The Zaky<sup>®</sup> Fundraiser for NHS Queen Charlotte and Chelsea Hospital, London, UK

by K. Gill, London UK

Collectively, our relationship with NHS Queen Charlotte's Hospital, London, UK began a decade ago.  We have been cared for in each department the hospital has. We have witnessed and experienced immense joy and unexplainable tragedy. Having seen the tremendous staff work tirelessly across the hospital, we have made efforts over the years to offer our support. 

This year we contacted the Neonatal Department to see if there was any fundraising requirements, and were told that they were in need of some of The Zaky HUG® s aka Zaky HANDs. The Department's stock was getting depleted and urgently needed replacing. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic their budget is restricted to emergency items only.  So they told us they'd like it if we could possibly look into getting these for the babies.

We thought we could simply order the Zaky online and get the job done, however surprisingly there is no UK stockist. So, they have to be shipped from the manufacturer in the USA.  When we tried to order the product we realised that the cost of shipping to the UK was a massive issue and meant that the more we spent on shipping the less product we could purchase.  We accepted the situation for what it was and did not let that stand in our way to give this job a real go. 

We set up a crowdfunding page on Just Giving, we lobbied friends, parents from our children's schools, posted on various Public Facebook pages, joined groups to raise awareness of our fundraising initiative, posted on Twitter and generally let folk know how they could help babies and their families, most of whom are living so close to the wire, by getting them the Zaky resources. People heard, some we knew, others we did not, and they certainly helped, a lot!

Each email informing us that someone had donated was thrilling, the messages of support for our work, and all the sums donated were amazing. 

One of the most heartwarming and fortunate events was the unexpected news from The Zaky Team and Yamile Jackson, letting us know that The Zaky CARES® Program was offering to donate the shipping fees (shipping, customs, VAT and insurance) on behalf of Zachary if we were to meet our target. This changed our scenario significantly, as now we could literally buy all we could raise money for! Stunned with this generosity we excitedly shared this news on social media and everywhere else we could think of. 

Onwards we went, humbly requesting any donation, no matter how small, towards meeting this target.  

We updated all on our milestones on our JustGiving page, Facebook, Twitter, text, email and within 2 months we appeared to have made enough noise as we achieved our goal! 

On 9 September 2021, 14 Zaky Hugs (7 pairs) were gratefully received by the Matron and Neonatal Staff at the Neonatal Department of NHS Queen Charlotte and Chelsea Hospital, London, UK. The costs associated with the shipping, customs, VAT and insurance were all graciously donated by The Zaky CARES Program.

Thank you Yamile, The Zaky Team and everyone who supported and donated their money. The babies and parents now have this incredible resource to comfort and assist them in their journey all THANKS TO YOU!

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