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Former patient gives back to the Friends of Dorset County Hospital

A former patient from Dorchester is raising money for the Friends of Dorset County Hospital after they left a lasting impression during her four-month stay at the Trust.

Lizzie Milner, 32, broke her back and lost both her lower legs in December 2016 at the age of 28. She was treated at Southampton General Hospital for a month before being transferred to DCH for four months.

She received her first set of prosthetic legs in March 2017 and learnt how to walk again with the support of physiotherapists and occupational therapists on Purbeck Ward at DCH.

During her admittance she chatted regularly to the volunteers of the Friends and built up a relationship with them.

Lizzie therefore decided she wanted to give something back to the charity that had comforted her so well during a very challenging time in her life.

She is aiming to raise £500 by walking 10km to 15km in fancy dress throughout August – either in a dinosaur costume or in bright pink depending on the weather.

Lizzie said: “They are a lovely charity and what they do at Dorset County Hospital is brilliant. They kept me smiling during my long stay. I chatted to the volunteers in their shop and when they came round to the ward with their trolley. It is just a charity I want to give back to.”

Chairman of the Friends of DCH Barbara Purnell added: “We were absolutely delighted when Lizzie contacted us with her idea to raise money for the Friends.

“It really is very much appreciated and without the generosity of the local community organising events like this we wouldn’t be able to raise the money that we do to continue to support the patients at DCH.”

Lizzie is planning to upload the distances she walks to her Facebook page, along with pictures and is hoping to complete a variety of walks in different locations. She is also planning a weekly update with how much she has raised.

The Friends of DCH are a vital support to the Trust. Since 2018 they have donated approximately £175,000 to various departments across the hospital to fund a variety of much-needed equipment.

Their latest major fundraising initiative is to raise £20,000 for an ultrasound machine for the Rheumatology Department.

The machine will be able to assist in the early diagnosis and treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis, an autoimmune condition where the immune system attacks healthy tissues causing pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints. It will therefore be a very valuable asset to the Rheumatology Department.

The initiative was launched shortly before the country went into lockdown and therefore the regular events held by and for the Friends, such as book, bric-a-brac sales, raffles and bingo evenings have not been able to go ahead and funding has dramatically decreased.

Lizzie’s fundraising will therefore be a huge support to help the Friends reach their target.

For more information about Lizzie’s challenge and to donate, please visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/elizabeth-millner or www.facebook.com/LizzieMillnerEM

If you would like to plan an event to raise funds for the Friends, please email friends@dchft.nhs.uk. You can find out more information about the Friends or make a donation via their website: www.friendsofdorsetcountyhospital.co.uk.

The Friends remain as committed as ever to Dorset County Hospital and are continuing to work behind the scenes to support the Trust in any way they can. For now, the Friends’ shop remains closed and the trolley round suspended.

Photo of Lizzie Millner