Anna, second left, pictured with cousins on a previous visit to deliver presents to our our transplant ward
An inspirational nursing student and her family have once again continued to help patients with heart disease at Christmas, despite restrictions brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
Anna Hemphill was just 10 years old when mum Mary was first admitted to the Golden Jubilee National Hospital in 2011 to have aortic valve replacement surgery.
Six months later Mary was back in hospital receiving a mechanical mitral valve. In 2012 she had a pacemaker fitted before a mitral valve repair in 2015.
It was a distressing and anxious time for young Anna, waiting around in the wards for word of her mum’s progress and it’s the reason she wants to help other children, families and patients who are going through the same ordeals.
Due to the care her mother received and the love and respect she has for NHS staff, Anna has also been inspired to pursue a career in healthcare and is now studying an Adult Nursing degree at Glasgow Caledonian University.
She and her family normally do a number of fundraising events throughout the year and hand in presents and money to buy patients and families gifts, as well as money to help the Scottish National Advanced Heart Failure Service (SNAHFS) and Scottish Adult Congenital Cardiac Service (SACCS), which mum Mary still receives care from at NHS Golden Jubilee.
This year, instead of asking others to donate, the Hemphills just did an extended family collection which raised £2000, which was then matched by Mary’s sister Anne Marie who lives in America, for a total of £4,000, which will be shared equally between the two services.
Anna said: “The staff and patients at the Golden Jubilee are always in our hearts, especially at this time of year and at this really difficult moment in time for everyone.
“We really hope this donation can give the staff and patients who will be in the hospital over the festive season a little bit of happiness to see them through what can be a traumatic time in normal circumstances.”
Since she first started fundraising in 2013, Anna, her cousins and other family members have raised a total of £18,339 – with £9,885 going to NHS Golden Jubilee and £8,454 going to other charities including the British Heart Foundation, Scottish Association for Children with Heart Disorders and the Glasgow Children’s Hospital charity.
Over the years she has also visited the Golden Jubilee’s transplant ward with bags of toys, iPads, gift vouchers, pyjamas, hotel vouchers, afternoon teas, earphones for families and patients to open on Christmas Day.
Anna, 19, from Port Glasgow, added: “I went through a really difficult time so I just want to help others who are going through the same thing. Spending time at this amazing hospital has inspired me to become a nurse and I want to be able to give the excellent care the Golden Jubilee and all the heart charities give to the likes of my family.”
Mum Mary, 46, said: “I’m very proud of Anna and the work she has done. When she was at school she took our experiences and educated and engaged with people about heart disease and she really cares about the patients we raise money for.
“Due to coronavirus, it would have been hard for us to do our normal activities and, even though many people who normally donate for us were asking to, we didn’t want to ask people for money as we knew a lot of people were struggling during this pandemic, so we just did a family collection.
“We would all like to thank everyone in our community and beyond who has helped and supported us over the years.”
NHS Golden Jubilee Nurse Director, Anne Marie Cavanagh, thanked Anna and her family for their support and dedication to helping others over the years.
“We are so grateful to Anna and her spirit of generosity and compassion for others is truly inspiring. I think once she has completed her nursing degree she will be a credit to the healthcare profession.”
Ward Manager Nurse Euan Darroch added: “We would like to express our thanks to Anna and her family for their ongoing support to the patients and charities that provide support for patients with a cardiac diagnosis.
“Their selfless generosity is greatly appreciated and will be of huge benefit to patients and their families who attend our specialist services at NHS Golden Jubilee.”