minor (corporate social) responsibility


As Christmas approaches, and individuals cram on to Oxford Street to make the most of the Black Friday sales, the corporate world turns its mind to charities which could benefit from corporate social responsibility programmes.

BEYOND is (loud and) clear about where we are sending our donation this year – to the St Mary’s More Smiles Appeal, to raise £2m for the redevelopment of the paediatric intensive care unit.

Earlier this year, my son was rushed into A & E. After 3 days of tests, I was taken into a side room. I felt that lurch in the pit of my stomach, the same as when you watch it on a weepy Hollywood movie but unlimited times worse. I was told that my son’s symptoms were ‘extremely concerning’ and that, even worse, his condition was so rare that the doctors found themselves in uncharted waters with no history of treatment. My son was no. 1 priority on the ward, despite one neighbour suffering with a brain tumour, and the other meningitis: things were serious.

The doctors told us they would therefore ‘chuck every resource at it’. While we contemplated the unthinkable, they rallied every species of specialist. My son went through treatments and procedures I would not wish on my worst enemy but that varied and extensive team of professionals made my son better. To us parents, they pulled off nothing short of a miracle. I have written a thank you letter to over 40 doctors and nurses in St Mary’s – and those are just the ones we saw and whose names we remembered.

I could draw comparisons between the different specialists, each an expert in their field, coming together to bring about 1 diagnosis in the same way that we, in our field, bring together all the elements to make a successful event. But somehow the comparison is crass and inadequate.

So I will leave it that if you have corporate social responsibility budget unallocated, please think about St Mary’s Paediatric Intensive Care Unit.

We were one of the lucky ones. The fact that a bereavement room is part of the refurbishment goes to show that not all are.