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Charity road trip to raise awareness of specialist children’s nurses

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A specialist children’s nurse is gearing up for a charity road trip across the country to visit fellow nurses in a bid to raise awareness of the work they do.

Lesley McCarthy, a Roald Dahl non-malignant specialist haematology nurse, is due to take on a five-day tour from Oxford to Rochester at the end of April.

“Lesley’s dedication to the nursing profession and to the charity is truly marvellous”

Katie Greig

The aim of the trip is to help showcase the essential work that these nurses do and to raise funds in support of the Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity which fund their posts.

Ms McCarthy, from the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH), will be travelling with her husband Tony in a Citroen 2VC named Florence.

The fundraising duo will pull out of John Radcliffe Hospital on 30 April and will finish four days later in Rochester at a showcase event with the charity.

En route, they will visit hospitals in Southampton, Portsmouth, Guildford, Basildon, Dartford, and Rochester to meet up with other Roald Dahl nurses for fundraising events and activities.

Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity funds more than 70 specialist nurses to support 21,000 seriously ill children across the UK.

Ms McCarthy’s role works to support children and their families from diagnosis and through the transition into adult services.

She currently cares for around 150 children across the Thames Valley who suffer with chronic blood conditions.

Since beginning in her role in April 2018, Ms McCarthy has been the trust’s specific nurse for children suffering from non-cancerous blood disorders, such as sickle cell disease, thalassaemia or other red cell conditions, based at Oxford Children’s Hospital.

Ms McCarthy explained that by being a Roald Dahl nurse she could see “first-hand” how her post could make a difference.

“It is a really rewarding and enjoyable role”

Lesley McCarthy

“My role helps the child and family in numerous ways, from supporting at diagnosis, navigating around the health system, and educating and empowering them to manage their condition,” she said.

“As a specialist nurse, I am the first point of call for most families and am accessible to them,” she added.

“It is a privilege to be part of their journey and a really rewarding and enjoyable role,” she said. ”The charity has identified a need and they fund the posts in collaboration with the NHS – it’s a great concept.”

Speaking of her upcoming road trip, she said: “By taking the car on the road and meeting up with other Roald Dahl nurses we hope to raise awareness of the charity and promote the specialist OUH nursing role for children at the children’s hospital.”

Ms McCarthy and her husband have coined their trip the ‘Follow Florence’ tour. The idea came from Tony, who has worked for Citroen and has a small collection of 2CVs.

The drivers behind the trip are called ’the big 70’ which marks the 70th anniversary of the NHS, the fact that there are 70 Roald Dahl nurses in post and that the Citroen 2CV also turned 70 recently.

Katie Greig, Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s charity fundraising and programmes support officer, herself a former nurse, said: “With money raised from fantastic fundraising activities such as the one Lesley is holding, we can plan better for the future, ensuring that more children, young people and families get the support they deserve.

“As a former nurse, I have seen the real benefit expert care can bring for families facing serious illness,” she said. “Lesley’s dedication to the nursing profession and to the charity is truly marvellous.”

You can donate via the JustGiving page or watch their journey via #FollowFlorence on Twitter.


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