Thank you

They say that the recession is affecting charitable giving.

We say, have you met the readers of the British Medical Journal.

Over the last two months, a stationer’s rainbow of envelopes has greeted our mornings and a rush of online donations have cheered our afternoons (sometimes we actually cheered!)

Generous readers have raised more than £26,000 for Lifebox.

Rwanda_oximeter training

That’s more than 160 pulse oximeters for hospitals in low-resource settings currently delivering surgery without this essential monitoring.  That’s spare probes to extend the life-saving lifespan of the oximeters, and training for anaesthesia providers to ensure that the equipment is used to its fullest, essential function.

We are enormously grateful to everyone who gave – familiar friends from the previous year’s campaign, new names we are delighted to get to know, and every modest Anonymous in between, to whom we are immodestly thankful.

We’re equally grateful to the BMJ for this opportunity.  We’ve worked hard with staff at the journal to show you why your contribution is needed, and what your generosity allows us to do.

BMJ_landing page_screenshot_thanks BMJ

You’ve helped us effectively turn the lights on for anaesthesia providers in Togo, with a donation of 113 oximeters – enough for every operating theatre in the country:

“Before he had a pulse oximeter he felt like an airplane pilot without a radar,” our colleague explained of one of the nurse anaesthetists.  “Now he has an oximeter he has a radar; now he can see where he is going.”

You’ve helped strengthen communities, given medical anaesthetists in El Salvador the opportunity to practically support their technician colleagues across the country, making anaesthesia safer for everyone.

Oximetry_training_Rwanda

In the last two months we’ve explored a rationale for pulse oximetry that spans decades, from “another preventable perioperative death in a hospital in central Africa in 1986” without monitoring, to an operation in the same country more than 20 years later where a pulse oximeter from Lifebox directly saved a life.

Experts have taken us behind the scenes to the frustratingly full-and-wrongly-stocked store cupboards at low-resource setting hospitals, and donors and recipients have taken us cross-continents, showing how directly and immediately your donation can make a difference.

Unused hospital equipment West Africa

Every single feature, podcast and blog from the campaign is available here on our website.  We hope you’ll take a moment to browse, and join us in marveling at how widespread and complex the surgical safety crisis can be, and at how many incredible individuals are fighting to make a difference.

We hope you’ll stay tuned this year to see what happens next!

With sincere thanks from everyone at Lifebox.

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Honestly, people in love.  

They glow.  And they’re so happy all the time.

(c) This Sweet Love Photography

We might just find it annoying, if people in love weren’t so beautifully generous in their joy!

Three happy couples, six friends of Lifebox, have taken a day that is supposed to be all about them and made it about the difference they can make to other people, by putting the Lifebox surgical safety mission on their wedding registry.

“Your presence, love, and support are the most meaningful gifts we could ever hope to receive,” wrote University of California, San Francisco anesthesiology resident Kirsten Rhee, and her fiancé-now-husband Rob Steffner.  And of course they meant it, but…

“…if you do choose to give, one option is to donate on our behalf to Lifebox. The global surgical and perioperative burden of disease is too often neglected by the international public health community. However, Lifebox is one organization that we believe is making significant in-roads by supporting creative and sustainable solutions to a problem that does not get the exposure or support that it deserves.”

Kristen Dowling and Austin Enright, an American business major and a Canadian medic felt the same way.

“We look at it like this,” explained Kristen (avert your eyes from the glow).  “We’ve all had times in our lives when things are good, and we’ve all had times in our lives when things aren’t.  We’re so fortunate to have an amazing support system to celebrate with us in the good and help out in the bad.  At this time of celebration, we thought it would be great to share our support system with those that are in need.”

Louise Finch, a British anaesthetist, has seen that need first hand.  She was part of the very first Lifebox training and distribution workshop in Uganda, July 2011, and spent three months criss-crossing the country at rickety speed to ensure that all 80 recipients of Lifebox pulse oximeters were successfully using the machines six months later.

“Louise has first hand experience of how much the anaesthetic providers value these oximeters and the huge impact they have on patient safety,” wrote her fiance, Andy Bates.  “When we started planning our wedding we realised that we had everything we needed but that some of our friends and family might still want to give something to mark the occasion. We thought that making our guests aware of Lifebox offered a positive solution.”

All of us at Lifebox are touched, grateful and frankly giddy that at such a personal time in their lives, these couples are entrusting us to mark the occasion by making a direct difference to the quality and safety of patient lives worldwide.  Without getting mushy, we think that’s a fine testament to love.

A mother watches her child, prepped for surgery and safely monitored, at a hospital in Ethiopia.

“I can’t imagine knowing that your child (family member/friend) is sick and instead of hoping that the surgery works, you also have to hope that the surgery is safe,” said Kristen.  “Lifebox, through their extensive research and amazing reach within the medical community, helps to make surgeries safer.  It’s as simple as that.”

Participants at a Lifebox workshop in Mbarara, Uganda last year

Thank you from all of us at Lifebox.  And congratulations!