It is my pleasure to write to you all in FORT’s 10th year running as a charity. This year will also be the 25th anniversary of the creation of FORT as the first patient support organisation, initially in Tayside, Scotland. In this time we have succeeded in providing web based and small meeting support for patients and their communities. In addition we provided newsletters both electronically and in hard copy. Furthermore we have contributed to National Forum for patient issues in cancer and reflux disease. Moreover we have helped drive several of the world’s largest evidence based reviews of how to manage reflex disease including Barrett’s oesophagus maximally. However many of the charity’s key initial functions are slowly coming to an end. In particular we need to consider whether we keep FORT going past this December. In order to do this we need engagement from patients to keep going sustainably as a charity for as long as possible, because having the ability to help people in need is very important to us.
There is definitely things that can be done to prevent this closure. We would find it very helpful if as many you as possible took immediate action to help to recover this charity.
We would like to take forward the idea of patient volunteering, because this would be an excellent help to us, meaning we would find it easier to run this charity, and to keep on sourcing help to those in need. Many examples of jobs as a volunteer would be offering to update web pages (those with IT skills), fundraising (everyone), and having small collaborative meetings with sufferers in their homes (everyone). It would be a choice of how much time you would like to participate in volunteering a week, as we would be very grateful for anything you could do to support us.
So to do my bit I am keen to rerun the ‘Great FORT FAST’ for 5 days between the 5th of November (Bon fire Night) and the 11th of November (Remembrance Day and Divali). Essentially I ate a ‘balanced diet’ but only 600 kcals as concentration camp survivors did. Diet sheets can be provided and it is a good way to prepare yourself mentally and physically for the feasts later in the year.
Who will help follow my lead or even just sponsor me?
Janusz Jankowski (Acting CEO), on behalf of Chris Abley (Previous CEO and External Ambassador), John deCaestecker (Trustee) and Ann Portwoord (Trustee)