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“My grandmother is a living miracle”

It was a Saturday afternoon in mid-February when the house phone rang – and it would drastically change our lives forever…

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Posted on September 5, 2017 5:08 pm
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“Volunteering was an incredible experience”

“What does a final year university student do during her summer break? Well, I decided to pack my bags, and move to the other side of the world for six weeks. Read more

“My walk for Will”

Lily Dannreuther, 9, decided to walk from Brighton to Eastbourne in memory of family friend Will, who died after battling a brain tumour. He was a National Hospital patient and took on a fundraising walk back in 2010 to help raise money to set up the Molly Lane Fox Unit. Lily is raising money for our latest Molly’s Fund appeal, which aims to double the size of the unit. Read more

“Don’t think about it, just DO it!”

Think you’re not up to taking on a challenge for the New Year? Think again! National Hospital patient Virginia Goldsack never thought she would be able to complete more than a 5k – until she was persuaded to do the impossible and run The London Marathon.

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Exciting times ahead

As we come to the end of a year full of surprising outcomes globally, it is a relief that more locally at The National Brain Appeal, things have been going to plan. Our supporters came up trumps in a different way by raising £4m, enabling work to start on our new operating theatres at The National Hospital.

An appeal to raise £500,000 to double the size of the Molly Lane Fox Unit for brain tumour patients got off to an excellent start and we’ve raised more than half the amount already.

And another new exciting project focusing on providing a fantastic treatment to more stroke patients in Queen Square was launched. More information on all of these can be found here on our website.

We have had some amazing fundraisers doing all sorts of things from staying in their pyjamas for two weeks to swimming and running round the Scilly Isles, but we are of course grateful for all the funds raised in more traditional ways too – from donations and direct debits to bake sales.

In busy lives and busy times we appreciate your support so much, and we look forward to continuing to update you on the successful projects you make possible.

Wishing you a peaceful and happy Christmas and New Year. May all your wishes for the year ahead come true.

Theresa Dauncey, chief executive

PS: The year closes with the wonderful news that UCL has been selected as the central hub of a new £250m Dementia Research Institute. Hope for the future.

Posted on December 31, 2016 4:04 pm
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The future of stroke care in Queen Square

Our current appeal is to raise £1.5m to expand the stroke service at The National Hospital.

Stroke is the fourth largest cause of death in the UK. The people who do survive may be brain damaged or disabled in some other way. Immediate and specialist care can make a huge difference, though, because it reduces the damage caused by cutting off the blood supply to the brain.

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“The patients are so grateful for our help”

“I have a bittersweet relationship with my job because of the sadness I deal with on a daily basis, but knowing that I am making a difference in someone’s life during difficult times makes my job worthwhile. Read more

Pyjama Party season kicks off!

Pyjama Party is now ON! We had some eager supporters who held their fundraising PJ spin cycle class before our two weeks of fundraising kicked off – and had a fantastic time in the process.

Fran Mauri and Julie Stoner share a love of exercise, both being regulars at indoor cycling sessions at CychoCycle in London. They have also both faced neuro conditions this year and have undergone treatment at The National Hospital. The great news is that Fran and Julie are now well on the way to recovery, so they and staff at CychoCycle decided to support our annual Pyjama Party event. Read more

“People often want to give me their brain!”

Tina Somorin is The National Brain Appeal’s administrative assistant and helps the office to run smoothly. Read more

Posted on October 6, 2016 2:57 pm
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“Nelson brings real joy to the patients”

Meet Nelson. He’s huge. And hairy. He’s also incredibly calm, affable and intuitive. He has the perfect disposition to work in The National Hospital.

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Meet the hospital staff running the Marathon

The London Marathon is the biggest single fundraising event in our calendar – and this year we have an impressive 24 runners making up our fantastic #TeamBrainAppeal. With just a short time left until race day on Sunday 24 April, we caught up with two runners who both work for UCLH – and wanted to raise money for The National Brain Appeal − Katie Herron and Sean Hession.

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Posted on April 15, 2016 11:07 am
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“It was my dream to work at Queen Square”

It felt like a homecoming when I returned to The National Hospital last year, and began a shift as a newly-qualified nurse. I’d imagined this moment for a few years – and it all started when I was lying in a bed in the very same hospital recovering after brain surgery in 2010.

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Posted on March 14, 2016 8:50 am
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Shining a spotlight on rare diseases

Today is Rare Disease Day and to mark it, we’re officially launching Rare Dementia Support – a fund that is the result of a merger of two existing funds – the FTD Support Group Fund and the Myrtle Ellis Fund. The Myrtle Ellis fund has been around for nine years and here, one of the sisters behind setting it up, Susie Shaw – tells us how it all came about the creation of the new fund.

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Posted on February 29, 2016 2:56 pm
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stroke

Stroke Appeal by The National Brain Appeal

Stroke is one of the UK’s leading causes of death. There are over 100,000 strokes in the UK every year and, 1 in 8 of these prove to be fatal within the first 30 days. As the UK’s population continues to age, strokes are expected to become an increasingly common condition.

Research has shown that patients who are cared for on a dedicated stroke hospital ward are much more likely to survive, and to retain their independence and living at home within a year, than if they were treated on a non-dedicated stroke ward.[1]

The National Brain Appeal is currently seeking to raise £1.5million in order to create an acute interventional neuroradiology service for the treatment of stroke at Queen Square. This service will provide urgent care, as well as help support regional and national stroke treatment.

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“I get extremely passionate about my job!”

I started working for The National Brain Appeal as a fundraising coordinator at a busy time for the charity in November 2015, when Christmas was in full swing.
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Posted on January 28, 2016 4:50 pm
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“A warm welcome to 2016”

Another year whizzes to a close and as usual, it was an ‘event’ful’ one. More people than ever took part in challenges, donning pyjamas, Santa suits or running gear in the name of The National Brain Appeal, raising amazing amounts to fund future developments in neurology and neurosurgery.

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Posted on December 31, 2015 10:18 am
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“Painting cheered my brain up”

Carolyn Nicholls learned about The National Brain Appeal after being treated at The National Hospital for a cavernoma. She contributed to our art exhibition, A Letter In Mind, after turning to painting after her illness.

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Posted on December 15, 2015 12:33 pm
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“My tumour was in a dangerous position”

Around eight years ago my mouth became very painful. I went to doctors and dentists and asked them to remove my teeth where the pain was. But nothing eased the pain and I was referred to several specialists who carried out scans on my face − one told me I had neuralgia. No one ever thought to scan my brain.

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Posted on November 5, 2015 12:49 pm
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Parkinson's Disease

Can lifestyle help reduce your risk of Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s Disease can be a devastating disease, both for the patient concerned and their family and close friends.

As with other illnesses, the role of nutrition is often considered. Can changing your diet protect against developing Parkinson’s? Do lifestyle changes really make a difference?

Here, we look at both questions.

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Posted on July 30, 2015 11:33 am
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“There are always challenges in life”

It was 1977 − the year of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee and street parties were being held everywhere. One day I was at primary school and the teacher set us an assignment with some questions on the board to complete. He said there would be a prize for the first person to complete the test.

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Posted on October 29, 2015 5:27 pm
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stroke

Stroke Induced Brain Injuries

The National Brain Appeal raises funds to improve the treatment of people who have neurological and neuromuscular conditions including acquired brain injuries through stroke.

