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Manchester Foundation
Trust Charity

International Women's Day - Roxy Afzal

Roxy Afzal
Wednesday 01st March 2023

On Wednesday, 8th March 2023, International Women’s Day is marked across the world and Manchester Foundation Trust Charity is joining in the campaign. The day encourages women to campaign for, and imagine, a world of gender equality free from stereotypes and discrimination and this year’s theme is “equity”.

This year we’re featuring two stories including that of Roxy Afzal, who has given us some inspirational tips for fundraising, which she did during her spare time off from being one of our Saint Mary’s Hospital nurses.

Below is our interview with Roxy. You can read our other International Women’s Day interview with Professor Charlotte Skitterral here

Roxy, you’re in the neonatal team. Can you tell us a little bit about your job?

I joined Saint Mary’s Hospital’s NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) in 2015 after moving over from school nursing. It has been such an amazing service to be part of as there are so many opportunities to progress. I hadn’t worked with neonates before I started here but I love working with our families and the science behind the neonatal treatments is so interesting.

After working in NICU for a while I did some additional training and I am now an Advanced Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. This means I work with medical teams and accompany consultants on ward rounds in the morning. We look at how the babies are doing and adjust their treatment plans according to what their needs are.

I can be called to deal with emergencies, such as deliveries where a baby might have run into problems or mum is unwell.

I now also train junior nurses and doctors and have started getting involved in research studies to improve safety and treatment. I’m mostly at Saint Mary’s at Wythenshawe now, although I started off at Saint Mary’s Hospital on Oxford Road.

I love working with our families and explaining their baby’s treatment to them and helping them through what can be a very difficult time. I also love seeing our babies go home and when the families bring them back when they’re older to show us how well they’re doing. That is so rewarding.

There is definitely never a dull moment in this line of work. That’s why I really enjoy it.

Roxy (middle) with her colleagues Liz Ribchester (left) and Britney Heap (right) Roxy (middle) with her colleagues Liz Ribchester (left) and Britney Heap (right). Picture taken 2017.

Tell us about fundraising for our Charity.

I did a hula-hooping challenge when I started working in NICU. I had a few friends who liked hula-hooping too and we’d done a few classes and thought it was quite fun and a great way to stay fit.

I knew we needed some new pieces of equipment for the ward so I asked the Charity if a hula-hooping challenge had been done before. Donna from the Charity laughed at me and said “no”.

There were three of us on the day itself – myself, Josie Salmon and Britney Heap. My colleague Liz Ribchester joined us in the training but unfortunately couldn’t be there on day. We chose International Women’s Day (2017) and did it outside the hospital so we had plenty of room. The challenge was 8 hours long – we were allowed breaks but there had to be one of us hula-hooping at all times.

Some colleagues helped us by taking collection buckets round and it was nice that so many people were able to see us at the front of the hospital in the gardens. Even better that we were quite lucky with the weather!

Roxy Afzal, Britney Heap and Josie Salmon Roxy Afzal, Britney Heap and Josie Salmon
Did you enjoy coming up with your own idea for fundraising?

The practice sessions we had were really fun and a great way of spending time with work friends outside of work. It also helped build our confidence as well, which was another great reason for choosing to do the event on International Women’s Day. It was also apt because of course Saint Mary’s Hospital is known for being the women’s health hospital, alongside the other services it provides.

We were quite on show and drawing a lot of attention to ourselves with our outfits so shining that spotlight on the hospital and the Charity was great and a real confidence boost.

What advice would you give to people wanting to do something to raise money for one of our hospitals?

The Charity Team was so incredibly helpful and they’re able to supply lots of ideas for you to get started. So, my first piece of advice would be to get a fundraising pack and check out their website. Also don’t forget to register your fundraising with them.

I’d also say that it’s important you choose something you’ll enjoy, but if you want it to be a challenge you need to push yourself. I already loved hula-hoop but of course I’d never done it for 8 hours before!

Some people take on 10K runs and marathons and obviously that’s really great. But if that’s not your sort of thing, or you find that quite intimidating, don’t be afraid to come up with your own idea. It really helps if you already enjoy the activity like I did. Don’t tell yourself you have to stick to traditional things, or things you’ve seen other people do – there are lots of great ways to raise money.

If you do pick something that’s personal to you, you’re more likely to stick with it and enjoy it. It might also open up opportunities for you. For me it was a nice way of getting my colleagues involved and doing something together outside of work.

Inspired by Roxy? Check out some of our helpful fundraising hints and tips here. Don’t forget to tell us what you’re up to and register your fundraising here.

L-R Britney Heap, Liz Ribchester, Roxy Afzal and Josie Salmon Practise session before the big day

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