Twenty employees from Solvay Oldbury, plus their families and friends, have put their best foot forward for sick kids needing brain surgery, raising over £6,000 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity by taking part in a charity walk in Cornwall. 

Solvay is a global leader in Materials, Chemicals and Solutions. Each year the Oldbury office plans a walk in aid of a local charity and in the past have visited the north of the country and Wales. This time the colleagues came together in Cornwall to take on a 28-mile coastal walk. The team decided to choose Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity as their nominated cause as employee Helena Hutchins, a scientist, has a personal connection to the hospital. 

Helena’s brother, Ross, was born with Sticklers Syndrome, a connective tissue disorder that can affect sight and sound. Helena’s brother was treated at Birmingham Children’s Hospital throughout his adolescence and underwent many surgeries. Helena was delighted at the chance to give back and saw this walk as an opportunity to rally her colleagues and do something amazing for other sick kids.  

The challenge covered 28 miles from Lizard Point, at the Southern tip of the Lizard peninsula, to Marazion, which is further up the coastal path. The physical challenge was not an easy one - the walkers navigated ascents of 4,400 feet on one of the hottest days of the year - but the group persevered, as they had the motivation of others when things got tough. 

The team managed to raise over an amazing £6,000 for the charity. The donation will contribute to its iMRI Appeal which is raising £1.5 million to bring intraoperative MRI (iMRI) technology to this hospital, to help transform life-changing brain surgery for patients with brain tumours and epilepsy. 

Despite being one of the largest paediatric neurosurgical centres in the UK, Birmingham Children’s Hospital remains the only one without leading-edge intraoperative MRI technology. The hospital’s neurosurgeons currently rely on pre-operative images to identify tumours in a patient’s brain. An iMRI scanner will provide live, up-to-date information about the position of tumours in real time during procedures. 

Ian Fryer, site director at Solvay Oldbury, said: “Our thanks to everyone who undertook this challenging walkIt was long march, a very hot day, and a great achievement which raised a terrific amount of money, and more than a few blisters. We are so grateful to our colleagues, friends and family for donating towards our goal and helping to make a difference.” 

Jay Spragg, regional fundraiser at Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity said:This is an incredible amount to have raised, so I would like to say a massive thank you to all at Solvay Oldbury who took part and contributed.

“State-of-the-art intraoperative MRI technology will make such a big and positive difference to our patients. In many cases, the family and surgeon are immediately reassured the tumour has been removed, but ultimately it vastly reduces the need for a second operation, sparing patients and families from going through another lengthy surgical procedure. This fundraising takes us a few steps closer to reaching our target.”