Two Hampshire crematoria have donated a total of £10,000 to Southampton Hospitals Charity in support of the Respiratory Care Fund at University Hospital Southampton which conducts vital research into sarcoidosis.
The money was raised through the metal cycling scheme at Test Valley and Wessex Vale Crematoria, which are operated by Westerleigh Group, the UK’s biggest independent owner and operator of crematoria and cemeteries.
With the consent of families, metals recovered during cremation are recycled and, every year, any money raised at each of the group’s 35 facilities nationwide is used to support local charities.
In the latest series of donations, a total of around £500,000 has been given by Westerleigh Group to more than 130 charities and organisations across the UK.
As part of this, Lisa Johnson, Wessex Vale site manager, and Rob Metcalf, Test Valley site manager, decided to make a joint donation to the specialist unit at the Hampshire hospital.
Rob said: “This is something that Lisa and I are both passionate about because, although sarcoidosis is quite rare, we’ve both had close family members who have suffered from the condition.
“It means a huge amount to both of us to be in a position of being able to donate this amount of money to something that is extremely close to our hearts.”
Sarcoidosis is a condition where cells in your body clump together to make small lumps called granulomas, which can develop in any part of the body, including skin, eyes, joints, heart, liver, spleen, muscles, the nervous system, nose and sinuses.
But it most commonly affects the lungs and lymph glands, which drain the lungs.
The precise cause of the condition is not known, although it is known that it is related to the immune system.
Lisa said: “I am very grateful for all the support that was given to a member of my family who had suffered from sarcoidosis, and I hope that this money will help go towards others who are affected by this condition.”
Jeneen Thomsen, Joint Interim Director at Southampton Hospitals Charity, said: “We’re so grateful to Test Valley and Wessex Vale Crematoria for their generous donation to our Respiratory Care Fund.
“It’s only through the vital support from our community that we’re able to enhance the care for our staff and patients, and this donation will go a long way in doing just that. We’re incredibly appreciative.”
One in five sarcoidosis patients develop scarring to their lungs, and the Respiratory Care Fund is being used to conduct research into this poorly understood aspect of the condition.
Scar-forming cells will be grown from sarcoid lung tissue to help better understand how they make scar tissue and how this process can be stopped.
Newly-developed techniques will be used to make a 3D scar as part of the study, which will provide new understanding of scarring mechanisms in sarcoidosis as well as helping to identify what treatment approaches might be effective.
Test Valley Crematorium is on the edge of Romsey and Wessex Vale Crematorium is just outside Southampton.
They deliver the highest standards and exceptional care to bereaved families through the provision of uniquely personal services set in beautiful surroundings.