Romain, via Emma Thistlethwayte (pictured in this post), his Teenage & Young Adult (TYA) Lead Nurse at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, applied to the Rob George Foundation in June 2022 for a grant to fund ten fortnightly sessions of physiotherapy. Romain had an allogeneic stem cell transplant in July 2020 and developed severe joint graft versus host disease, meaning he had contractures and was unable to walk unaided and became housebound with no response to first- or second-line treatment. Consequently, he had funded fortnightly physio privately and was making amazing progress, enabling him to walk again and put his feet flat on the ground. Romain’s funds finally started to dry up and he was struggling to afford his private treatment. Any delay or cessation of his treatment would have led to a deterioration in his health and recovery, and all-important journey to independence.
Emma explains further: “Romain was transitioned to the TYA team having had his transplant under the paediatric team. When I first met him, he could walk very short distances only and with walking aids and suffered from terrible pain so consequently had a very poor quality of life. This was due to mucocutaneous graft versus host disease which had been refractory to multiple lines of therapy. Thanks to your financial support Romain has been able to have ongoing massage therapy and support around an exercise program and re-structuring of his routine and bedroom. The results have been truly impressive and to see this progress I know brings tears to the eyes of all of us who know him. He is now able to walk unaided, has reduced substantially his pain relief and is able to now engage regularly with friends in social activities. We cannot thank you enough for your support.”
Romain said: “I would like to thank the Rob George Foundation for all it has done to help me get back on my feet, quite literally; without their financial help and backing I would still be in a wheelchair today.
“The aid they provided allowed me to receive the treatment I most urgently needed in terms of physiotherapy, with the help of a private sports therapist and soft tissue worker.
“This is not to say that the NHS physiotherapists are not well meaning or unqualified, simply that they have little time, and I am sure they are under extreme pressure, which, for a case as complex as mine, severely limited the potential of what could be achieved.
“Thanks to the Rob George Foundation grant, more time could be spent on my rehabilitation leading to results which impressed even my doctors and has allowed me more personal freedom as a young adult.”
RGF trustee, David Cant, said: “What a fine example of how the RGF can ‘make a difference…one individual at a time!’ Romain’s story is so uplifting. Every single supporter who helps raise funds for the RGF should be so proud of how we can support young people, like Romain, across the UK. I would like to thank Romain for sharing his inspirational story with us, and the brilliant Emma and her team who work tirelessly on the NHS front-line making a difference in their uniquely special way.”