Former mayor Susan Pickett donates £7,000 to Grimsby's hospital
A FORMER mayor has donated nearly £7,000 to buy equipment for two wards at Grimsby's hospital that are "very close" to her heart.
Susan Pickett has given money and equipment to the orthopaedic ward and the kidney dialysis unit at the Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital.
The two wards, along with the Artie White Foundation, were the charities Mrs Pickett chose to raise money for during her mayoral year – and for good reason.
She and her husband Doug have first-hand experience of how difficult it can be to live with kidney problems after daughter Gemma had a kidney transplant in 1991, aged 7, as reported.
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She also worked on the orthopaedic ward for 11 years, before retiring when she became mayor.
Gemma went on to win gold medals in sprint events at the Transplant Games and is now a school nurse. In November, she gave birth to her first daughter, Lexie Wardle.
Mrs Pickett said: "If it hadn't been for kidney dialysis, I wouldn't have the beautiful granddaughter I have now and Gemma wouldn't have had the amazing life she has."
The kidney dialysis ward received portable DVD players, headphones, £100 worth of DVDs and special cushions for patients, some of whom spend four hours at a time on dialysis, up to three times a week.
"We had to take Gemma to Leeds three times a week and if my husband hadn't had his business, I don't know how we would have survived," recalled Mrs Pickett. "Not everyone is that lucky and you would be forced to live on benefits.
"Children still have to go to Leeds but for over-18s, having this dialysis unit on your doorstep would be a Godsend."
Renal nursing assistant Julie Bramley said: "We have been blessed with many donations over the years which really help us to improve patients' comfort while they are here."
Grimsby's B7 ward received a cheque for £5,000, which will be used to buy special reclining chairs, cushions and alarm systems to alert nurses when patients at risk of falling are standing up.
Mrs Pickett worked on the ward for 11 years until 2011.
She added: "Many of the patients are elderly and some are very confused and disorientated. It means staff have to give 24-hour care on top of dealing with the orthopaedic problems.
"I know just how hard the sisters on the ward work and if there is equipment that can make that job slightly easier, I want to do anything possible."
Debbie Carpenter, the orthopaedic unit manager, said: "We are very grateful for this money that will help us with our work to prevent falls, as well as deal with people's injuries. It will help us make patient care better and safer."