On Wednesday, 6th March, the Mater Hospital hosted a commemorative event marking the 200th HIPEC (Heated Intra-Peritoneal Chemotherapy) procedure given to cancer patients in Ireland. Alongside this, was the roll out of this significant service to women with advanced stage ovarian cancer.

Invited by Ireland East Hospital Group, international speakers included Professor Brendan Moran from the UK and Professor Willemien Van Driel from the National Cancer Institute.

Over 200 Cytoreductive Surgery (CRS) combined with HIPEC procedures have been carried out at the Mater Hospital since repatriation from the UK in 2013. This milestone marks a significant development in healthcare, and going forward, it will have an incredible impact on women’s cancer treatment.

Since September 2018, ten women with ovarian cancer have receive the treatment. The Mater Foundation is very proud to support this significant advance in healthcare, and going forward, we aspire to continue to support the Mater Hospital in bringing world class treatment to public patients.

Transforming Cancer Surgical Care

The campaign for a Robotic Surgical Programme

 

The Mater Hospital aims to bring a Robotic Surgical Programme to public patients in Ireland.  The preferred practice globally, robotic assisted surgery will enable our surgeons to perform complex procedures with more accuracy, control, and precision.

Our campaign ‘Transforming Cancer Surgical Care’ will provide a €5 million Robotic Surgical Programme that will allow the Hospital to advance the service it provides to all patients. We have the surgical expertise in place to utilise robotic surgery immediately. We need your help to make this a reality.

The success of this campaign will enable the most comprehensive Robotic Surgical Programme in Ireland, encompassing a high volume of surgeries across multiple disciplines through:

  • Phase 1: The purchasing of a robot
  • Phase 2: Delivering a robotic surgical unit
  • Phase 3: Developing a teaching and training centre.

Investing in this €5 million Robotic Surgical Programme will have a profound impact on our patients, allowing them a faster and better recovery and return to daily life and family. With your support we can deliver equity, efficiency, and excellent cancer patient care.

 

 

Breast Cancer Survivor App

A new album featuring some of Ireland’s most prolific country singers has recently launched, in memory of Ciarán Maree. The youngest of six children from Navan, Co Meath, Ciarán passed away in September 2007, just ten weeks after he was diagnosed with a very rare, progressive form of cancer. He was just 25 years-old.

Following the devastating loss of their son and brother, the Maree family set up the Ciarán Maree Cancer Research and Development Fund, in association with The Mater Foundation. Their aim was to raise money to improve cancer treatments and patient care in the Mater Hospital, where Ciarán was treated.

They have succeeded in raising a phenomenal amount, with almost €400,000 raised in over a decade. Featuring a host of renowned Irish artists, with the inclusion of an original track by Fergal Flaherty entitled ‘The Ballad of Ciaránín Óg’, the album reflects the Ciarán’s powerful and much loved legacy.

On the 19th of September 2018, St. Monica’s Ward Family Room was officially declared open in the Mater Misericordiae Hospital. Thanks to the phenomenal support of people like you, there are now 13 new Family Rooms across the different wards of the Mater Hospital.

The Family Room is a vital space for critically ill patients and their families, offering a place of calm and comfort, particularly at a palliative stage of illness. The rooms give families a peaceful place to talk, speak to their loved one’s doctors, or just catch a breath away from the bustle of a public hospital ward setting.

We had the pleasure of welcoming several guests to the opening, including The Papal Nuncio to Ireland Archbishop Jude Thaddeus Okolo, Ms Olena Shaloput, Chairperson of the International Charity Bazaar, and Mr Declan McCourt.

A special thanks must be extended towards the International Charity Bazaar and Jaguar Land Rover Ireland – both made wonderfully generous donations which enabled the opening of this crucial resource.

 

We’re delighted to announce the winners of the Mater Foundation Summer Raffle 2018!

We asked for your support to help improve cancer patient services in the Mater Hospital. As demands on these services are increasing year on year, urgent funding is required to continue investing in state-of-the-art medical equipment and vital patient-focused care.

We are overwhelmed by the level of support we received. The winners are:

  • 1st Prize of €5,000: Jackie Downes, Co. Dublin
  • 2nd Prize of €1,000: Catherine Grennan, Co. Offaly
  • Seller’s Prize of €1,000: Helen, Co Dublin

Congratulations to all of our raffle winners, and thank you to everyone who participated for your incredible support. It means so much to every patient who depends on the Mater Hospital for life saving treatment and care.

