The Somerville Foundation’s Radio 4 Appeal

Today, there are over 250,000 adults who were born with a heart condition (CHD) living in the UK. Hospital stays, repeated medical procedures, changes in health and uncertainty about the future all have an impact on those diagnosed with CHD, and it’s natural to have strong feelings in response to health challenges.

Speaking in a Radio 4 Appeal recently, renowned British athlete Roger Black MBE shares how life with a congenital heart defect can affect your mental health, and what he learned from talking to heart patient Izzy Oag and our Development Director Nicola Graves.

He also talks about how the free confidential helpline, specialist mental health services, and peer-support groups provided by The Somerville Foundation ensure that patients like Izzy don’t have to face this on their own.

Through the generosity of Radio 4’s loyal listeners vital funds will go towards helping improve the emotional wellbeing and mental health of adult CHD patients.

Roger Black agreed to send a hand-written thank you card to anyone who donates £500 or more.

Roger Black

“The physical symptoms can be challenging, but so is the feeling that you are living on borrowed time. It can be a daily battle for those who’ve been diagnosed to maintain their physical and mental health.”

➤   Listen to Roger Black speaking about how The Somerville Foundation is helping to transform lives.

“The days when I’d leave the house would send me into a spiral of worry, worry that people could see into my chest. The mirror was a place of sadness as I spent my days staring at the site of where there would soon be a scar. My body didn’t feel like mine, I had been invaded – I had been shattered. I was lucky enough to speak to someone who reassured me that she felt how I do…Talking is definitely a healer and the mind is a very powerful thing.”

Read Izzy’s story.

Somerville Foundation

“I went from loving being independent at university to moving back home and totally reliant on my family…The Somerville Foundation has helped me remember I was not alone at a very low point during my life. I was so incredibly lucky to have a wonderful, supportive family around me but there are some things they couldn’t understand. Knowing that other people who I’d never met before knew my struggle and got through it was such a comfort to me.” 

Read Emily’s story.

“I was diagnosed with a heart defect at birth. I felt alone, scared, broke and my mental health was fragile to say the least – until I discovered The Somerville Foundation. Through them I met people who shared my condition and from there, I had a network of people who understood me. Quite possibly that network and support have saved my life. Now, 10 years on, I am happy, healthy and a contribution to society through my work helping people in the general population with their health.”

Read Adam’s story.

Patient: Adam Stevens

“As loving and as supportive as my wife is, she doesn’t understand what it feels like to live with CHD or the toll it takes – but why would she? She recognises when I am anxious but is not trained or equipped to offer anything other than kind words and to shoulder the day-to-day burdens when I’m feeling particularly anxious….The Somerville Foundation allows me to vent my feelings and frustrations and share my experiences and coping strategies with others who require support.”

Read David’s story.

What is the Radio 4 Appeal?

The Radio 4 Appeal is a weekly three-minute programme highlighting the work of a charity and appealing for donations to support its activities.

It is a fantastic opportunity to highlight the work of The Somerville Foundation to the BBC’s audience, and to raise money to help support adult CHD patients.

Our Appeal has now ended but you can still listen to The Somerville Foundation’s Radio 4 Appeal

Listen Here

“The contemplation of heart surgery had the effect of me focusing on my own mortality. I was convinced that the operation would be unsuccessful and lead to my early demise. That had a profoundly depressing effect on me and impacted on my family and my relations with them….The Foundation is a constant source of advice and information. Being a part of it gives ready access to those with similar conditions and allows for a practical exchange of experience.”

Read Roderick’s story.

“I think I should have been taught ways to express my distress. But, the truth is no one really knew that at the time. Everyone who cared was just muddling along doing their best for me, and keeping themselves together. You just get on with it when you don’t have a choice.”

Read Liza’s story.

“I get very anxious about my care and The Somerville Foundation helped when my specialist at Plymouth retired. We now have a lovely person who is back seeing me regularly which helps. However, the biggest help is contact with others who understand how life is for us. Until I found them about 20 years ago, I was a very lonely island.”

Read Susan’s story.

Somerville Foundation Appeal

How We Help

Free Confidential Helpline

Peer-Support Networks

Specialist Mental Health Services

A gift of £25 would fund a place for one person at a peer-support meet-up, helping heart patients manage their heart condition and conquer depression and anxiety.

Do something remarkable. Help us make a difference.

Please donate to the The Somerville Foundation

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