally and are incredibly generous and kind,” said Ms O’Leary.

“It’s so wonderful to see patients who wouldn’t otherwise be so active get up and walk around, and for such a good cause.”

The team raised £2,358 in donations and £446 in Gift Aid, all of which will be donated to the British Red Cross to provide aid to the people of Ukraine.

The NHS Lothian hospital staff said a step challenge, rather than a distance challenge, ensured patients with limited mobility could also take part.

After the March challenge was complete, some patients continued to count their steps even after they reached their goal and unit workers said it has resulted in improved long-term activity.

The Scottish capital and Kyiv are twinned cities.

Last month Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and Vitali Klitschko, the mayor of Kyiv, were made freemen of Edinburgh in honour of their “leadership and heroism”.

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