Thanks to your amazing efforts, vital funds raised enables us to continue to invest in ground-breaking research as well as state of the art medical equipment.  Our patients deserve the best care possible and research is an important part of the world class patient care at the Mater that you help make possible.

Alan Kelly’s (‘the great AK’) story of survival from cancer is a remarkable one. Currently in remission from a four year battle with both prostate cancer and acute myeloid leukaemia, he counts every new day as a blessing.

Initially diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2014, Alan was put in the care of a medical oncologist, Professor John McCaffrey at the Mater Hospital. Following the care he received there, Alan organised a hugely successful charity evening centred on ‘The Importance of Resilience’ on July 12th.

He raised a phenomenal €3,000, presented to the Mater Foundation on July 30th.

“My motto now is ‘Life’s not about waiting for the storm to pass, but learning to dance in the rain,'” he says with a smile. I don’t know, no more than anybody else knows, what’s ahead. All I do know is that I’m very high-risk; that I’ve had two life-threatening cancers and I’m walking around on fumes today my bloods are so weak.

My leukaemia is gone but for how long who knows? But then who knows anything? There’s no doubt I’m a walking miracle. The point about this is, you must fight. If you think you can overcome something, there’s always a chance that you will. And remember this. Everybody dies, but not everybody lives.”

Alan continues to receive care in the Mater Hospital, equipped with an unrelenting resilience that helps carry him through his treatment.

Due to the large number of tickets returned for our summer raffle, the draw date has been extended to ensure that all tickets can be processed and entered into the draw.

The draw will now take place on Friday, August 10th at 14:30. If you have not already returned your tickets, there is still time.

Urgent funding is needed for ground-breaking breast cancer research to help people like Caitríona Plunkett who was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer shortly after her 35th birthday. Caitríona is just one example of the many people you will be helping by supporting our summer raffle.

Every ticket sold will make a big difference. Your support will bring us one step closer to making vital breakthroughs in breast cancer treatment. Please do all that you can. And don’t forget to send back your ticket stubs and funds today in the freepost envelope provided with your raffle tickets .

Thank you so much for the difference you are making for every cancer patient who depends on the Mater Hospital for life saving treatment. Your support means so much to them.

Thank you to all of the supporters who participated in the Mater Foundation’s volunteer stand Spring Raffle 2018. The tickets have been collected and we are happy to announce that we have a winner!

Congratulations to Mary Flynn of Co. Longford, who was the lucky recipient of a fantastic prize from Buff Day Spa, Dublin.

Mater Foundation volunteer Michael Dowling, pictured below in the Whitty Wing in the Mater Hospital, drew the winning ticket.

We want to thank everybody who bought a raffle ticket. Your support is invaluable, with funds raised going directly to vital services for the patients of the Mater Hospital, helping us to achieve our goal of advancing care for every patient, every day.

Learn more about different ways to support the Mater Foundation here

We were delighted to welcome 40 PwC volunteers to the Hospital’s Elderly Day Care Centre and Post- Acute Services Centre on Friday, May 18th.  A busy and productive day, ten of the volunteers worked together to paint and decorate the ground floor of the Elderly Day Care Centre, including the dining rooms and sitting room used by elderly clients on a daily basis.

The remaining Pwc staff arrived at Post- Acute Services Centre to help the residents ‘pimp my Zimmer’; an activity which encouraged the patients of the Centre to decorate their walkers with a range of accessories. Decorating walkers has been proven to reduce the number of falls for their owners, as well as making the Zimmer frame more identifiable.

Several volunteers took a trip down memory lane, framing pictures of Old Dublin, and placing them throughout the wards. Remembering old times helps to trigger memories, which improves the cognitive abilities of patients with dementia. It was a practical, fun filled morning.

In the afternoon, the patients and volunteers sat down to a traditional afternoon tea, followed by a sing song. Patients thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the opportunity to chat with their younger guests.  At the hospital’s Elderly Day Care Centre, PwC volunteers finished painting the downstairs of the building, which looks completely revitalised with fresh coats of paint on ceilings, walls and doors.

Community Day is a celebration of PwC’s commitment to local communities and allows PwC employees to give back their time and labour for one day – Friday 18th May. It is a valuable opportunity for staff to volunteer and gain a ‘hands on’ experience, assisting charities and community organisations with specific projects like painting and decorating and engaging in social activities.

