The opportunity to be one of the first people to fly across the River Thames to the Houses of Parliament could be yours this December, and it’s for an excellent cause.
Evelina London, part of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, is holding a unique zip wire event on Friday, December 2 to raise money to build a dedicated Clinical Research Facility to improve treatments and cures for numerous conditions.
The 463-metre zip-wire route starts from the roof of St Thomas’ Hospital on the South Bank of the Thames over to Victoria Tower Gardens next to the Houses of Parliament, and participants will travel at speeds of up to 40mph.
The stunt was thought up by London Fire Brigade deputy assistant commissioner Andy Roe, whose nine-year-old son Zaki was treated at Evelina London for viral encephalitis – a rare infection that causes inflammation of the brain.
“My son might not be alive today if it weren’t for the NHS, especially Evelina London, so I wanted to find a way to thank the remarkable staff at this fantastic hospital,” he said.
“During the many hours I spent by my son’s bedside, I realised that I could use my specialist skills to rig up a zip wire from the roof of the hospital across the Thames and that perhaps people would pay for the chance to speed across it like a firefighter.”
The event is also part of London Fire Brigade’s 150th anniversary celebrations, so has double the significance for Mr Roe.
“I’ve got to warn you, this is not a trip for the faint-hearted, it will feel like you are flying directly into the Houses of Parliament,” he said.
“There is no other white knuckle ride like it in the world.”
Evelina London need £2.7 million to build their research facility, which will allow vital research for conditions including autism, epilepsy, congenital heart disease, kidney disease and allergies.
The children’s hospital is part of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and treats around 55,000 children a year, admitting young patients from all over south east England for highly specialist care.
Head of Evelina London’s allergy services Professor Gideon Lack hopes to use the new Clinical Research Facility to help prevent all food allergies occurring in children, along with other allergy-related diseases such as asthma and hayfever.
Professor Lack, who will be one of the lucky few going down the zip wire, said: “To be entirely honest I have a fear of heights, so I’m feeling a bit apprehensive, but I’m very excited about it.”
There are spaces for 20 of the hospital’s most dedicated supporters to each pledge £50,000 or more to take part in the event, and one space for a competition winner to take part.
For a chance to win a place, visit www.supportevelina.org.uk/zip to make a donation and enter the competition – the deadline is 4pm on Tuesday, November 22.
Featured image courtesy of Dun.can via Flickr, with thanks