Posted: 01.10.19 at 16:54 by The Editor
Chris Biddlecombe, District Nurse for the Out of Hours Service at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board has been crowned Health Hero for October for her dedication and commitment to not only her patients but to the fundraising she undertakes on a regular basis.
Chris works as a District Nurse in the Out of Hours Service, which covers Cardiff and the Vale from 8pm to 8am each day, and undertakes planned calls for urgent care during the night.
Chris said: “I’ve been a nurse for 34 years in total, working in Velindre and for Marie Curie during this time. I’ve been working in the community since 2003.Chris Bidd
“A typical shift for me starts at 8pm. I have planned calls throughout the night often visiting the same patients on a regular basis. If our team didn’t go and see them and provide the care we do, these patients would be in hospital.
''As a team, we do quite a lot of palliative care, administering medication to keep patients comfortable and set up equipment that helps them.
''We also troubleshoot equipment for wound care and feeds which might have gone wrong.
''We do get calls for things that aren’t urgent but we always do our best to attend or give telephone advice, sometimes it’s just about reassuring the patient or their family.
“I love my job because I enjoy working with the team, not just the nurses, but doctors and other agencies we work alongside.
“I really enjoy patient care especially looking after and keeping people in their own homes. When I started my career patients would have been in hospital for weeks and months at a time so it’s really lovely to keep people at home where they want to be.”
“I was thrilled to be nominated for health hero for my fundraising activities.
''Throughout my life I’ve always raised money for different causes. I’m very practical and a doer, taking opportunities to rise to challenges.
“I’ve always kept fit by doing one thing or another but things really changed last year when a great friend of mine lost her husband suddenly at the age of 50.
''She wanted an adventure to look forward to so I booked to go on a trek with her to the lost city of Macchu Piccu in Peru with the aim of raising money for Cancer Research Wales.
''When I started fundraising and training for it I had no idea that I would lose my own sister to cancer a few months before we set off (she died six months after diagnosis).
''So as you can imagine the trek took on a whole new light for me.
“We trekked for four days along the historic Inca Trail in the Andes, camping in the mountains for three nights. It’s easily the most challenging thing I have ever done, we set off at 5am every morning, returning to our camp by around 6pm at night.
“It was a very emotional for me because I carried a picture of my beloved sister next to my heart the whole way.
''The guide said to us, ‘When it gets tough think of why you’re doing it and how tough every day is for someone dying from cancer’, and this really motivated me and made me feel very humble.
“We had to raise £4,000 to go on this trip and amazingly I raised almost £5,000 – everyone was so generous. My colleagues in the Out of Hours service climbed Pen Y Fan with me as a training exercise and they all put in money towards the trek, even those who didn’t climb with me.
“As a trek group we raised over £124,000, with all money going towards helping cancer patients’ right here in Wales.Chris Bidd
“When I came back I pledged to myself that I would be a lifelong fundraiser. I’ve done night treks, half marathon treks, channel swims in the pool and I’ve also recently taking up running and done two 10k races.
“I love doing these things – pushing myself to try new experiences, pushing my body to perform, and to raise money for such wonderful charities is so rewarding. And it’s so much fun.
''I’ve met some great people along the way, and it’s certainly helped me to deal with the grief I felt over losing my beautiful sister. I thoroughly recommend it to anyone – pick a challenge, train, and surprise yourself at what you can achieve.”
In recognition of being this month’s Health Hero, Chris will receive a treat from CVUHC's sponsors Park Plaza Cardiff.