The fundraising has not only helped with investing in vital state-of-the-art hospital equipment but also financed major building programmes and much-needed ongoing medical research. All of this has saved lives and helped those suffering from brain damage to achieve a better quality of life.

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“I turned my birthday into a Pyjama Party”

I’m about to turn 33 and I wanted to celebrate my birthday in a different way.  Unlike when I was younger, I’m not that fussed about going clubbing anymore – I prefer doing something where I get to spend quality time with my friends.  Read more

Posted on October 14, 2015 9:56 pm
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“Our Pyjama Party was so easy – and fun”

Last year we threw a Pyjama Party at our office and we all had a brilliant time. We decided to get involved because here at Newhall Publishing, we produce Candis magazine on behalf of Candis Club – and we featured the National Brain Appeal in a few issues. Candis Club teamed up with TBNA as part of the fundraising initiative, The Big Give, and matched the funds for one of its campaigns. Read more

Posted on October 6, 2015 4:10 pm
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Lowering your risk of dementia and how to live with it

More and more people are living longer, but this also means that the number of people with dementia is increasing.

It is estimated that there are around 850,000 people suffering with dementia in the UK. This statistic roughly equates to around one in three people over the age of 65. Furthermore, it is estimated that by 2021, around 1 million people in the UK will have dementia and this figure will significantly increase to 2 million by 2051.

This blog post provides an overview of dementia as a disease, how to reduce your risk of developing it as you get older and, if you are affected, how to live with it.

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Multiple sclerosis – symptoms, causes and treatment

Multiple sclerosis is estimated to affect approximately 2.5million people across the globe and is a common form of autoimmune disease.

This blog post provides a general overview of multiple sclerosis, together with information about the common symptoms, causes and treatment of this potentially debilitating condition.

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Posted on June 27, 2015 10:51 am
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Can you reduce the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease?

It is estimated that 1 in every 500 people in the UK are affected by Parkinson’s disease.

For those affected by this neurological condition, it becomes incredibly important to try and find an effective way to control (and, to the extent possible, reduce) the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and the huge impact it has upon their daily lives.

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Volunteering: “I feel I’ve made a difference”

I’m Allie, a college student from Massachusetts, USA, and I was lucky enough to work as an intern at The National Brain Appeal recently. Read more

Posted on September 24, 2015 3:54 pm
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Five minutes with neurosurgeon David Choi

We meet one of The National Hospital’s surgeons who specialises in spinal surgery to talk about his passion for fixing things, his exciting new research, and making a difference…

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Posted on August 27, 2015 4:47 pm
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“I want to help make your fundraising events a big success”

“I’m delighted to be a part of The National Brain Appeal team and am really looking forward to getting know all of our fundraisers and helping them make their events a huge success! A priority of mine at the moment is the Windsor Half Marathon and Running4Women 10k on the 26th-27th September. We still have places left for both events so if you are interested or know someone who might be, please get in touch with me right away. If you would like to take part in another challenge or if you would like to create your own fundraising event on behalf of The National Brain Appeal, I’m the person to speak to.

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“I am one of the lucky ones”

I have a tremor – ‘essential tremor’ is actually its proper name. Having this tremor is inconvenient, to say the least. But I can’t picture how my life would be if my right arm hadn’t been repaired.

Imagine you can’t get a fork to your mouth. If you try, whatever is on the fork will soon be flying across the table. Soup is even worse. The result? Being fed all the time, drinking tea or wine with a straw. Imagine someone else has to dial whenever you want to make a phone call. Imagine not being able to open your purse to pay for something, or not being able to enter your pin code. That was me, before my operation.

I’m now one of the lucky ones. My right arm was repaired in 2013 at Queen Square (I find it easier to say and type that than ‘National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery’!). To ease my tremor I now have a little sort of pacemaker with an on/off switch under my collarbone, sitting under my skin. The only thing I have to think about is to remember to turn it off when I go to bed (tremor doesn’t matter when you’re asleep) and turn it on when I wake up. I have a kind of electronic transmitter on my bedside table which lets me do it.

A stark comparison

My left arm, which wasn’t repaired, shows me day in and day out what life would be like if I still had tremor in both arms. As an experiment, you should try this: fill a glass with water (use a plastic one if you want to make it really tricky!) Take it outside, shake the arm in which you hold it quite violently and try to drink it at the same time. Most water will be end up on the floor, and the rest will be all over you. None will end up in your mouth. I’m lucky because I can use my right arm, so these days I can drink that glass of water comfortably.

When it comes to mealtimes, my wife or a friend cuts my meat. Vegetables are doable with a fork. I’ve taught myself not to be stupid and too proud to ask. Even a waiter will be happy to help if you explain your problem.

Reading a newspaper or book is fine, as long as I put it on a table. Reading a paper while holding it with one stable and one shaky hand just doesn’t work. I can’t use both hands on my computer or iPad keyboard, so I use just two fingers of my right hand. It’s slow going, but I manage.

It doesn’t bear thinking of those with unrepaired Parkinson’s or tremor in their arms – they really are handicapped. I was fortunate to have been ‘fixed’ to the extent that I can lead a pretty normal life. I’m hugely grateful for the care I have received at The National Hospital.

Tom & one of his favourites

Tom Van der Bergh, patient, The National Hospital

 

“Mum’s illness has made us all closer”

My mum, Raena, was only in her early 60s when I began to notice little changes in her behaviour. She had a few scrapes in the car, started to misplace her keys and began to get confused when making plans. It was such a gradual deterioration, but after a while, me, my brothers and my Dad, Nick, persuaded Mum to go for a series of tests and in 2012 she was initially diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. After seeing a specialist it turned out to be a form of dementia called Posterior Cortical Atrophy (PCA), which affects the visual part of the brain and alters spatial awareness.

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‘Running the marathon feels like a miracle’

I’ve just completed the run of my life. I took on the London Marathon to raise money for The National Brain Appeal and ran it in 5hrs 38mins 52secs − and while my time wasn’t remarkable, the fact that I was able to reach the start line at all was something of a miracle in itself.

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‘I’m humbled by all the support I’ve received’

In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s Marathon time! We’re very lucky to have a fantastic team of 20 runners taking on this ultra-challenge and raising money for us. One of our runners is NHNN neurosurgeon, Neil Kitchen, who is a long-time supporter of the charity. This is his seventh year running for The National Brain Appeal and before race day, we grabbed him for five minutes to do a quick-fire Q&A session… Read more

Posted on April 24, 2015 8:57 pm
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‘FND challenges me every moment of the day’

You approach the hospital, welcomed by the warm red bricks and grand façade. Staff walk purposefully to and fro across the square, files in their hands, ID cards around their necks. Ambulances and taxis pull up alongside you, dropping off patients, helping them in. You step up towards the entrance. A lady passes you by. She’s in a wheelchair. You enter reception. A friendly face at the desk gives you a wide smile as you rub gel into your hands. Away from the buzz of the square, it’s quiet, the ceiling high, the wood dark and glossy. Read more

Posted on April 13, 2015 7:45 am
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A glance back in time

At the turn of the 20th century, the National Hospital had only been established for a couple of decades. In a series of upcoming blogs we’re going to be looking back at some of the earliest case notes and the doctors’ fascinating write-ups about these neurological conditions. These documents are a potent reminder of The National’s legacy of ground-breaking research and treatment which continues to the current day.

