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Carer of the Year Winner

Carer of the Year Award sponsored by First City Nursing
Awarded to either a professional or voluntary carer.

First City Nursing

The winner of the Carer of the Year award is Keith Southern

Keith SouthernMy husband Keith and I became guardians to two beautiful, bereaved teenagers at the end of 2016 - Having lost both their parents to cancer. Not only did Keith readily take on their care, helping them through their ongoing bereavement & loss, but also singlehandedly transforming their family home, enabling them to remain living there. A wish the children's parents had asked, and hoped would be possible. Keith and I married only 7 months before the children lost their second parent (their father). When Keith proposed to me, his intent was to promise, that he would be there for all of us, with love and commitment. A promise, that despite exhaustion and working long days, he has kept. Going beyond any expectations during that first difficult year, for the children and I.

I would like to nominate my husband, Keith, for the Carer of the Year Award. The list of his kindness, his support, his great family meals, the laughter, and his role in transforming the children into blossoming, confident, "can do" young people is endless. I feel he deserves recognition for the incredible security and comfort he brings to this new family. Keith also has 3 grown up daughters who adore him, plus 3-year-old Jay, his beloved, cheeky grandson who is the apple of his eye. Keith rarely thinks of his own needs and will put aside any leisure time in order to help others. For example, Christmas just gone, my best friend needed an early Christmas dinner due to her chemotherapy treatment falling in Christmas week, Keith cooked a beautiful Christmas meal for 21 friends and family. 

The children's mother was my identical twin sister, and their father my beloved brother in law. Keith never met my twin who died in 2010, but I know that they would have loved each other dearly. Keith supports the children and I in so many ways to be strong for our newfound future together. Always mindful of the children's whole development after losing both parents.

Our runner-up is Tracey Cullerne

Tracy is a Matron/Lead Nurse in our Oncology Department and she is amazing at her job, a great colleague and wonderful with our patients but also is really enthusiastic about enhancing the care we provide at our hospitals. She regularly goes above and beyond in her role - one example of this was recently she was responsible for attracting charitable funding to enable breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy (at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust hospital Cheltenham General) new scalp cooling therapy - this was thanks to a grant from the Walk the Walk charity. Scalp cooling is a simple treatment that can prevent hair loss caused by certain chemotherapy drugs. Chemotherapy works by targeting all rapidly dividing cells in the body. Hair is the second fastest dividing cell and this is the reason why many chemotherapy drugs cause alopecia. The hair follicles in the growth phase are attacked, resulting in hair loss approximately two weeks after the commencement of the chemotherapy treatment.

The damage that chemotherapy causes to the hair follicle can be alleviated by using scalp cooling, also known as the 'cold cap'. It works by reducing the temperature of the scalp by a few degrees immediately before, during and after the administration of chemotherapy. This, in turn, reduces the blood flow to hair follicles which may prevent or minimise the hair loss.

Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Oncology Lead Nurse Tracy Cullerne has been working alongside the charity and manufacturer Paxman to provide this service which started in May last year (2017) and is really making a difference to our patients lives.

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