Christmas is here again, and I am writing to you as President of the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund to ask you to join us in supporting even more doctors, students and their families in times of crisis in 2018.
Between lectures and clinics, I am often struck by the tragic circumstances that bring doctors to our door, and by the knowledge that many have struggled in isolation for long periods before asking for our help. We have seen a real surge in demand for our support – most notably with a 50% increase in grants awarded last year – and I hope that you can help us to deliver funding to those who most urgently need it.
We recently provided assistance to Naomi, a GP trainee aged 35, who overcame a stroke in her twenties only to become bed-bound by a severe viral infection, eventually requiring the use of a wheelchair. Her family struggled between financial pressures and the need to give her round-the-clock support.
Fortunately, the RMBF was able to help. We contributed towards the cost of an accessible extension to her property and extra space in which to charge her wheelchair. She told us that this support was a real lifeline.
—Naomi, RMBF beneficiary
My becoming dependent on others for all the basic activities of daily life has had massive effects on us. Your help has made such a huge difference – we can’t thank you enough.
Naomi is far from alone in seeking support at such a young age. The RMBF is seeing a dramatic rise in the number of medical professionals under the age of 40 needing our help following sickness or injury. As such, we are urgently adapting and broadening our support in response to rising need.
While it is difficult to hear stories of such hardship, I am always heartened and humbled to see how doctors come together in support of colleagues. The vast majority of our donations come from doctors and their families: from those who recognise how tough a career in medicine can be, and who want to ensure that every doctor has somewhere to turn when misfortune strikes.
As a safety net for doctors, the RMBF has delivered aid to medics with compassion and integrity for over 180 years, and in a time of increasing pressure on the profession, this is sorely needed. Please, if you are able, consider giving a gift to help doctors, medical students and their families in hardship. Your support really does mean the world to our beneficiaries.
I thank you sincerely for your time in reading this appeal.
Professor Dame Parveen Kumar DBE