On Thursday 24th May the shipping industry will hold its first industry wide trading day, when companies and individuals from across the shipping community will raise vital funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital by chartering, insuring and filling a virtual ship, The M/V OSCAR. The money raised will help to fund a Seas and Oceans themed floor at the hospital, where clinical investigations will take place for children with heart and lung conditions.
The inaugural OSCAR Trading Day is part of the OSCAR (Ocean and Shipping Community Advancing Children’s Health and Research) campaign. The campaign was the inspiration of Phil Parry, Chairman of Spinnaker Consulting Ltd, whose son Oscar received lifesaving treatment at Great Ormond Street Hospital. To date the campaign has raised £400, 000 and it is hoped that this trading day will help to raise another £100, 000 to reach the campaign’s £500, 000 target.
On the trading day, broking houses, insurers, the legal industry and individuals from across the sector will be encouraged to go online and ‘fill’, ‘insure’ and ‘charter’ the virtual ship by making donations. The Good Ship OSCAR will be docked at www.oscartradingday.org and it is hoped that as well as raising funds, the vessel will carry the word of the OSCAR campaign across the oceans.
Phil Parry explained, “Having worked in the shipping industry over the past 20 years I saw an opportunity to bring the shipping community together to raise funds for the vital work of Great Ormond Street Hospital and UCL Institute of Child Health. I know the fantastic work of the hospital first-hand as they saved my son Oscar’s life, and am delighted that the OSCAR campaign canunite us in helping to improve the lives of some of the world’s sickest children.”
Tim Johnson, Executive Director at Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity said, “We are hugely grateful to Phil for setting up the OSCAR campaign, and really hope that companies and individuals from across the shipping community will come together for the OSCAR Trading Day to raise vital funds that will enable us to help even more of the sickest children from across the UK, and even the world.”
The OSCAR Campaign was inspired by the story of Phil Parry’s son Oscar, who was treated over several years at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Oscar was diagnosed with leukaemia on his third birthday and had to undergo a course of chemotherapy over three years. He was then diagnosed with a second leukaemia, which could only be treated with a bone marrow transplant. The day that he was finally due to go home, doctors discovered that the leukaemia had returned even more aggressively and he needed a second transplant. He was able to return home just after Christmas but was soon rushed back to Intensive Care in hospital where he suffered 5 brain haemorrhages. At several points, Phil and his wife Yvonne were told that Oscar would die and had only hours to live. Eventually, Oscar’s life was saved by the team at Great Ormond Street after he was lucky enough to receive a ground-breaking stem cell transplant (his third transplant) that had never been carried out before in the UK. He will celebrate his 13th birthday this summer.
Phil Parry is a former shipping lawyer and Chairman and co-founder of shipping recruitment specialists Spinnaker Consulting Ltd. Phil says: “I really believe that there is an opportunity for those of us in the International Shipping Community to come together in support of a cause that, although not directly related to our industry, could affect any one of us”.
Great Ormond Street is one of the world’s leading children’s hospitals and home to the broadest range of dedicated, children’s healthcare specialists in the UK. Many of the children who visit the hospital have rare, complex and life-threatening illnesses and Great Ormond Street is their last hope for successful treatment.
Despite the world class credentials of the hospital, some of the facilities are old, cramped and no longer fit for purpose. To address this problem, the hospital is currently undergoing a major redevelopment programme to update its wards and facilities. A new hospital building is due to open this summer and will transform the patient experience providing seven floors of modern inpatient wards, state-of-the-art operating theatres and enhanced diagnostic and treatment facilities.
In order to help children and families navigate through the building, each floor will have a natural world theme, from Living in the Seas and Oceans on the lower ground floor, through to Living in the Sky at the top floor. Fittingly, all funds raised through the OSCAR Campaign will benefit the seas and oceans themed floor in the new building.
Great Ormond Street is the largest centre for children with heart problems and one of the largest paediatric respiratory care programmes in the country. However, the world class cardiac and respiratory teams have to work in some of the most difficult and cramped facilities in the hospital. The seas and oceans themed floor will make a huge difference, housing a Clinical Investigations Unit where three vital services can be provided without the children needing to be admitted as inpatients; Cardiac Day Care, an Echo and ECG Unit and a Lung Function Unit. This will radically overhaul the current facilities to provide modern, spacious and welcoming areas for children and their families and enable the hospital to treat more children and give researchers and clinical staff the resources they need to develop new treatments.