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‘It’s terrifying how life can suddenly change’

My story is about beating the odds, learning to walk again and raising over £10,000 for the charity which supports the National Hospital. I feel so incredibly lucky as it could have ended so differently.

It all started in May 2007 when I suddenly had severe headaches one weekend. When they didn’t stop I saw my GP who said I had acute sinusitis. But when I was at work a few days later, I started to feel dizzy and shaky. An ambulance was called and I was rushed to hospital, where scans revealed I had a brain tumour. The night the hospital told me I was in complete shock, it was the last thing I could have imagined !

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Christopher Sporborg CBE 1939 – 2015

It is with great sadness that we announce that our chairman, Christopher Sporborg CBE, passed away at his daughter’s home on 2 January following a short illness. Read more

‘I meet so many brave patients at The National’

To kick off the new year, we are starting a brand new series of blogs. Each month you’ll get to meet a patient, a member of hospital staff or a supporter of the charity. They’ll be telling us their story and why they spend their time and energy supporting us. Read more

Goodbye to 2014

2014 − our 30th year anniversary year − has been our busiest year to date. From pyjama parties and art exhibitions to Ladies Day at the races and zombie runs, it’s been a veritable challenge just to know what to wear on a daily basis! Read more

Posted on December 31, 2014 10:10 am
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Christmas Carol Concert

Our Carol Concert on Thursday 11 December will benefit from a very special donation that will take centre stage.

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Posted on November 18, 2014 11:33 am
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Our best Pyjama Party ever!

Wow, what a week it was! Thank you to everyone who took part in our annual Pyjama Party fundraiser.

We’ve been bowled over by the number of you taking part this year, and by all the innovative ways you’ve come up with to raise money. Read more

Exclusive! Sophie’s Pyjama Party menu

Are you gearing up for Pyjama Party week which kicks off this Saturday? We hope your onesies are at the ready!

This year, the number of you signing up to take part has been overwhelming. We are so excited to see the imaginative fundraising ideas that you all come up with! If you’ve signed up but haven’t made plans yet it’s time to get those thinking caps on! Read more

Looking back… and moving forward

Our anniversary was a time to reflect, but also a time to plan for what is ahead… Read more

Pyjama Party gets animated

We’re lucky enough to have some amazingly talented people working with us to raise money for The National Hospital. One of those is our brilliant (and award-winning!) graphic design agency, Radford Wallis.
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Volunteers going the distance

Our volunteers come from far and wide, and from all walks of life. They never fail to make the office a brighter place to be, and we strive to give them valuable hands on experience in return. Kristen came all the way from Georgia, USA to give us a helping hand. She was with us for six weeks, and has very kindly shared what she learnt from her time here. Read more

Rallying around The National

We have many long term supporters who have repeatedly amazed us with their continued fundraising efforts.

Having raised £25,000 for us over the years, Sarah Singleton and her husband Neil are just one example of the absolutely overwhelming dedication that enables The National Hospital to continue to help the 12.5 million in the UK affected by a neurological condition.

Here, Sarah tells us where it all began, and what led to their most recent event.

“I wanted to repay the hospital for saving my life.

In 1990, after months of severe headaches and a number of visits to my GP, I was rushed to Whittington Hospital, North London. I had a CT scan and was transferred to The National Hospital, then in Maida Vale. The diagnosis was not good: a rare and malignant brain tumour called a gliosacoma, which kills most patients within 18 months. After the first operation to remove the tumour I had a brain haemorrhage, which needed another operation. My neurosurgeon, Mr Michael Powell was able to stop the bleeding and remove more of the tumour. After three weeks I was transferred to UCH for six weeks of radiotherapy, speech and physiotherapy. I had to use a wheelchair and continued with speech therapy for around three  years.

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Welcome Louise!

We’re delighted to welcome our new Fundraising Co-ordinator, Louise Fowler. In between settling in to her new desk, she took the time to tell us a little bit about her background and what brought her to The National Brain Appeal. Read more

No charities in ten years time? Our response

It was with interest that I read an article entitled “There shouldn’t be any charities in 10 years time”  from Will Horwitz in the Voluntary Sector Network blog. Like all good writing, the provocative headline hooked me into reading. Read more

Team profile: Jess, Fundraising Co-ordinator

We sat down with Jess to talk about her role at The National Brain Appeal: she told us what her job entails, why the TNBA cause is so vital and we asked her to share something surprising about herself with us…

“I have worked at The National Brain Appeal since August 2012 when I started on a temporary contract to organise Christmas events. I was made a permanent member of staff in January 2013 and my role as Fundraising Co-ordinator is really varied: looking after the charity’s own events (such as gala dinners and race days), managing Christmas (cards, bazaar and concert) and running the annual Pyjama Party fundraising campaign. I also am very involved with volunteer recruitment and management.

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Doing it their way for The National

We have some incredible individuals at The National: our medics are life-savers and every day our patients face the biggest fears with strength and determination.

Not content with these amazing feats of human spirit, every year medics and patients alike put their energy into organising events to raise thousands of pounds for us. From the corridors of The National, we’ve had marathon runners, trekkers, cyclists, and all manner of fundraisers coming up with individual and creative ideas to raise awareness of neurological conditions.

This year is no exception. Here are just two individuals who are making a difference, in their own way.

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Behind the scenes at The National

Rarely in the spotlight, the staff at The National Hospital do incredible work day in, day out. We managed to catch a few minutes with the very busy Matron Liz Davies to ask her about her role and how your support helps the patients she treats.

Liz, what does your role as Matron entail?
The Matrons’ role is to ensure that the care and overall experience patients and their carers receive is consistently the best possible. As well as overseeing the quality of care patients receive in our hospitals, we are available to hear about concerns or positive feedback. Read more

Top Tips from Tallulah

Hi, I’m Tallulah, Fundraising Co-ordinator at The National Brain Appeal and I last wrote a blog about our challenge events. It’s hard to believe that over a year has gone by – but it’s that time again. We’ve got some brilliant events coming up and if there are no places left, we always need volunteer cheerleaders…

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Team profile: Marcelle – head of fundraising

Over the coming months, we’ll be sitting down with members of the team to ask them about their role at the charity. Put faces to names and learn a little more about life at The National Brain Appeal. First up is Marcelle Johnson, Head of Fundraising and Communications. Read more

Being active and staying safe

It felt very shocking to hear just before New Year that Michael Schumacher was in a critical state in hospital. The man who raced over 200 miles per hour for a living had “severe brain trauma” following a skiing accident and though at the time of writing Schumacher’s  condition is being reported as steadier, the future remains uncertain.

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The big THREE-OH!

A very happy New Year to you from everyone in The National Brain Appeal team!

2014 marks our 30th birthday so we’re planning lots of activities to celebrate our joint achievements to date.

Over the past thirty years, amazing projects like the Dementia Research Centre, The Molly Lane Fox Unit, the Centre for Neuromuscular Diseases and the Advanced Neuroimaging Suite have come to fruition thanks to the support of people like you. You’ve helped us provide better care for the thousands of patients who have come through the doors of The National by funding more than £40 million of innovative projects.

