Francesca Bertolina, a critical care and surgical physiotherapist, is running the virtual London Marathon this year to raise money for our charity.
The virtual London Marathon began last year as a result of Covid restrictions. It allows runners to take part in the event, and run the full distance, from anywhere in the world.
Francesca, who has worked at our Trust since 2018, is raising money specifically for rehab equipment in intensive care. She said: “Long stay critical care patients are often the ones needing the most rehab, and a range of things can affect them getting it.
“While some of those issues are hard to change, Iack of equipment is something I thought I could help with.”
Francesca is also keen to raise awareness for therapies within critical care. She added: “We might be seen as ‘just’ the physios, but I’ve come to realise we are the physios.
“We’re more involved than people might think, such as our respiratory rehab which involves helping patients wean off ventilators.
“On top of this we do ‘chest physio’, using a range of techniques to aid secretions clearance.”
Francesca explained why she chose the virtual London Marathon as her fundraising challenge: “Throughout the pandemic, the gyms – my greatest love – have been closed, but I had to do something to keep fit.
“My background in running is zero, I actually hate it with a passion! But I love setting myself goals and challenges, and I certainly think this is one for me.”
The ITU physiotherapist has been put through her paces training for the marathon, even running home from work at King George Hospital.
The race will take place on Sunday 3 October. If you would like to support Francesca, visit her fundraising page for more information.
Francesca said: “Even just £5 or £10 can go such a long way, and would mean so much to myself, my therapy team, and of course my Trust.”