Posted on: 01 Sep 2021
An appeal to raise money for research at Nottingham’s hospitals, into the debilitating effects of Long Covid, has reached its target of £50,000 in just six months.
We launched our Long Covid Research Appeal in February 2021, with the aim of raising £50,000 to help fund research into the effects and treatment of the condition.
Research is being led by a team of scientific experts in Nottingham, the results of which will be shared nationally to help improve treatment for patients experiencing Long Covid across the UK.
Money raised through the charity appeal, which was also supported by the University of Nottingham alumni community and friends, will be used to help fund a dedicated Long Covid Research Fellow, with access to state-of-the-art equipment to aid the research.
With one in five Covid-19 sufferers, equating to around 10,000 people in Nottinghamshire alone, experiencing Long Covid symptoms such as fatigue, chest pain, memory loss and depression, more research into the treatment of the condition is vital.
Ian Pointer, a Royal Mail postman in Carlton, was hospitalised with Covid-19 in March 2020. He went on to develop Long Covid, and is still suffering from symptoms 17 months later. In March 2020, Ian was rushed to the Queen’s Medical Centre by ambulance after struggling to breathe at home and was ventilated and placed in an induced coma for four weeks, during which time his kidneys failed and he developed septicaemia.
After a long and difficult battle with the virus Ian eventually returned home, but has continued to suffer Long Covid symptoms such as fatigue, lethargy and mood swings.
Ian explained: “When I was discharged from hospital I thought I was over the worst of it and I could get back to normal, but far from it. The loss of physical fitness is one thing, but the mental health issues, mood swings, the inability to let small things go, the lack of interest in things – these are things that are new to me.”
He and his colleagues at Royal Mail have been raising money to support the Long Covid Research Appeal, and helped the appeal reach its £50,000 target. Ian said: “I’m absolutely delighted that our fundraising has helped achieve this fundraising target in such a short space of time. I think more research into Long Covid is vital, as we don’t yet fully understand the condition or how best to treat it. I hope that this funding will help develop better treatments for other people with Long Covid."
Professor Charlotte Bolton, who is leading the Nottingham MRI study, explained: “The study involves assessing patients in an MRI scanner while they are resting. We image their muscles alongside the heart, lungs and brain. Then, quite uniquely, we are exercising the patient within the MRI scanner – this involves them using a stepper device to mimic walking, so that we can study how the muscles and the organs work during and after exercise. Alongside all of this, we are studying how strong the leg muscles are and how people process food to use as a fuel within the body.
“All of this helps us understand why everyday exercise, like simply walking around the house, can be so fatiguing for some patients after Covid-19. We want to understand what’s happening inside the body and the processes, so we can then understand what treatment is needed in order to help patients recover back to full health. This is a very detailed study but the findings will inform a much wider group of people with persisting symptoms.
“This kind of study is not being done elsewhere – we are lucky to have state-of-the-art, unrivalled MRI imaging and access to the scanner and techniques in Nottingham. This study brings expertise across a number of research groups in the University together in order to deliver the latest science and work to advance clinical care. The need is most definitely now for answers for all those with persisting symptoms. With this amazing appeal and thanks to all the fundraising, that becomes a very realistic target in the near future.”
Barbara Cathcart, Chief Executive of Nottingham Hospitals Charity, said: “We are so proud that local clinicians and scientists in Nottingham are leading the research into Long Covid, and very pleased that our Charity is able to support these studies.
“We are extremely thankful that the local community has come together to raise money for this crucial research, which will ultimately help tens of thousands of people from Nottinghamshire and beyond.”