September 2012

Bladder Olympians scale new heights to raise money for surgical research

Seven medical professionals and one patient from University College Hospital London are gearing themselves up for their own week of Olympic challenges, led by consultant urological surgeon Jeremy Ockrim, clinical lead for the hospital’s Sarcal Nerve Neuromodulation.ockrims1

Ockrim’s Bladder Olympians, as they have become affectionately know at UCLH, will kick off their fundraising programme with the second Ockrim/Parnell Fund 5k Fun Run, which proved a great success last year.

Held on Sunday 9 September in London’s Regents Park, it will also include a mini-Olympics for the children, with events such as an egg and spoon race, sack race and tug of war.

Then on Thursday 13 September the team will be off to Mount Olympus, where they aim to climb and descend Greece’s highest mountain, which stands at about 10,000 feet, in just under 48 hours.

The trek to the top normally takes five days, so the team have set themselves a huge challenge. They will be staying at overnight refuges on the mountain, but admit they are a bit confused that the running water at their five star accommodation has been described as a nearby stream!ockrims1

Money raised by the challenges will enable research and treatment to continue at the specialist urology unit at UCLH. This includes Sarcal Nerve Neuromodulation, a permanent device that modulates the neural pathways controlling bladder or rectal function.

“Even though Ockrim’s Bladder Olympians are certainly not athletes and people who know us appreciate that we are generally averse to strenuous physical activity, we want to be able to offer our patients the best treatments” explains Jeremy Ockrin.

“Not only are we trying to raise vital funds for surgical research into bladder dysfunction, but we also hope to break down one of the last taboo subjects of the 21st Century and to get people to talk openly and freely without embarrassment seeking the treatment they require. Bladder conditions affect so many people, but we want to let people know that they can be treated and quality of life can be restored.

“It will be a very challenging trip for us all and will take us well out of our comfort zones. We will be spurred on with the knowledge that if it helps improve the quality of life of others then it is all worth it.”

Medical colleagues joining Jeremy Ockrim will be: consultant urological surgeons Tamsin Greenwell and Julian Shah, clinical nurse practitioners Richard Weston, Fiona Holden and Julie Jenks and Lois Roberts, General Manager of the Division of Surgical Specialties at UCLH.

The team will also include long-term patient Neville Parnell, who has been a keen fundraiser for the unit.

“Without the expertise, skillful treatment and outstanding support of the UCLH specialist urology unit, I could never have embarked on the physical challenges I have set myself nor enjoy the quality of life I have now” he says. “Raising funds will help enable the urology unit to continue with their research and be at the forefront of their field in helping people like me.”

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