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Twelve days of The National Brain Appeal

With one day left until Christmas Day, we look back over our 12 Days of The National Brain Appeal Christmas, celebrating the brilliant achievements of our fundraisers and developments for The National throughout 2013. What a year!

On the 12th day of Christmas, our friends gave to us…

12 months of fantastic fundraising

11 brilliant volunteers

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Bountiful Bazaar

Just a quick note to say thank everyone who joined us at our Bazaar at the end of November – for their Christmas shopping, for a chat or as a volunteer.

We had some lovely donations from friends and local businesses and we hope you’ve now got your books, beauty products, jewels and treats wrapped up and under the tree. We’ve counted all the pennies and pounds and are delighted to announce they’ve added up to £2,000 – thank you so much again.

Charity advertising

Sitting on the tube on my journey to The National Brain Appeal office, my mind has been full of what we need to tie up before the end of the year, my daughters’ increasingly long Christmas lists and plans for the festivities. It’s easy to let thoughts wander and to gaze upwards to the line of adverts that run along the carriage.

This morning, there was a Shelter advert bearing the number 80,000 for the amount of children who will be homeless this Christmas. Next to it was another, showing a little girl who’ll freeze in the Syrian winter.

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Spinning their way to success

On 18 October, a team with a very personal connection to The National Hospital raised  £3585 by cycling 320 miles without leaving their offices. How did they do it? Read on…

We were inspired to do something for The National Brain Appeal, as we were so touched by the story of our company founder Mr John Caulfield. He was a patient of The National Hospital and for many years battled with a degenerative brain disease. His daughter Regina, now Managing Director of the company, made us all aware of The National Hospital and how they are paramount in the field of research into neurological disorders, which now affect one in six people in the UK. We were all so moved that we made contact with the fundraising team and it was then that we realised just how totally committed and passionate about fundraising Jess and the team at The National Brain Appeal are. We all wanted to do something, even on a small scale, to raise as much money as we could.

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Once again, a big thank you to Peregrine’s Pianos

For those of you attending our Carol Concert you might like to look out for a very special donation centre stage…

For a second year running, Peregrine’s Pianos have very kindly donated one of their pianos for our Carol Concert on the 12th December.

Situated on the corner of Guilford Street, Peregrine’s Pianos are very close to The National Hospital and have a connection to community events and charities in the local area, having supported both ourselves and the Bloomsbury Festival in recent years. In October, Peregrine’s Pianos also hosted the BBC Young Musician of the Year 2014 knock-out rounds in their studio space.

Blog image - Schimmel Upright

This year, Peregrine’s Pianos have given one of the latest model Schimmel upright pianos which will accompany the choir.

We’re so grateful to Dawn Elizabeth Howells and all her team at Peregrine’s Pianos and can’t wait to hear the piano in all its glory.

For tickets to the carol concert, order online today.

 

Bump and his brain raise over £2,000

Bump’s Brain is the story of a baby boy who has overcome huge challenges. Here, his mum tells us about their fundraising sleepwalk in Liverpool in aid of our recent Pyjama Party. You can read more about their journey here.

In February 2013, at our baby’s 20-week scan, we discovered he had a large, midline arachnoid cyst, agenesis of the corpus callosum and missing septum pellucidum. We were in a bit of shock and as the doctors couldn’t really give us a lot of information, I took it upon myself to scour the web looking for all I could find. This was pretty unsuccessful so I decided to start a blog to try and reach out to people who may be going through the same as us. I wrote to a few places for help, but to no avail.

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Creepy Crawlies Around the Clock

Dr Rebecca Nesbit from the Society for Biology explains how their twenty-four hour lecturethon and sleepover coincided perfectly with The National Brain Appeal Pyjama Party.

I never thought that pyjamas would raise the profile of entomologyand epilepsy – but here goes.

On the evening of 13th October, the Society for Biology celebratedc Biology Week in an unusual way: an international twenty-four hour ‘lecturethon’ and an office pyjama party.

Professor Adam Hart from the University of Gloucester was going to speak for a whole twenty-four hours, hence the pyjama party my colleagues and I decided to hold in solidarity. Adam and I had worked together on a house spider survey and flying ant survey, and he wanted to go even further to share our love of ‘creepy crawlies’. Part of my role at the Society of Biology is to organise Biology Week, a celebration of all aspects of the life sciences, and this seemed like an appropriate time to do it so plans were underway well before I had heard of The National Brain Appeal. Read more

Greased Lightning

Around 9.30pm last night, a stream of people in their PJ humming songs from a musical, dispersed into the streets around London’s Oxford Circus. Some had slippers on their feet, others were in animal-printed onesies and many wore nightcaps. If you’re wondering what on earth was happening, this jolly bunch had joined our Pyjama Party held at the beautiful Courthouse Hotel.

The lobby had begun filling up with people around half 6 and it was wonderfully bizarre to see people at the bar doing double (or even triple) takes at the fact they were sharing their post-work drinks with people in dressing gowns and slippers. One couple had really gotten into the swing of things; she had her hair in curlers and her partner sported a marvellous 50s-style quiff.

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Doing it right for interns

It’s a theme that we have covered before – volunteers, interns, paid and unpaid – but it’s one I think is worth revisiting especially as we look for more helping hands in the run-up to Christmas.

I am very aware of the discussions around unpaid internships, added to by the fact we are based just around the corner from Unite union. It’s hugely important to me that we keep an eye on how internships benefit the individual (not the organisation) but I feel that there is potential for the anti-unpaid-internships argument to impact on the way we view volunteering itself.

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The season to challenge yourself

Tallulah, who co-ordinates our Challenge events, is looking forward to welcoming our new teams and participants for 2014

It never ceases to amaze me the physical tests our supporters will put themselves through and I’d like to thank every single one of you again for your brilliant efforts.

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One step ahead

Jess, one of our Fundraising Co-ordinators, always has her diary open six months in advance. Here’s why…

My work calendar always seems to be a little bit at odds with the weather outside: I seem to be thinking about Christmas in June and in the hottest summer we’ve had in years, I was researching different kinds of pyjamas. When it comes to wintertime, everyone else is getting festive and I’m planning summer fundraising events.

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Fifty miles for a fantastic cause

Jayne McCarthy who had completed a fifty-mile walk to raise money for The National Hospital wrote this moving piece documenting her journey. Well done for such an incredible effort, Jayne.

In 1985 an acoustic neuroma was found on my left hearing nerve. Although this was benign I lost my hearing on that side. Ten years later, the tumour had grown back and was subsequently removed.

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The Givers and the Do-ers

On the reception desk of our office we have two leaflet displays – one is filled with handbooks on legacies and the other is for The National newsletter featuring among other things all our fundraisers’ latest activities. This feels like a very simple yet succinct way of depicting our supporters – the Givers and the Do-ers – both of which we value in equal amounts.

We’re often profiling the Do-ers: those that climb mountains, run marathons, hold quizzes and parties, and do all manner of brilliant things. Sometimes it’s good to remember the other side of our charitable givers, those that have left money to us in their wills, a sum which can make up half our income each year.  

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A helping hand from across the Atlantic

“Hello, I’m Charice and I’m a recent high school graduate all the way from Canada! With only a couple days left in London, now seems like a great time to reflect on my summer internship here in London.

