HOW COVID-19 HAS IMPACTED US
Imagine growing up with a serious heart condition. There are many people that do; you get used to it but never forget it. Once or twice a year the dreaded 'check up' looms large in your diary, you want to go but don't at the same time. You may be struggling to get about, your health is not what it was. However, what is reassuring is that you can always get hold of your specialist nurse and the weekly visits to your GP are an anchor point in your life.
Now, imagine a world where everything changes. Visiting your GP is potentially a very dangerous thing to do. Your six-monthly appointment has been cancelled without a new date being offered. That MRI scan will not happen anytime soon. Your pacemaker batteries are going flat, and the nurse you often contact is now uncontactable.
Indeed, your hospital, that clinic you rely on so much, has now become a COVID centre. You don't want to get COVID. You're not very good at getting ill.
This is the reality for many adult patients who suffer from congenital heart disease. They were born with a heart condition; they did not bring this on themselves in any way. These patients, in my experience, are pretty tough and having grown up with a serious illness know a lot about it, but this has a toll on your mental health and every now and again you need some help.
That help may be just a chat with others, or a one-to-one with a counsellor who will talk you through some of your darker thoughts. The Somerville Foundation is the only specialist charity that works with those living with Adult Congenital Heart Disease (ACHD) and provides a variety of specialist services for this inspiring group of people.
My name is Rob Nicoll and I am a trustee for the charity and also a heart patient. Anyone who has suffered a major, life-long illness will recognise the feelings I outlined above. I have provided more information about our work below and some amazing stories. So what do we want your money for?
Our dream is to raise enough money to enhance our mental health services over the coming weeks and months. We cannot meet people but we can still talk and watch, reassure and answer questions, and raise the concerns of so many to the few that have the answers.
Our specialist counsellors will work with patients and their families on the phone or by video-conferencing. Where practical advice is needed our dedicated team will provide solutions - often some simple resolutions will help with the anxiety.
Going further we want to run online webinars/seminars for our patients and their families across the UK.
HELP US MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Please donate. Like so many charities the ability to fundraise has adversely affected us more than most. Remember, our fundraisers (often patients) cannot get out, are not allowed to mix with others and campaign.
Every pound raised will assist us to increase the services that we hold so dear and transform the lives of the those that engage with them. Your donation will make someone smile again, what more can you do?
Find our more about our work...
Video: Zipper - A short 60-second film by Paul Mulgrew and Jarlath Houston inspiring others to challenge repressive norms by exposing your own vulnerability.
Video: Covid-19 Appeal - Our President Jane Somerville’s appeal to the ACHD Community.
- Read our 2019 interview with Roger
- YouTube Channel
- Vlogs COVID & Mental Health Playlist
- Listen to what a normal resting heart sounds like
SCARRED FOR LIFE GALLERY
Scarred FOR Life is a special photo exhibition sharing the problems and heartache that accompany living with a heart condition, both mental and physical.
“These scars are real. They are battle scars. They bear witness to the greatest battle any of us will ever face, the fight for life itself.”
Read more about the people involved in this campaign.
OTHER PEOPLE IN OUR COMMUNITY
We have so many wonderful people in our community that volunteer their time, expertise and share their stories. Visit our Covid-19 Heart Page to view the full gallery.
WHAT IS A CONGENITAL HEART DEFECT?
Congenital heart defect (CHD) describes a heart condition or defect that develops in the womb. The term “congenital” means the condition is present from birth. The Somerville Foundation is the only UK charity dedicated to supporting adults born with a heart condition (ACHD). There are over 250,000 adults who were born with a heart condition living in the UK. The Somerville Foundation further provides support for young people transitioning into adult heart services.
CHD is one of the most common types of congenital disability, affecting up to eight in every 1,000 babies. We provide Adult Congenital Heart Support in a number of ways such mental health and wellbeing, assistance in applying for grants, providing relevant information and access to resources and hosting events.
And, with many distinct types of CHD, we aim to ensure they receive the excellent medical care and the support and advice they need to lead happy, healthy lives.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.