Michelle Vorel-Adams, ACES UK and Ireland President returned to accident and emergency at the Royal Stoke Hospital to express her gratitude to medics who saved her life by showering them with cash and gifts.
Michelle Vorel-Adams said a heartfelt ‘thank you’ by presenting a cheque for more than £4,000 and hampers of special treats to doctors in the haematology ward and the paramedics who raced to her assistance.
A few months ago Michelle, collapsed at home with severe leg and pelvic pain which was diagnosed as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) – a blood clot that develops within a deep vein in the body – and could have proved fatal if not caught in time.
During lockdown she and her partner Phil Fortun went on a sponsored cycle, RIDE2020UK, pedalling round Staffordshire everyday in May-June in a bid to raise £2020 to repay the hospital.
Thanks to sponsorship from family and friends and support from Michelle’s connections through ACES Europe as well as the business community, they more than doubled their target raising a whopping £4,707.75!
Now Michelle, who runs Staffordshire-based international sports and commerce firm Sphere Connect, plans to make the ride an annual summer event for the hospital.
She said: “It was quite an emotional reunion with the team who looked after me, especially the two female paramedics. My DVT was life-threatening and their medical assessment at the scene was vital to my survival.
“Often paramedics don’t get the recognition they deserve when in many cases, including mine, their first response is the most critical part of the whole process.
“The girls were complete angels and it’s thanks to them I am here today. I will be eternally grateful to them.”
The couple’s challenge, to cycle 2,020km over the course of a month, won backing from big names including SweetSpot Group in Surrey, JCB in Rocester, Fox’s Biscuits in Uttoxeter, Mornflake cereals in Crewe, the Francesco Group in Stafford and Pro Vision sports clothing in Stoke on Trent.
The pair armed with a specially-made NHS rainbow cake and hamper from Denstone Hall farm shop and hamper of Fox’s biscuits as well as Francesco hair products and Tour of Britain signed cycling jerseys for the hospital to raffle to raise more funds.
Michelle, former Assistant Director for Leisure, Museums, Culture and Economic Developmentat Stoke City Council, added: “In lockdown we Clapped for the NHS and although cycling everyday was a hard slog, their selflessness spurred me on.
“I kept focused on getting out there each day – come wind, rain or shine. I am delighted the hospital will be putting the money towards both staff and patient welfare.”
She was thrilled to say thank you in person to Consultant Physician Dr Zia Din and paramedics Lesley Pugh and Corinne Potts, who attended her emergency call out. Corinne, who is now on maternity leave, said: “We take many people to hospital and don’t often get to hear how they do so it was a real boost to see Michelle and say ‘well done’ for RIDE2020UK.”
Hospital Chief Executive Tracy Bullock pledged the money would go to good use.
The University Hospitals of North Midlands (UHNM) Chief Executive said: “On behalf of everyone at UHNM, I would like to thank Phil and Michelle for their dedication shown throughout the RIDE2020UK challenge, and congratulate them on surpassing their initial fundraising target.
“Every penny raised will enable us to further improve the care and experience of our patients in our Haematology Ward through the purchase of patient information booklets and improved reception area seating, and the wellbeing of our staff in the Ambulatory Emergency Care (AEC) Unit through the purchase of recliner chairs for staff areas.”
Michelle combines running Sphere Connect with her role as UK & Ireland President for ACES Europe, the European Capitals and Cities of Sport Federation which promotes physical activity and healthy living across more than 500 destinations.
Plans for RIDE2021UK are already underway and she would like to hear from cyclists and businesses who can get behind the effort.