In my third week here in London, I was preparing for my interview with The National Brain Appeal and I remember noticing how well my values reflect those of the charity. I’ve always been interested in charitable work back home and I also want to train to become a geriatrician. The National Brain Appeal raises funds for patients who are affected by neurological conditions and maybe one day I’ll be working with seniors who have the very same conditions. Read more

From Scrubs to scrubs

We are over the moon that Funzee, the one-stop shop for onesies (seriously, the selection is endless…) is our official Pyjama Party supporter. Mark Heselgrave, owner and founder, spoke to us about why his team will be supporting us next month.

The idea for Funzees started in 2007. I was looking to buy an adult onesie as an amusing present for my son, who’s a big fan of hospital comedy Scrubs. There’s a great episode where the main character, JD, is wearing a onesie to bed but is forcibly taken out to a bar by his mentor, Dr. Cox, while still wearing his “jammies”.

We found the concept really funny and I immediately began looking for an adult onesie for my son, both online and in various retail outlets, but couldn’t find anything that matched what we were after. So, you know what they say, “if you want something done right, do it yourself!” Read more

The Big 100

Rolling with the legacy of last year’s Olympics, this month saw the first ever Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 – as the name suggests, a gruelling hundred mile cycle through the hills of Surrey and the city roads.

Thank you to Kirsty Brown, Peter Godsall and Vaughan Ward, the three intrepid riders who cycled for The National Brain Appeal. Here, Vaughan shares his story of the up-hill struggles and the sweet, sweet downs …

On the 14th of May I received a rather unexpected text message from my good friend Clare asking if I was interested in taking part in a charity bike ride for The National Brain Appeal. I happily accepted – only to then realise it was a hundred miles long.

Although daunted at first by the prospect, I soon became extremely excited to ride an adaptation of the Olympic road race and cover the same tarmac as the great Bradley Wiggins and Lizzie Armitstead.

I have to admit that this was my first exposure to The National Brain Appeal but I quickly found that everyone has something in common with the charity. They campaign for such a wide range of conditions and illnesses that seem to touch everyone I know in one way or another.

My training began well, taking thirty mile cycles down the picturesque Lea Valley into rural Hertfordshire. The rolling hills, even in bad weather, were a breath of fresh air from the stop/start congestion of the streets of London. However, I made a serious error in my training; I continued my normal routine, which consisted of football, predictably injured myself and had only six weeks left to train.

The fast-track training proved to have mixed emotions. Hours upon hours on the bike gave me time to think but the road soon felt like a lonely place without a training partner. The thunderstorms began, which made it harder, but when the clouds cleared I had some great experiences too. There was the triple rainbow, the time I had to stop on a country lane to let a family of ducks casually waddle across the road and, on the several occasions I became lost, passers-by would ask about the charity on the jersey that I was proudly wearing. A lady shared a story with me about how she had recently recovered from a brain aneurysm. It was a lovely moment to share her joy at the side of the road.

My fundraising went better than expected; the support I received from friends, family and beyond was fantastic.

The day arrived: I had trained and raised a great amount of money but had doubts about completing the task that loomed over me. What I wasn’t prepared for was how emotional the six and a half hours of cycling would be.

vaughn blog -start line cropped

The anticipation on the start line was incredible. Everyone was anxious to get their legs turning. The race began by making a few cycling companions until the point when our speeds no longer kept us together. We stretched out and I met the beginnings of the beautiful Surrey countryside. It wasn’t until about fifty miles in that it started to get difficult.

I’d met the climb that everyone thought was Leith Hill but that monster – the one that keeps going up and up on every turn – was still yet to come. When it did, my legs started to burn and many were walking. I didn’t care how slowly I went; I was determined not to get off my bike. I reached the summit to discover one of the most beautiful descents of my life. With everyone travelling under their own steam it suddenly felt like a different time.

The fun didn’t last long: the roads did claim some casualties as they aren’t without their dangers and the ascents began once more.

I soon learnt that the infamous Box Hill is actually the little brother to Leith Hill: Leith Hill saps you of your energy and Box Hill sets to finish you off. It was not to succeed. I stopped only momentarily to hug my Mum, who had travelled from Leicestershire with her boyfriend to provide me with my second wind. At this point, I was struggling and close to tears. I had never felt so emotionally compromised by a physical task before.

I felt a little pathetic. The National Brain Appeal calls their fundraisers ‘heroes’, but I only have to be one for a day; those who I aim to help have to be heroes everyday. It is this that drove me on.

With thirty miles to go, the carnival atmosphere began. Bands on the sides of the roads and people lining the street made you feel like you had already finished. You hadn’t; there was still a distance to go but pelotons formed and everyone was driving one another home. I limped towards the ten-mile mark after a bout of cramp but finished fast in a sporting sprint with four others. I’d done it.

My friends lined the finish with banners and my girlfriend had made a t-shirt with my face on it. I struggled to take it all in through the shakes of completing the task. The sense of relief and achievement forced a smile to my face. I celebrated with chips, a shandy, friends and thinking of all those I hope we’ve helped.

Vaughn's banner blog

 

Three cheers for Radford Wallis!

You may have noticed on Twitter or Facebook that we’ve been counting down to a website launch. If you’ve missed what we’re getting excited about, take a look at the Pyjama Party website, which officially kicks off our second Pyjama Party campaign.

To build the site, we worked again with Radford Wallis, the design agency who created our new brand back in 2009. Since then, they’ve supported us with everything from event materials to print literature – and even took part last year in our first ever PJ Party, donning nightcaps for a ‘Head to Head’ pub crawl!

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Small Acorns take seed

You may remember that May saw the launch of our Small Acorns Fund, a grant programme for small projects suggested by members of staff at The National.

The results are in – and of the seventeen individuals who applied, we were delighted to award over £25,000 to six innovative and life-changing proposals. The successful projects focus on improving the lives of people at The National, whether that’s through pieces of specialist equipment, training for staff or rehabilitation programmes.

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Stuck in the middle…

… or bridging the gap?

Last month we joined in with celebrating Small Charities Week and as I write, small really is beautiful. I find it hugely encouraging that there are so many programmes and resources to help small charities.

The criteria for these programmes are often are aimed at charities which turn over less than £1.5 million. It got me thinking about what happens when, like us, your turnover can straddle either side of that mark. One year we may be under, one year we may be over. Is The National Brain Appeal small, or are we medium? What happens when sometimes you qualify and other times don’t? Read more

Putting the summer to good use

We always like to profile our amazing volunteers and this month, we’ve asked Charlotte to step forward. One of her key responsibilities has been to help us prepare for the Magic of the Mind dinner in June – thank you for all your hard work, Charlotte!

Hello, my name is Charlotte and I have just completed my second year of a BA Linguistics degree at University College London.

During my first year, I signed up to the UCL Volunteering Society and I would receive weekly emails alerting me to volunteering opportunities. It was one of these messages that notified me of the existence of The National Brain Appeal – immediately I knew that it was a charity that I wanted to work with so I got in touch with Tallulah and Jess.

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Q&A with Elizabeth

Elizabeth Kornat became a Trustee of the charity in 2010. Though she describes herself as new to this role “learning as I go along”, she has been instrumental in helping to support our Small Acorns Fund . We wanted to learn more about Elizabeth’s role and why TNBA is so important to her… Read more

Is the street the right place …

… to fundraise?

