12 Mar 2015 Leave a comment
06 Mar 2015 Leave a comment
It was the question that divided the world last week: What colour is that dress? Now, the Salvation Army has used the publicity around the garment in its powerful new domestic violence campaign.
The Salvation Army has used #Dressgate to launch a powerful awareness campaign around domestic violence. The organisation has produced a poster showing an image of a young woman, covered in cuts and bruises. She’s also wearing ‘that dress’ – albeit the mythical white and gold version.
The message on the advert reads: ‘Why is it so hard to see black and blue?’ A caption adds: ‘The only illusion is if you think it was her choice. One in six women are victims of abuse. Stop abuse against women.’
The garment is being used as a force for good, ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8.
03 Mar 2015 Leave a comment
Stem cells have the potential to help treat many different conditions, including MS – The Daily Telegraph reports a “miracle” stem cell therapy that reverses multiple sclerosis and which, according to The Sunday Times, gets “wheelchair-bound” people dancing. Multiple sclerosis (MS) affects nerves in the brain and spinal cord, causing problems with muscle movement, balance and vision. It’s an autoimmune disease, where the body’s immune system attacks its own nerve cells. There is currently no cure, but many different treatments are available to help with symptoms.
The UK MS website says there are currently no approved stem cell treatments for people with MS available anywhere in the world. This is largely because not enough is known about their effectiveness and the safety of using these cells.
Yet earlier this year Dr. Richard K. Burt performed the first hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) for a multiple sclerosis (MS) patient in the United States at Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Burt and his colleagues published the results of their newest HSCT study earlier this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Their results show that HSCT could be the first MS therapy to reverse disability. Though the study group was small, the results have experts hopeful.
For this trial, 151 patients underwent a stem cell transplant. First, their immune systems were tamped down using low-dose chemotherapy. Then, doctors used HSCT therapy, involving an infusion of the patients’ own stem cells, previously harvested from their blood, to reboot their immune systems. After a short stay in the hospital, the volunteers went about their normal lives, needing no “maintenance” drugs.
Over the next several years, the volunteers were periodically given a series of tests to measure their disability. One test, known as the Expanded Disability Status Scale, or EDSS, measures cognition, coordination, and walking, among other things. Participants underwent MRI scans and completed questionnaires to measure their overall quality of life.
The researchers found that at two years post-transplant half of the patients showed a marked improvement in disability. Of the patients who were followed for four years, more than 80 percent remained relapse-free.
If it’s NOT a cure where did the story come from? Generally, the papers reported the story accurately. It is always difficult to justify the use of a “miracle” cure, because it means different things to different people – and the improvements cited for some people do seem worthy of the tag. However, while the treatment looks promising, it’s at an early stage of development. The treatment is very aggressive, and also tested in specific types of MS, so may not be suitable for all people with MS. Similarly, the treatment has not yet been proven effective or safe in large enough groups for the results to be reliable.
01 Mar 2015 Leave a comment
In July 2013, 25 riders and a support team set off from the National Police Memorial in London, making the journey across six counties to the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. Following the success of the ride a committee was formed to take the idea forward.
In July 2014, the tour included representatives from Police Forces around the UK, raising in excess of £45,000 to aid the work of Care of Police Survivors (UK).
This year PC Robert Steven and PC Neil Cowley are cycling 170m from London to Staffordshire for Care of Police Survivors charity who support and care for families left behind. They have entered this event as a representatives of Northamptonshire Police Service, “Team Northants”.
PC Steven’s says:
The thin blue line continues to get ever thinner as the loss of police colleagues occurs more frequently. With the murder of Greater Manchester officers, PC’s Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes, in 2012 and then PC Andrew Duncan who was killed in a hit and run last year – the world of policing becomes an increasingly dangerous place to be.
The National Police Memorial at the corner of The Mall and Horse Guards in London is the starting point for the UK Police Unity Tour. The memorial contains an inscribed roll of honour with the names of approximately 1600 officers killed whilst on duty.
28 Feb 2015 Leave a comment
Rare Disease Day 2015 puts the focus on the daily lives of patients, families and caregivers who are Living with a Rare Disease.
Over 6000 different rare diseases have been identified to date, directly affecting the daily life of more than 30 million people in Europe alone. The complex nature of rare diseases, coupled with limited access to treatment and services, means that family members are often the primary source of solidarity, support and care for their loved ones. The Rare Disease Day 2015 theme Living with a Rare Disease pays tribute to the millions and millions of parents, siblings, grandparents, spouses, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends whose daily lives are impacted and who are living day-by-day, hand-in-hand with rare disease patients.
Typically chronic and debilitating, rare diseases have enormous repercussions for the whole family. Living with a rare disease becomes a daily learning experience for patients and families. Though they have different names and different symptoms, rare diseases impact the daily lives of patients and families in similar ways.
In Europe, there are many initiatives designed to improve daily life: Developing and facilitating access to diagnostics and treatments can change the day-to-day reality for someone with a rare disease. Identifying and improving access to specialised social services for rare diseases enables families to improve the quality of daily life. RareConnect, EURORDIS’ moderated multi-language online social forum, allows people with rare diseases to break their isolation and to connect and share experiences. Please visit the Living with a rare disease section of the EURORDIS website to learn more about the daily challenges of living day-by-day, hand-in-hand with a rare disease and the ways in which patients and families are meeting these challenges.
Watch and Share the Official Rare Disease Day 2015 Video!
18 Feb 2015 Leave a comment
In June 2001, at the age of 7, Sebastian Gates was diagnosed with a Wilms’ tumour – a rare form of childhood cancer. Over the next two-and-a-half years he endured many operations, a stem-cell transplant, scores of chemotherapy courses and radiotherapy. Sadly, Sebastian died on Christmas Eve 2003.
Throughout his illness, Sebastian showed remarkable courage and a maturity that belied his nine years. Sebastian’s approach to his cancer was always positive and a source of inspiration to all who met him. Instead of focusing on himself, Sebastian sought opportunities to help others through their individual battles with illness and disease.
Having raised the funds required for a much-needed refurbishment of the Children’s Cancer Unit at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, Sebastian turned his attention to the plight of families struggling to cope with all that accompanies a child’s battle with a life-threatening condition.
In the month before he died, Sebastian launched a new fundraising drive to establish a holiday home that would provide somewhere exclusively for families to spend precious time together, away from the hospitals and punishing treatment programmes that govern the lives of cancer patients and others with life-threatening conditions. Sebastian believed the holiday home should be available all year and should offer respite breaks to families with sick youngsters.
Sebastian’s Action Trust has created the UK’s only purpose-built facility that offers respite holidays to very sick children and their families, enabling precious time to be spent together.
The house, called The Bluebells, has been built in the pretty Hampshire village of North Waltham. It opened in July 2011. Nothing like this previously existed in the UK, making The Bluebells the first of its kind and Sebastian’s vision all the more exceptional.
Family Outreach Hub, in Slough Berkshire, provides a welcome drop-in centre for families of seriously-ill children, enabling them to access advice, guidance, advocacy, counselling and therapeutic support in order to address some of the critical issues they face on a daily basis.
They also give emotional, social and practical support in many different forms, through an outreach service to families of children battling with life-limiting illnesses and provide meaningful assistance at critical times to those exhausted by the stresses of hospital life and their child’s gruelling treatment.
The Trust does not have a restrictive geographical catchment area and already supports families in the South East, principally from Berkshire, Hampshire, Surrey, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire; however, they are happy to welcome families from outside these areas for respite breaks at The Bluebells.
At Sebastian’s Action Trust, they care about making life a little easier for these children and young people. With your help they can continue to give support where and when it is needed.