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Simon’s lasting legacy for his mum will mean respiratory patients can breathe more easily

11 February 2015


Staff on Rochford Ward, home of the respiratory unit of Southend Hospital, were almost lost for words recently when they received the amazing donation.

A donation of 10 nebulisers, worth over £900, and a cheque for £700 that will mean patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) will no longer be short of breath.

That cheque will now be used to purchase three oxygen analyser machines, but none of this would have been possible without the driving force of Simon Dempsey and his fundraising efforts.

Simon, 38, from Southend, had a very personal reason for getting involved, fulfilling the wish of his mum who passed away late last year after being a patient on the ward.

He said: "I lost my mum, Irene Dempsey, late last year from a lung cancer illness. Mum was always a big fundraiser for others and planned to raise funds after getting out of hospital for some new nebulisers, as there was a shortage when she was on the ward.

"Unfortunately my mum didn't get to see her wish through so it was just the natural thing to do to try and fulfil her wish."

Simon runs a full time martial arts school, Southend Combat Academy in Grainger Road, and had no trouble enlisting the help of children from his Little Spartans mixed martial arts class, who completed a sponsored run they organised.

The youngsters, including Simon's own three children, completed three laps of a 3.2 mile circuit, including sprints up the cliff steps, and raised nearly £2,000 from friends and family. All the more impressive as some of them taking part were as young as six.

All the hard work and training paid off, as Simon explained: "This was not only enough for a couple of nebulisers, but enough for ten nebulisers and there was enough change to buy the oxygen analysers which there was also a shortage of. I really can't thank everyone involved enough for helping me full fill my mother's wishes, especially young Josh who not only lost his nan to a similar illness but for also being our top fundraiser."

Lisa Ward, lead respiratory nurse, said this generous donation would make a big difference. She said: "This equipment will enable us to continually monitor the exact amount of oxygen we give. The numbers of patients requiring this treatment increases hugely during the winter months and three extra analysers will make a real difference to our patients.

"These children are an inspiration and wanted to make a difference, and they really have.  All the nurses and doctors here would like to say a big thank you to each and every one of them."

Image:Children from Little Spartans stood with Rochford Ward staff and some of the donated nebulisers.