My morning walk from Russell Square tube station can be a minefield and it’s not just where I get off the train – it’s all over the country: people on the street in front of stations, on high streets outside shops. They wear branded t-shirts and clutch clipboards. It’s something you notice often, especially when you work in the third sector.

Two recent articles focused my attention to this trend of asking to people to become charitable donors in the middle of the street.

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Girl power!

Last month, Ashleigh Steward, her mum Sharon, Sharon’s friends Debbie and Linda and their daughters Emily and Jessica conquered Ben Nevis to raise over £3,500 for The National Hospital.

Let’s hear more about their story from Ashleigh…

In February 2012 my mum Sharon suffered a totally unexpected subarachnoid brain haemorrhage. She was rushed to hospital and then transferred to The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery where she stayed for three weeks. They performed two emergency operations and looked after her until she was well enough to go home.

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Stroke enables artist Mark Ware to see in a new way

Award-winning artist Mark Ware has created images responding to Exeter Cathedral’s 900 year history and reflecting his altered perception of the world brought about by a stroke in 1996 at the age of 39.

Exeter Cathedral has been the setting and subject for Cathedra 900, Mark’s latest multimedia project funded by Arts Council England. For the past eighteen months Mark has explored the cathedral and interpreted its art and architecture through photography, abstract photomontages, 3D artwork and sound.

Mark said:
“Stroke affects everything I do and how I perceive the world. It influences all my art and it keeps me in the ‘here and now’ because of the physical and mental challenges it presents me with. In addition it has given me a wonderful insight into how the senses work, which in turn inspires the art that I now create.

“My Exeter Cathedral images and abstract photomontages were created in response to the building, particularly to its extraordinary medieval architecture and design, and I hope that they offer a meaningful experience to those who see the work. Cathedra 900 has been a profoundly rewarding project. I’m privileged and honoured to be participating in Exeter Cathedral’s 900 year timeline, contributing to the centuries of artistic activity within its walls.”

During October 2013, as part of Cathedra 900, Mark staged three performances of 900 Years of Light, and event which featured film, readings, music, and the premiere of Mark’s video composition accompanied by specially arranged music performed by internationally acclaimed trumpeter, Crispian Steele-Perkins with Lyric Strings trio.

The video composition brought together Mark’s photography showing details, patterns and architectural shapes, creating illusions of stillness and movement. During the screening of the work, the cathedral appeared to breathe as its vaulted ceiling was cast with slowly changing light, and the live music resonated throughout the building. 3D images on fabric banners hanging on the Cathedral’s columns added an extra dimension to the Cathedral’s architecture when viewed through coloured glasses.

The next phase of Mark’s work includes an exhibition at the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital in Exeter early in 2014 through Exeter Healthcare Arts. As a taster for Mark’s exhibition, three of his images will be shown as part of a larger exhibition including work by other artists which will be on show from 25 until 25 February 2014.

Mark has been involved with supporting The National Brain Appeal and a number of other charities since having a stroke and his images are now being offered for sale, benefiting charities in the process.

Mark said:
“My family and I have benefited from the work of a number of charities and I wanted to give something back. My art seemed an ideal way to do this, so my work will be sold through a number of charities (including The National Brain Appeal) which will receive 30% of the profits.”

 

Stories from the Square

 It’s been almost a year since we were at the Queen Square Library in the archives, learning more about the history of The National Hospital. We thought it was time to pay them a visit again – but this time, we did it online…

The Queen Square Library contains an important collection of specialist neurology, neurosurgery and neuroscience books and journals, and a Rare Book Collection which extends to some 3000 volumes from 1695 onwards.

The library also houses the Queen Square Archive which comprise the archives belonging to the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (NHNN) and those of UCL Institute of Neurology (IoN). Every month, the Librarian Sarah Lawson selects a piece for Item of the Month on their website.

This month features a lecture on disseminated sclerosis which was delivered by William Richard Gowers at the National Hospital on the 13th June 1895 – 118 years ago.

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Sarah Lawson told us why she chose this particular piece: “I recently received an enquiry about translating one of Gowers’ publications, Epilepsy and other Chronic Convulsive Diseases into Russian. That publication dated from 1881 which prompted me to select the Gowers lecture as Item of the Month, demonstrating how much worldwide interest there continues to be in Gowers’ writings, almost hundred years after his death.” The piece bears corrections on the manuscript which fits with Sarah comments that Gowers lectures were always very polished and published fairly soon after delivery as they were so comprehensive.

Gowers produced over 350 publications between 1872 and 1910 as well as major textbooks such as Manual of Diseases of the Nervous System, which was the standard reference until early in the twentieth-century.

It’s fascinating to see these documents from the past, a reminder of The National’s legacy of groundbreaking research and education, which continues to the current day.

Images courtesy of the Queen Square Library, Archive and Museum.  Copyright National Hospital for Neurology & Neurosurgery (UCLH)/UCL Institute of Neurology

The value of volunteers

There’s always something different going on in TNBA office – but one thing you can be sure of is that every Wednesday, we have a visit from our volunteer, Naomi.

After two and a half years of suffering a mystery illness, Naomi was finally referred to The National where she was diagnosed as having autoimmune disease and received treatment. Seeing her Mum come back to life, Naomi’s daughter Tasha volunteered with us and when she went travelling, Naomi came to take her place. So every week she comes and helps out in the office; today she was filling envelopes with our latest newsletter to send out and is also helping to organise donations of art for an auction. Read more

Matt climbs mountains

Inspired by the treatment and care his father-in-law received at The National, Matt Line braved snow and extreme weather to take part in the South Wales Three Peaks Challenge. He’s since thawed out his fingers and written a piece sharing his experience.

My name is Matt Line and I’m a Specialist Biomedical Scientist in Haematology and Blood Transfusion at Gloucester Royal Hospital. My wife, Grace and I have a beautiful five month old daughter called Rose and we live in a small town called Monmouth, located just over the Welsh border between the Wye valley and the Black mountains. Read more

A Marathon effort

Last week was one of the biggest events in our calendar – the Virgin London Marathon – and what a day it was! Here are our highlights …

The day began at 5.30am when Tallulah, our Fundraising Co-ordinator, was at the bus stop on her way to the start line. She was joined by one competitor in his trainers and several revellers still enjoying their Saturday night out. We met at 6.45am on Embankment at the 25-mile mark so we could find the best spot where our banner would be most visible to our runners. Then it was time for a wake-up coffee and a bacon roll so we could be in top form for our runners… Read more

Competing in a crowded marketplace

These days, it feels as if there are so many worthwhile causes to support. Everyone has a specific story to tell and, in this economic climate when people have less disposable income, it can be hard to make your voice heard. Theresa Dauncey, our chief executive, talks about how small charities can stand out in a crowded marketplace.

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Tick all the right boxes

The admin team are hard at work processing all donations before the close of the tax year in just a few days time. Leigh and Alex are closing off all transactions and making sure that everything is complete with donations, grants and fundraising amounts.

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Six Ways in Six Days

Last week we joined with organisations from around the world to take part in Brain Awareness Week, a global initiative that raises the awareness of progress in brain research.

Every March, Brain Awareness Week connects neuroscience labs and libraries with classrooms and community centres so everyone can learn more about the most important muscle in our bodies.