Mary Moorhead, CEO of the Mater Foundation, commented “This is an absolutely fantastic initiative by PwC. The Mater Hospital services the IFSC and so much of Dublin’s business community, and it is wonderful to see business leaders such as PwC support the Mater Hospital. For elderly patients and residents who use the Mater Hospital’s community services, this was a lovely experience for them to meet with young professionals.  Social interaction between generations is so important and I want to personally thank the wonderful PwC volunteers for their hard work and for inviting us to be a part of their Community Day.”

Ciara Dowling, Clinic Nurse Manager at Post-Acute Services remarked “The volunteers did an amazing job.  It is evident that the day was a big success.  Events like these are a lot of work but it’s really worth it when you see the smile on the patients faces “.

Rose Marie McNamara of PwC stated “By engaging with the Mater Foundation and the Mater Hospital’s community initiatives, PwC volunteers learned about patient care, specifically the daily challenges elderly residents and patients with dementia face.  As part of our Annual Community Day initiative, we were delighted that 40 staff volunteered to take part in practical projects and activities that benefited the elderly patients of the Mater Hospital.”

Every week in Ireland, one young person under the age of 35 is tragically taken from their family by Sudden Arrythmic Death Syndrome or SADS. But doctors at the Family Heart Screening Clinic, funded by the Mater Foundation, are working to save those at risk with ground breaking medical research into genetic testing.

Derek Crinion is one such doctor, having specialised in cardiac rhythm management to become an expert in the heart conditions that cause SADS. Last year he received a fellowship in electro-physiology, thanks to funds raised by supporters of the Mater Foundation. Since then he has worked under Dr Joe Galvin to screen the most at risk families for dangerous heart defects. These are families who have already lost someone to an inherited cardiac condition or who have a loved one that’s been diagnosed with one, and may have other members with the same hidden heart problem.

Derek and the amazing medical team at the Family Heart Screening Clinic, led by Dr Joe Galvin, have seen over 10,000 people for inherited cardiac conditions over the past 10 years. In the process, they have established a database of patient records. Derek plans to use this data to identify the most commonly shared genes among families with inherited cardiac conditions to facilitate genetic testing, which will help protect more people from sudden cardiac death.

Dr Derek Crinion by the plaque marking the opening of the Family Heart Screening Clinic over 10 years ago. 10,000 people have been seen at the clinic in that time.

To give a clear idea of what they are hoping to achieve with this data, he references the current state of affairs where doctors use medical technology to screen a patient’s heart for the first signs of a potentially fatal problem.

“By screening people, the hope is that you save lives. But the nature of these conditions is that they’re hidden and elusive. So in order not to miss anything, we need to complement our imaging of the heart with blood tests for dangerous genes.”

This newly established database of patient records should provide an insight into the most commonly shared genes of people at risk of SADS and other inherited cardiac conditions, and help complement the current screening procedures which involve state-of-the-art equipment funded by supporters of the Mater Foundation.

Genetic screening could also offer a greater levels of comfort to families who may possess an inherited cardiac condition. At the moment, the younger family members are advised to attend the clinic for screenings on a periodic basis, in order to ensure that problems don’t develop later in life, which means they and their parents experience a degree of continuing stress and uncertainty. But genetic testing could allow for a clearer answer of whether they or their loved ones are or are not at risk.

Derek explains:
“For instance, if your brother is admitted to the Mater having being diagnosed with a dangerous, inherited heart condition and you present yourself for screening, you might not have any visible symptoms but you would have to schedule further visits to be sure of your safety. But if I was able to do a blood test and it showed you had the genetic condition, then I could straight away advise you and put you on a treatment plan. On the other hand, if I did a blood test that was able to show you weren’t at risk from an inherited cardiac condition then you could be discharged with the assurance that it wouldn’t later manifest itself.”

The lives that could potentially be saved, and the families that could be protected from fear of another tragedy, by this ground breaking research are dependent on people like you who raise funds for the Family Heart Screening Clinic. It’s thanks to the incredible generosity of our supporters that the Mater Foundation is able to offer doctors like Derek a fellowship for their work which, if it continues, could save thousands more lives in the fight against SADS.

In the meantime, the existence of a database of over 10 years of patient records from the Family Heart Screening Clinic will help provide critical insights into SADS related deaths in Ireland and help prevent more young people from being lost to this hidden killer.

Learn more about the stories of families that have been screened for inherited cardiac conditions at the Family Heart Screening Clinic, like little Laura Byrne and her brother Charlie, by clicking on the photo below.

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