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Wing walking wife raises over £1,200 for Intensive Care Unit at the RD&E


The wife of a patient who was cared for on the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital has raised over £1,200 for the unit as a thank you for saving her husband’s life.

Caroline Burns, aged 70 from Exmouth, successfully completed a sponsored wing walk experience at Chiltern Park Aerodrome in Oxford in May.   

Caroline decided to undertake the challenge after her husband Bob spent six weeks in hospital last autumn following surgery for bladder cancer. Due to complications from the procedure Bob needed further surgery, a lengthy stay in ITU and spent time on Dart Ward recuperating afterwards.  

“The staff there were tremendous all the way through, not just with the medical side of things, but they looked after me as well, so I wanted to give something back”, said Caroline. “When Bob was in intensive care I said to Sister, I’m thinking of doing a wing walk for the unit. I felt I had to do something to say thank you for saving my husband’s life. No words can say how grateful we are to them.”       

Once Bob began recovering at home, the couple set about planning Caroline’s wing walk, gathering sponsorship from family and friends, and their local community in Exmouth.
This is not the first time that self-confessed adrenaline junkie Caroline has taken on such a challenge, having completed a zip-wire ride, a tandem parachute jump and a spitfire flight in the past.

“I wasn’t nervous at all. The wing walk was absolutely fantastic. I would have done it again if they’d let me stay up there” Caroline added.

Thanks to Caroline’s efforts and the generosity of local people, the couple managed to raise £1,221 in total for the unit. They recently went back the RD&E to hand over the cheque and catch up with some of the few staff members Bob could remember from his stay on ICU, including Sister Bobbi Preston and Nurse Pete Roberts.

Bob said: “It was quite emotional going back, which I didn’t expect at all. But when you meet the people who have saved your life it’s bound to affect you a bit! It’s impossible to put into words how good they were to me, so this is just one big thank you to everyone at the RD&E who helped me, from the minute I arrived there to the day I left. And if they can use our donation to help save someone else and get them out the door as well then that is a very good thing.”  

ICU Sister Bobbi Preston, one of the team who care for Bob during his stay on ICU, added: “It was wonderful to see Bob looking so well, it is one the best part of our job when patients come back to let us know how they are doing.”

Caroline and Bob’s donation will go towards the RD&E’s Intensive Care Unit Trust Fund.


Added 28 July 2017

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