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Posted on March 10, 2013 11:00 am
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Brain Appeal Marathon team in training

This year, we have fundraisers taking part in runs which stretch from shorter 10ks to 26 mile distances. One key date in the diary is the Virgin London Marathon and with only two months to go we thought it a good time to welcome our marathons runners to Queen Square for our very first Runners’ Reception on 7 February. Led by personal trainer, Elliot Bulley, we discussed training tips, fundraising ideas and how to deal with the dreaded ‘wall’.

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Posted on March 8, 2013 11:24 am
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A helping hand

When you think of the word ‘impact’ a fair few things spring to mind – but what about the word ‘mosquito’? Now I know what you’re thinking: what has a mosquito got to do with anything? But riddle me this for a moment – “If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try being trapped in a room with a mosquito”

Hi there, my name is Natasha Iny (that’s me on the left of this photo), and I am currently doing my best at attempting to be The National Brain Appeal’s very own mosquito. I’m on a mission to make some kind of impact for this wonderful cause.

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International award for the Institute

Congratulations to Professor Ray Dolan, Head of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at UCL Institute of Neurology, who has been awarded the highly prestigious Klaus Joachim Zülch Prize.

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On Your Marks, Get Set …

My name is Tallulah and I am a Fundraising Co-ordinator at The National Brain Appeal. My role encompasses all challenge and running events as well as supporting our individual fundraisers.

This year our running events kick off with the Brighton Half Marathon on 17 February, the Paris Marathon on 7 April and, of course, the Virgin London Marathon on 21 April. I have organised a ‘Runners Reception’ which takes place in early February – it is a chance for all our runners to meet their team mates, as well as getting advice from a personal trainer and fundraising ideas from us.

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‘Twas the night before Christmas’…

For the majority of us, Christmas is a time to be with our families, surrounded by the comforts of friends, good food and festive excitement – but for those patients at The National whose treatment requires them to stay at the hospital over Christmas, it can be particularly hard.

Staff at The National will be making sure that patients atQueen Squarehave as merry a Christmas as possible and this year, for the first time, The National Brain Appeal is delighted to have been able to make sure that each and every patient receives a small gift and a card on Christmas day.

There has been a flurry of Christmas activities – from bazaars, to carol concerts and card sales – and we’re grateful to you for all your support at these and all our events throughout the year.

No doubt 2013 will be just as busy so watch this space… In the meantime, have a peaceful and happy festive season and we send you all our good wishes for the year ahead.

Seasons greetings from us all

Last week, we had The National Brain Appeal Christmas lunch when we not only looked forward to the festive holidays, but reflected on the year gone by.

We kick-started our £2 million Operating Theatres Appeal so we can upgrade four existing theatres and build two new state-of-the-art theatres.  The first quarter of a million has been raised which is an excellent start. You are the people who are making this possibility become a reality so thank you for everything you have done.

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Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

The National Brain Appeal Christmas carol concert has always been a favourite fixture in the festive calendar and this year was no exception.

For everyone who has a link to Queen Square – from current and former patients, students and charity fundraisers to trustees, consultants and staff from The National – it is a magical event. This year, we were delighted to be joined by actors Phyllida Law, Sophie Thompson and Demetri Goritsas who added more than a touch of celebrity sparkle. Read more

Run to the beat of a different drum

Last month, John Auckland, who is a writer and company director of a marketing agency, took a stand against neurological conditions by taking part in the Run to the Beat half marathon in support of our Pyjama Party week. John is a familiar face to us here at The National Brain Appeal as he helps us with our social media.

Like many people out there, John’s life has been touched by a neurological condition. On his Gran’s side of the family dementia is a very serious problem, and only recently she has had to go into care. John wanted to do something special for his Gran, so it made sense to him to connect his personal and professional lives for his latest challenge.

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Peregrine’s Pianos presents…

“There is perhaps more activity in our pretty shop on the corner of Guilford Street than people might be aware. We moved into Bloomsbury in the summer of 2010; up until then we had offered premiere music rehearsal facilities in Belsize Park to professional musicians.

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A Noble effort

My name is Michelle Noble. Three years ago my boyfriend Dan Edmonds was competing in his first kickboxing match when a blow to his head changed our lives forever. Dan was transferred to The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London where he was taken to the intensive care unit. Unfortunately Dan’s head injuries were too severe and he died two days later on the 27th October 2009.

Dan was always a very giving person, always wanting to help people. He fulfilled his dream of being a fire-fighter and even after his death continued helping others – saving seven people’s lives by donating his organs.

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Get involved – it’s not too late!

It is only four days until our Pyjama Party campaign – a wonderful week where any excuse to wear your pyjamas in the daytime is a good one (just look at our chief executive Theresa doing the school run in her PJs)!

Don’t worry of you haven’t yet planned anything as there is still time to organise a great fundraising event that doesn’t require heaps of time.

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A book at bedtime

Over the past few months we have been asking our followers to tweet their favourite bedtime stories – and the response has been really interesting. As a poll last year revealed, whatever our age, we still love the tales from childhood with a final shortlist including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Five on a Treasure Island, Where the Wild Things Are, Each Peach Pear Plum and the number one favourite The Gruffalo.

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Taming Terry

After being diagnosed with a brain tumour, Laura King decided to raise funds for The National Brain Appeal by organising and taking part in not one, but three events. With an infectiously positive attitude, she tells us how she is taming Terry the Tumour.

In April, I was diagnosed with a Brain Tumour (which I named Terry – what can I say… I have a sense of humour!) and subsequently I have been undergoing treatment at the National Hospital of Neurology and Neurosurgery,Queen Square– a specialist hospital for those with brain tumours, epilepsy, stroke, dementia and many other brain related health problems.

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Food for thought

One of our major supporters, “Cooking4Charity” is off to Broadstairs on 5, 6 and 7 October to take part in the Broadstairs Food Festival to raise some more money for the National Brain Appeal.

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Sophie Milone: diary of an intern

Sophie Milone, the National Brain Appeal’s Pyjama Party intern talks about her role,  responsibilities and wearing pyjamas to work.

“Having just graduated this summer, I was at a bit of a loss as to what to do next. Then a perfect opportunity came along in the form of an internship at The National Brain Appeal. More specifically, I was taken on as a Pyjama Party intern to help fundraise and organise events to help raise money for the operating theatres appeal. A typical day for me varies from sending emails and researching possible companies to ask for donations, to wearing my pyjamas and selling cakes. Well, they do say variety is the spice of life! Read more

A fond farewell

After seven years as Fundraising Manager, Alex Adie (pictured in the centre with TNBA supporters Alison Brindle and Nicki Saini) has left The National Brain Appeal to join the Dulwich Picture Gallery as Development Manager Trusts and Foundations. Though we were incredibly sad to see her go, we are delighted that she is moving into such an exciting and creative new role.

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Olympic dreams

Hello. My name is Simon Clark. I am epileptic and badly dyslexic (my sister is helping me write this) so sometimes feel quite isolated and I have to confess when The National Brain Appeal contacted me to offer me a pair of Olympics tickets that had kindly been donated by one of their supporters I was quite apprehensive. However 8th September 2012 ended up being a day I will never forget. Read more

All in a day’s work

On 22 September, sixty brave employees from Carpmaels & Ransford will be taking part in the Virgin Active London Triathlon. Dividing into twenty teams of three, the triathletes will be running, swimming and cycling their way to a target of £10,000 for The National Brain Appeal. Richard Jackson, managing partner, tells us more about why so many members of staff are swapping their suits for lycra and taking up such a serious physical challenge. Read more

“Bye Mum, just off to work!”

