Published: Friday, December 11th, 2015
Thousands raised for heart patients in memory of Scotland legend
More than 400 people recently attended a charity event which raised £44,000 for the Golden Jubilee National Hospital in memory of internationally renowned cardiologist, Professor Stewart Hillis.
Professor Hillis, who sadly passed away in 2014, was known around the world for his pioneering work in cardiology and his extensive work within Scottish football and the Scotland International Team. Professor Hillis also played a major role in improving the standard of care offered to individuals suffering from congenital heart defects in the West of Scotland, and establishing the Scottish Adult Congenital Cardiac Service (SACCS) at the Golden Jubilee National Hospital.
His son, Alisdair Hillis, who organised the event, said: “My Dad always planned to organise a fundraiser when he retired, but never fully withdrew from work and never found the time to do it.
“Last summer, when he was very unwell with Mesothelioma, I asked him which charity should benefit from any future fundraising activity and he said, without hesitation, Adult Congenital Heart Disease. My dad had dedicated a lot of his time to this area, working with patients who historically may not have lived to adulthood, but due to improving surgical techniques and services a whole generation has survived, with many going on to achieve great things and make a real contribution to society.”
Alisdair approached Dr Niki Walker, Consultant Cardiologist at the Golden Jubilee National Hospital, to discuss the possibility of fundraising to help support adults living with congenital conditions maximise their potential both mentally and physically through exercise with the help of a dedicated physiotherapist.
The sold out event took place in Hampden Park, where Stewart is immortalised on the wall of the Scottish Football Hall of Fame, in the Millennium Suite overlooking the pitch, the venue where he earned many of his world record caps as Scotland team doctor.
The evening featured a video of the team at the Golden Jubilee, colleagues who had worked with Professor Hillis throughout the years and some of the amazing patients who have overcome their conditions to accomplish fantastic things in the world of sport, including a Team Scotland cyclist, a professional golfer, a Commonwealth Games bowler, a runner and a student.
Guests at the dinner were also treated guest speakers Walter Smith and Craig Brown, along with a video from Sir Alex Ferguson and Only an Excuse Star Jonathan Watson, before Dr Niki Walker gave a heartfelt speech explaining why people needed help and how funds raised would benefit patients.
Following an auction and raffle, with a selection of one of a kind prizes including a game on the Ibrox pitch, tickets for Manchester United versus Everton, T In The Park Tickets with helicopter transfer and seats in the Rangers and Celtic directors’ boxes, the evening raised £44,000, 50% more than had been hoped for.
Alisdair added: “The evening was a tremendous success, and this money will go towards helping finance a physiotherapist for two years to work with adult congenital patients, tailoring exercise and activity programmes to help them reach their full potential.”
Dr Mike Higgins, Medical Director of the Golden Jubilee National Hospital, commented on the donation, saying: “Last year, we were deeply saddened by the passing of Professor Stewart Hillis, one of the pioneers of adult congenital cardiology in the West of Scotland and a man whose contributions to the Golden Jubilee’s services and patients is immeasurable.
“We have been blown away by the generosity that people have shown with their donations towards the Scottish Adult Congenital Cardiac Service (SACCS) at the Golden Jubilee and cannot thank Alisdair Hillis and everyone involved in organising this massive fundraising event for all their hard work.
“The money raised will help us to take the next step in carrying on the work of Professor Hillis, finding new and innovative ways to continually improve our services, offering the best possible care and quality of life for every one of our patients at the Golden Jubilee National hospital.”