Michael Gwynn

Michael's page

Fundraising for Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust Charitable Fund
raised of £1,500 target
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Event: Prudential RideLondon 2017, on 30 July 2017
We support Queen Victoria Hospital to deliver excellent care & rebuild lives


I'm using this 100-mile ride to raise money for the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead - in particular,  the brilliant facial palsy unit and its related departments. To choose something this niche, there is clearly a specific reason. In my case, it is witnessing the transformation in the physical and emotional wellbeing of my brother-in-law, Bob, following his treatment at the QVH.

Here's Bob's story in his own words.........

In July 2016 I had a brain operation to correct an involuntary facial spasm, caused by a blood vessel touching the facial nerve, that had got progressively worse over an 18-month period.

The surgery turned out to be much more complex than expected, taking over three hours, and involved manipulating the facial and hearing nerves - which they really don't like! When I came around I was left with total facial paralysis and complete hearing loss on one side.

I quickly discovered that facial palsy is a very unpleasant and debilitating condition. It affects you not only physically due to major problems with speaking, eating, and sleeping (including constant eye issues) but also psychologically. Facing the world and trying to get back to a normal life, knowing how you look, is a scary ordeal.

I had great support from my family and friends, but at times it still all felt pretty hopeless, and I experienced some very dark times. Then my niece, Mary, who works at the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead, told me about their amazing facial palsy unit, summarised on their website thus:

"The award-winning team is lead by a consultant plastic surgeon and includes a consultant maxillofacial surgeon, consultant oculo-plastic surgeon, psychological therapists, specialist physiotherapist and speech and language therapists. Together they use new techniques and expertise to re-animate the face which are simpler, more effective and less traumatic than traditional methods."

My first appointment was with Vanessa Venables, and although it was initially intended just to discuss physiotherapy, it was so much more, and at last I was talking to someone who understood my situation exactly. This first meeting resulted in the most progress I had made since the surgery. Her knowledge and support, along with the information I received from her gave, me a huge boost and   determination to get better.

Subsequently I have been a regular visitor to the QVH, seeing Vanessa and various other members of the team. They have all been wonderful. They never rush you, and they have offered the same high level of knowledge and care. And remember, this is all on the NHS.

It's now seven months since my surgery and I have made progress. I will never get back to how I was before, but without the support of the team at the QVH I don't believe I would be where I am today. I can't help but wonder how I would have coped or what if any progress I would have made without them.

So, to help them continue their great work, it would be great if you could spare some loose change. All donations are very welcome, large or small!

Thank you, and please feel free to visit this page for regular updates on the fundraising and gruelling training.

About the charity

Queen Victoria Hospital provides life-changing surgery and care to every NHS patient who needs us. With your support QVH can do even more to help rebuild lives such as making improvements to patient environments, purchasing items for the benefit of patients, and supporting research.

Donation summary

Total raised
+ £497.14 Gift Aid
Online donations
Offline donations

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