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Soroptimists swap Smarties for support

When President Helen’s friend, Siobhan, suffered major brain trauma as a result of a winter sport’s accident, she was airlifted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham where she received the best care possible. Siobhan, an Intelligence Officer in the RAF, was representing the RAF in the Tri-Services Winter Games and competing in the luge when the accident happened. Siobhan’s parents, who live in Porthcawl, rushed to be at her bedside and as well as dealing with the shock and trauma of the accident and Siobhan’s condition, had to find somewhere to stay in Birmingham as close to the hospital as possible.

Siobhan’s parents weren’t aware that they could stay in Fisher House, the home away from home for military patients and their families, which has provided free accommodation for forces families since 2013.

Helen explains, “Beryl and Jake, Siobhan’s parents, were amazed and incredibly grateful when the RAF made arrangements for them to stay in Fisher House for as long as they needed to. It is a fantastic facility right on the Queen Elizabeth Hospital campus and just a 10 minute walk from the ward where Siobhan was. It took a tremendous pressure off the family during a very difficult time and meant that both Beryl and Jake were able to spend as much time as possible with Siobhan.”

Having seen Fisher House for herself, Helen was keen to spread the word and to offer support by fundraising for them. Bridgend Soroptimists joined in the fundraising efforts by filling empty Smarties tubes with 20 pence pieces. As a result over a few short weeks, they raised £250 for Fisher House who were delighted with the support received.

Helen explains, “Siobhan is gradually improving and is now well enough to move to a brand new RAF rehabilitation facility, Stamford House near Loughborough. At Stamford Hall she’ll get specialist support and will once again be part of the RAF, an enormous boost to her recovery. She will still need to return to the hospital in Birmingham for treatment and it is great to know that her family can stay at Fisher House whenever they need to.”