It's not everyday one cycles from London to Paris. But that's exactly what Alison Marston and other keen cyclists from 60 different charities did to raise funds over three and a half days. They managed an astonishing ?160,000 in total. Alison herself raised ?2000 (Rs 224,859) from friends and relatives supporting her sponsored bike ride. The donations went to Burns Violence Survivor Nepal (BVSN) and will be used for the care of burn patients in Bir Hospital and other government hospitals.
"It got extremely tiresome at times," Alison confesses. "I thought only Nepal had hills, apparently England does too." But the spirit of her friends back in Bir Hospital kept her going.
Alison has been working for the Burns Unit in Bir Hospital since 2001. Patients from all over the country throng the unit for its exceptionally inexpensive treatment. "It's generally marginalised people, mostly women, who come," Alison explains, adding that there are many cases of attempted suicide or domestic violence. Had it not been for the services Bir Hospital provides, the dressing, nursing and medication required to treat burns would have been prohibitively expensive for these patients. Also, the hospital provides the patients with protein-rich meals free of cost. The people who come here are usually so poor the entire family shares the free meal.
Unfortunately, the country's premier government hospital has been without a much-needed plastic surgeon for four years. This means burn victims, without the surgery needed to treat deeper wounds, not only heal more slowly
but may also end up becoming disabled or disfigured.
With Alison's help, Acid Survivors Trust International (ASTI) is willing to train surgeons for the Burns Unit in Bir hospital. ASTI is a UK-based charity that recruits teams of volunteer doctors to provide medical, surgical, and other forms of professional assistance to doctors in developing countries.
If you would like to help improve the condition of burn patients in Bir Hospital, please contact [email protected], as the hospital "desperately needs help".