Once again, I'm raising much-needed funds for the brilliant facial palsy unit at the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead - though this time I'm taking my fundraising activity up a few notches by cycling from Land's End to John O'Groats as part of the Deloitte Ride Across Britain event. That's 969 miles in 9 days up some serious hills.
Those who read my page last year will know just how much this unit, staffed by some amazing people, helped my brother-in-law, Bob, recover after an operation on his brain to relieve an involuntary facial spasm caused by a trapped nerve. When you use the words 'life-changing' to describe the effect the treatment had on him you begin to realise the impact of the work done by this facial palsy team. To read the full story go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/michael-gwynn1.
Unfortunately, this is a severely underfunded department, and there's so much more they could do with the right financial support.
One initiative they want to pursue is the development of an app that aims to improve facial rehabilitation by tracking facial muscle activity in real time, and this allows patients to perform rehabilitation exercises without having to look in a mirror. Not all patients will be able to afford a tablet computer, so the FP unit would like to purchase six of them so that they can be loaned to those in need. More about the project can be found here: http://www.facialpalsy.org.uk/research/current-projects/mirror-facial-rehab-app/
That's where my targeted £2,000 will go, and any surplus will contribute to the creation of the app itself. I know you get bombarded by funding requests, but I've seen first hand and close up what a difference this department makes to people's lives, and so all donations, however small, will be gratefully received.
Big thanks also go to the award-winning Tarana restaurant in Lingfield who have contributed £1,000 to the cost of the ride. Classy people who serve up some amazing Indian food.