The Health Tree Foundation The Health Tree Foundation

Patient given life-changing surgery set to support local appeal which will help thousands

Following a battle with serious bowel complications since birth, one 29-year-old woman has been given a new lease of life after receiving life-changing surgery at Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital.

Donna Burns of Grimsby now “proudly” wears a colostomy bag and has since named her stoma, Betty. Her new bout of health has spurred her on to take part in charitable activities to raise money for the hospital’s Rear into Gear appeal.

“After my recent surgery, I would like to give something back in return to help other patients that may be in my situation or anyone who is suffering from bowel cancer or irritable bowel disease (IBS)” said Donna.

Donna is no stranger to taking part in events to raise money for worthy causes and competed in the Cleethorpes 5K colour run with her friend’s four-year-old boy in memory of his grandad. She also raised £292 for two local charities but has decided to raise for The Health Tree Foundation this year.

“My nana had bowel cancer twice, although she wasn’t a patient at Grimsby. She beat the disease but needed bowel surgery. Sadly, not everyone beats the awful illness and my heart goes out to anyone who has lost a loved one because of it. I have lost loved ones to cancer and have seen how quickly it can take someone’s life,” Donna said.

During her hospital stay, she made friends with a number of patients who are still receiving treatment for bowel cancer. Donna said: “I made friends with some lovely people from the bay I was staying in and we still remain in contact. Some of them are being treated for bowel cancer so just being able to help even in the tiniest way possible means a lot to me.

“I couldn’t have wished for better care. All of the staff nurses on ward B3, my stoma nurses Louise, Anne and Teresa and the surgeon Mr Sasapu have been amazing to me both before and after my surgery. Louise provided me with a lot of information, some DVDs and she answered any questions I had.

“I really appreciate all they have done for me. I was so scared about being an inpatient as I hadn’t stayed in hospital before but I had nothing to worry about. The care from each member of staff was fantastic.”

Donna has been so inspired by the commitment and care she has received from staff on B3, she has applied to become a volunteer on the ward at weekends to help out as and where she can.

To raise money for the appeal she has started making personalised wooden letters where the profit will be donated to the campaign. She will also be taking part in the Grimsby 10k on July 22nd which last year saw roughly 3000 people participate. For this race, Donna is looking to recruit a partner or group to run alongside her to raise money for the appeal so do contact The Health Tree Foundation if you'd like to run with her.

Donna added: “I really am truly grateful for all that has been done for me and for the support I received and still do receive. Thank you to all the staff I have talked about in this case study – I now have my life back and I will be forever grateful for that.”

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