I’m Rosie, a fifteen year old on work experience at The National Brain Appeal. This year at school has been really hectic due to countless amounts of GCSE exams and coursework. When I found out that I would be starting work experience I was really excited – it was a chance to get away from exams and do something really fun.

I’ve worked with The National Brain Party before, helping out at an event in Brunswick Square called “Fayre on the Square”, carrying around a massive pink unicorn and asking people to guess its name. It was a brilliant experience, everyone wanted to have a try to raise money for the fantastic appeal – even if they didn’t want to lug home the prize of a massive unicorn!

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Office to Olympics: just a normal day for Chief Exec

No matter how hard we try to prise them open, lips are tightly sealed at The National Brain Appeal office.

Theresa Dauncey, our Chief Executive, is keeping very secretive about her latest adventure: opening the Olympic ceremony!

Theresa is one of the 800 participants in the NHS section who will join 9,000 others in what promises to be an unforgettable spectacle. It has taken more than two hundred hours of rehearsals and long, fourteen hour days to practice their twelve minute piece that will form part of the three hour ceremony.

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Building with beads

The history of the Althaus family is inextricably linked with The National Hospital. Caroline Althaus, who sits on our board of trustees, delves deeper into the history of the family to discover an untold past.

Growing up, I always knew that our family was closely linked to The National Hospital: my great-great-uncle, Julius Althaus, was one of the founding members, my grandfather, Frederick Althaus, answered an advertisement in The Telegraph which had been inserted by the hospital to find if there were any Althauses who would like to lend their support. My grandfather joined the house committee of Maida Vale in 1966, my father Robin succeeded him in 1975 and has just retired at the end of 2011. We have always been close to the hospital, so when I had the opportunity to visit the Queen Square Library – newly renovated by joint funds from The National Brain Appeal and the Brain Research Trust  – I was delighted at the chance to learn more about the history of the hospital and our family.

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Penny brings in the pounds

We have so many amazing supporters who do a huge amount for the National Brain Appeal and every so often we like to really celebrate the amazing work of individual fundraisers. This week, we shine a light on Penny Boylan.

In 2009, Penny organised the first black tie Queen Square Dinner and Auction which raised over £102,000 towards the UK’s first Brain Tumour Unit at The National. The night was such a success that Penny organised the sequel this year and, at the end of May, the second Queen Square Dinner was held in the beautiful St Pancras hotel. Guests were welcomed with a champagne and canapé reception, followed by a silent auction during dinner and a Live auction conducted by Sotheby’s in the Hansom Hall. Alex, Marcelle and Tallulah from the NBA team were there to lend a helping hand and we watched in awe and amazement as bids flew in with the total sum nearing £175,000.

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The icing on the cake

There is always a flutter of excitement in the National Brain Appeal office when we receive news that Nicky Buckingham is back at The National, not just because of her close connection with the charity but because she also brings with her an array of cakes, biscuits and other delicious treats.

Last week, she set up stall at The National Hospital and unsurprisingly we had some very willing volunteers from the TNBA office who went down to say hello and to sample her latest taste creations. There was everything from Jubilee Fairy Cake and Royal Caramel Shortbread (said to be Prince William’s favourite sweet treat) to King Cupcakes and Victoria Sponge which went down very well with our four o’clock cup of tea time! Read more

Relocation, relocation, relocation…

Apologies if you have had any difficulty in getting in touch with us recently; we have had a busy few weeks with lots of changes and a move to a new office.

We are still in the same building but for those of you who have been to visit us before, you will be delighted to know that we have moved down a floor (one less flight  of stairs to climb if the notoriously unreliable lift is having an ‘off’ day)! Read more

London Marathon 2012

A Sunday morning in April and down at Greenwich, over 37,000 runners stretched their calves, tied their laces for one last time and looked ahead to 26 miles of physical lows and emotional highs. Amongst them, thirteen had chosen to run for The National Brain Appeal, having pledged to raise over £25,000.

We joined their friends and family at the Embankment twenty-five mile mark to cheer our team along every step of the way. In a week that was interspersed with bright sunshine, strong spring rain showers (and even the odd hailstone) we knew that our runners would need even more support than ever to keep their heads up as they came into the last mile. Read more

Odyssey of Love

We have been spending the last few months planning and preparing for our Odyssey of Love evening and now the event is almost upon us.

In a night of drama, passion and love, pianist Lucy Parham will reunite with actors Joanna David and Martin Jarvis and bring to life the music and words of the composer Franz Liszt.

Drawing together strands of Liszt’s life through sound and word, Lucy has created a programme that paints a portrait of the composer in a scrapbook of his music and writing. As a figure, Liszt is preceded by a scandalous reputation of multiple mistresses and it is said that he drove women wild with hysteria when they caught a glimpse of him. Indeed, when we spoke to Lucy she described Liszt as “the Tom Jones of the nineteenth-century” and recounted stories where women fought over his discarded cigar butts and treasured his locks of hair. Read more

The Big Give Christmas Challenge

Thank you to everyone who went online and made a donation during the Christmas Challenge week. We’re delighted to say that we received almost £20,000 in donations. With matched funding from our  Big Give sponsor, Candis, and our pledges, the total raised from the Challenge now stands at over £38,000. Read more

Racing to help fight brain disorders

The National Brain Appeal’s race evening is a firm favourite with supporters with auction lots including diamonds, Disney passes and days out. Read more

Gassers v Slashers Quiz Night

TV hospital met real hospital when on 24 June, actors Julian Rhind-Tutt and Stephen Mangan (from Channel 4’s surreal hospital comedy series ‘Green Wing’) hosted The National Brain Appeal’s first ever quiz night. Read more

The Molly Lane Fox Unit opens

The Molly Lane Fox Unit opens at The National Hospital thanks to The National Brain Appeal. The NHS will take a major step in improving the care of patients with brain cancer with the opening of the UK’s first dedicated brain tumour unit at The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, part of University College Hospitals London NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH).

The National Brain Appeal, the charity that supports the hospital by funding clinical posts, cutting edge technology, infrastructure and research, has invested a total of £2.5 million in the unit and brain cancer service. Read more

Thanks – you saved my life says MP

An MP who underwent life-saving surgery at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (NHNN) to remove a brain tumour returned to the hospital to pay tribute to staff.
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Celebrating a landmark anniversary at The National

2010 marked The National’s 150th and The National Brain Appeal’s 25th anniversaries. We celebrated with a host of special events, reflecting on past successes as well as looking forward to the future. Hundreds of people – including London’s Mayor Boris Johnson – streamed through our doors as part of an anniversary open day which showcased the range of services and treatments we offer.

During his visit, the Mayor unveiled a plaque to commemorate the start of works in the new Molly Lane Fox Unit, the dedicated ward and assessment centre for Brain Tumour patients which has since been completed and opened in early 2011. Read more

Rockefeller Medical Library reopens

The Rockefeller Medical Library reopened in June 2010 at 23 Queen Square, fully refurbished after a £1 million project: half of which was raised by The National Brain Appeal and half by the Brain Research Trust. Read more

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