Covid survivor raises money to help Royal Cornwall Hospital

From Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust:
When Robin Hanbury-Tenison was in the darkest moments of his Covid19 journey with less than 5% chance of survival, his family were told to prepare for the worse. It was perhaps a hopeful thought that he would recover and be back home let alone taking on Cornwall’s highest peak.

Robin Hanbury Tenison

Robin, an 84 year old Explorer from Cornwall, spent 5 weeks in a coma at Derriford Hospital after contracting Covid19,

“I was on a ventilator, experienced multiple organ failure, dialysis, a tracheotomy and severe sedation delirium. When all hope was lost, when family and friends feared the worst, I had a breakthrough moment. Taken by the nurses, my guardian angels, to Derriford’s rehabilitation garden, I felt the warmth of the sun on my face and I knew that I would live,” explains Robin.

Robin, who has travelled the world’s rainforest and deserts and helped start the rainforest protection movement leading scientists on an expedition to Borneo, believes that his time in the healing garden was a game changer and started his road to recovery,

“Nature does make a difference. I think every hospital should have a healing garden. I believe this one saved my life. Now having beaten the virus, I want to ensure that as many patients as possible can experience the healing powers of fresh air and nature, and to raise money for more ICU rehabilitation gardens, starting with Cornwall,” adds Robin.

Lisa Niemand, Matron for the Critical Care Unit at Royal Cornwall Hospital, emphasises the potential impact of a healing garden for patients in Cornwall,

“A rehab garden will be life changing for our Critical care patients. Early rehabilitation in critical illness has shown to be incredibly important. Inside an ITU patients can lose all sense of time and place as day blends into night and they stare at the same 4 walls for weeks on end.

A rehab garden will be a place for healing and rehabilitation, not only physical but for the mental and emotional self too, smelling different scents and the sound of the breeze through the leaves. It gives people a grounding and a reminder of what they have to aim for to keep them pushing through their recovery and rehabilitation.

There is no truer saying than “the Healing power of nature” and no more so than in Cornwall where our patients are used to the outdoor life and being surrounded by this beauty daily. We want to make sure being in critical care doesn’t take that opportunity away from our patients for long.”

Robin and his family have made a pledge to raise £100,000 to help Royal Cornwall Hospital, the county’s only acute hospital, to create their own garden with a contribution also due to Derriford Hospital in recognition of there are of Robin.

After spending months rehabilitating, from first steps with a zimmer frame to building on distance and strength, Robin will climb Cornwall’s highest mountain, Brown Willy, on the 3rd of October. A date that marks exactly 5 months after he was discharged from the Intensive Care Unit in Plymouth, barely able to walk.

Anyone wanting to support Robin’s fundraising is asked to go to to make a contribution.

Meanwhile, the rate of Covid-19 infection in the south west is increasing, with the regional “R” number now probably higher than 1, according to government figures.

The Royal Cornwall Hospital has this week recorded its first Covid-19 death since 29th June.  The patient died on Tuesday but was not recorded until yesterday afternoon (Thursday.)

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