Former England rugby league player and One Family ambassador, Dr Ikram Khan, joined the family of his teammate, Errol Johnson, to make a heartfelt donation to the hospital where Errol has been fighting COVID-19.
Errol, 51, has spent more than seven weeks at St James’s University Hospital, three of which were on an intensive care ward, where he was placed in a medically induced coma. With his discharge pending, Errol’s friends and family paid a visit to the hospital with his former teammate, Ikram Butt, to thank the medical team who looked after him.
In his capacity as ambassador for One Family, Ikram has been leading volunteer teams to deliver ‘Frontline Care Boxes’ to NHS staff across the country. Earlier this week, Ikram and Errol’s family dropped off the care boxes with Leeds Cares, the charity for Leeds Teaching Hospitals. The care boxes will be distributed to staff on the intensive care unit and the respiratory ward, where Errol is currently a patient.
The care boxes, initially conceptualised by a junior doctor for her colleagues, are designed to provide respite to NHS staff working long hours under stressful conditions. One Family have pledged to distribute at least 10,000 boxes nationwide and have on-boarded major brands including Reckitt Benckiser, who have donated over 75,000 units worth of products.
One Family ambassador Ikram Butt said: “Errol is part of the family; we’ve been friends for almost four decades! My brother is godfather to his daughter. So, there was no question about us showing up for him and cheering him on as he navigates his recovery. As someone who played professional rugby, Errol had all the attributes destined to make him a great player; intelligent, with electrifying pace, strength and vision. And this has translated into his personal life and how he deals with adversity.”
He added: “We are all so grateful to our NHS staff, working round the clock to save lives and help our loved ones recover from this deadly virus.”
Giles Fretwell, part of the fundraising team at Leeds Cares, said donations like these made a huge difference: “Our hospital staff are working so incredibly hard to look after everyone in their care. They do this without expecting anything in return, so it makes it even more special when people surprise them – making the effort to say thank you and provide a care package to brighten up their day.”
Ikram Butt added: “I am delighted to join Errol’s family to deliver these care packs to the heroes who looked after him, initiating a partnership between One Family and Leeds Cares, which will see hundreds of care packs delivered to hospitals across Leeds in the weeks ahead.”
If his condition continues to improve, Errol is expected to return home to his family next week, by which time he will have spent nearly two months in hospital.
About Leeds Cares
Leeds Cares is the official charity partner of Leeds Teaching Hospitals. We support NHS staff to deliver the best care for patients and their families, by raising funds for equipment, services, education and research.
Leeds Cares works collaboratively with all the hospitals across Leeds (including Leeds Cancer Centre, Leeds Children’s Hospital, St James’ University Hospital and Leeds General Infirmary) to identify charitable projects and causes.
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
About Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is one of the largest teaching hospitals in Europe, a regional and national centre for specialist treatment, a world-renowned biomedical research facility, a leading clinical trials research unit and also the local hospital for the Leeds community.
We contribute to life in the Leeds region, not only by being one of the largest employers with almost 18,000 staff, but by supporting the health and well-being of the community and playing a leading role in research, education and innovation.
We are rated as a good Hospital Trust by our regulators the Care Quality Commission.