A Chorley practitioner has travelled to India this week to carry out valuable work with the Northern Cleft Foundation.
Lucy Pilkington, 24, a operating department practitioner (ODP) at The Royal Liverpool Hospital, has volunteered to assist with cleft lip and palate corrective surgery on underprivileged children as part of 10-day visit to Nagpur.
“I am excited about helping to change the lives of underprivileged children.”Lucy Pilkington
Lucy, who lives in Park Road with long-term boyfriend Nathan Cross, said: “The Northern Cleft Foundation organises outreaches in India, in host hospitals, once a year.
“The foundation funds travel expenses for families and their children living as far as 200km away, enabling those excluded by poverty the chance of a brighter future.
“I will be assisting with anaesthetic care of the children during the operations along with a skilled anaesthetist.
“On last year’s outreach, the team worked for five days and completed 103 cases; we’re hoping to achieve something similar this year.”
Lucy, who did a health studies course at Runshaw College, is travelling with a senior doctor from her hospital, and is staying in a hotel in the city and working at Mure Memorial Hospital.
She added: “I wanted to get involved in this worthwhile, rewarding experience as cleft lip and palate corrective surgery can make a huge difference to people’s lives, enabling them to eat and speak properly, but many are too poor to access medical help.
“The physical, psychological and social implications shouldn’t be underestimated.
“I am excited about helping to change the lives of underprivileged children.”
Lucy, who grew up in Chorley and attended St Laurence CE Primary School and Parklands High School, went on to the University of Central Lancashire where she qualified to be an ODP and practiced at Chorley and Preston Hospitals on placements.
She then landed a full-time post at the Royal Liverpool on the Intensive Care Unit.
“I have worked at The Royal for the past three years and gained critical care, anaesthetic and emergency care skills, experiences and knowledge,” she said.
“ODPs are mainly based in the operating theatre, whereas I have been privileged with my role because it has enabled my to gain enhanced knowledge in areas outside of the theatre environment.”
When Lucy returns, she will continue training for a marathon.
She said: “The cost of the trip is £1,500, which is self-funded so I have signed up to Coniston 14 marathon in March, and hope to get some sponsorship.”
To donate, visit https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/lucypilkington1.