In loving memory of Thomas

Understand Gerry's reasons for donating £5,500 to our Children's Diabetes Team and what the funds have been spent on to improve patient experience.

CHFT Charity would like to shine a spotlight on our Children’s Diabetes Team as well as an amazing fundraiser of ours. Gerry Robertson has been actively fundraising in aid of the CHFT Children’s Diabetes Team for a while now. Gerry will be donating another £1,000 on the 23rd of August in loving memory of her son, Thomas, who sadly passed away due to complications with Type 1 Diabetes. This brings the family’s total donations to date via the Whitehorse Pub in Halifax to £5,500.

“Thomas was a cheeky loveable lad who got diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 13. He was always out with his mates, doing what kids do and he never really thought much about his diabetes because he always said it would never happen to him.

“For years he was ok, his sugars were always a bit high until the hospital stays became more frequent. However, his spirits were always high, and he was always joking around. He kept mentioning that this would never happen to him.

“Then at 25, Thomas’ condition became worse, his eyesight started failing, he was in a wheelchair, and I became his full-time carer. Despite this, Thomas still had his interests and hobbies, he loved his cars, PlayStation, 50” TV, his dogs, 2 cats and his fish. Oh, and of course his amazon shopping!

“Then at the age of 29, Thomas was in the final stage of kidney failure, in and out of St James’ Hospital in Leeds, he hated this! Sadly, Tom passed away of renal failure, diabetes, and sepsis at St James’ on 23rd August aged 31.

“We miss him so much, every minute of the day and YES, it did happen to him. So please, don’t forget to take your insulin, eat sensibly, and live your lives to the fullest, you only have one!

“The one thing Tom asked me and his brother Joe to do, was to make a difference and hopefully we have done that!” – Gerry Robertson, mum of Thomas.

Gerry’s wish was for these donations to be directly used for the fun support and education of our families. See below to understand what Gerry’s donations have gone towards and how they have made an impact to both our patients and colleagues.

Bradley Wood Activity Day 

Bradley Wood is a Campsite and Activity Centre set in the heart of West Yorkshire. They offer a huge range of onsite activities including their recently added zip line and challenge valley.

Our Children’s Diabetes Team arranged an activity day for our patients aged 10-14 and colleagues. Activities our patients took part in included high ropes, climbing, archery and fire building. This gave our patients a chance to bond as well as time to support each other if need be.

Align with Gerry’s wish, the team wanted to create a fun day where patients could relax whilst enjoying a day out. The group finished the day with pizzas!

Patient Parties - 

On Monday 19th December 2022, the Children’s diabetes Team held a Festive Party for all patients’ families to attend at Elland Cricket Club. The Diabetes Team wanted to make the party as fun as possible with lots of activities, raffles and of course, face painting.

This party, as well as the Summer 2023 party, gave all patients a chance to meet each other and to link together for emotional support, create enriching relationships with our colleagues in a non-hospital environment and to have fun!

Education –

Along with fun activities for our patients, we have been able to use Gerry’s donations to fund Hypo Kits - these are used to treat very low blood sugar. The Diabetes Team set up two training days, one at Calderdale Royal Hospital and another at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary where they used these resources to educate staff at local junior schools.

30 schools attending the training days for care plan management and diabetes support. The idea behind the training was to empower and support staff at local schools to enable them to help our patients in their respective schools.

Here are a few quotes from individuals who attended the training day:

“Really informative and presented in an accessible fashion.”

“Getting to use the equipment for type 1 diabetes was really helpful.”

“The team was full of lovely people who were really helpful and approachable.”

Thomas and Gerry received such brilliant care from our Children’s Diabetes Team which encouraged Gerry to give back and to keep Thomas’ memory alive. We would like to say a special thanks to all our amazing colleagues who work hard day in and day out.

We would like to say a huge thanks to Gerry, each donation Gerry and her family have made has really made a huge difference to our patients and colleagues and we couldn’t be anymore grateful!!