Gerry and Pauline Smith with members of the stroke team web

Walking robotics appeal steps closer to target

We have received £150,000 from the Alan Miller Charitable Trust just weeks after launching our Walkerbot appeal.

We are fundraising for a state-of-the-art Walkerbot to help patients living with stroke relearn to walk by enabling them to take the 1,000’s of steps needed to allow their brains to rewire during rehabilitation. 

This specialist technology comes at a price, with the Walkerbot appeal needing to raise £365,000. But thanks to the Alan Miller Trust’s generous donation, we are closer to reaching our target for this life-changing piece of equipment.

The Alan Miller Charitable Trust was set up when Gerry and Pauline Smith’s friend, Alan Miller, passed away in 2018, aged 81. He was past President of the Westover & Bournemouth Rowing Club and a dedicated volunteer for Dorset Wildlife Trust and the National Trust on Brownsea Island. 

Alan left a large sum of money to charity in his will, naming Gerry and Pauline as the executors to distribute the money in his memory. After attending a launch event for the Walkerbot, Gerry and Pauline decided to support the charity’s appeal.

Pauline said: ‘A lot of our friends or people we know have had strokes. Alan was an incredible walker, he loved the outdoors and was a very caring person. The Walkerbot sounded like something he would support and it is going to help change the lives of thousands of people.

‘It has been incredible to support so many causes thanks to Alan and we’ve met some amazing people on our journey. It’s been an absolute joy doing this for our wonderful friend. Thank you to Clare Bland at Coles Miller Solicitors for guiding us and looking after the financial side of things.’

Dr Louise Johnson, Consultant Therapist in the stroke unit at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital, said: ‘We are so grateful to The Alan Miller Charitable Trust for this incredible donation and helping us almost hit our half-way point just two months in!

‘720 people are admitted to our hospital each year with stroke and the Walkerbot can even help those with no activity in their lower limbs. It’s a really clever piece of technology that moves a patient’s legs for them in a consistent pattern with help from robotics, a harness and a treadmill. It’s vital that patients practice movements to retrain the brain and the Walkerbot will help patients achieve the high intensity practice needed in a safe way.’ 

If this fundraising campaign is successful, the Walkerbot would be the only one of its kind in a NHS hospital in the Southern region.

For more information on the Walkerbot or to find out how you can support the appeal, visit BHCharity.org/walkerbot or call the Charity Office on 01202 705307.

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