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Date: 23 February 2024

Time: 03:58

Staff Nurse Sophie Castleman, Jessica Higman, Jean Sims, Diana Higman and Ward Manager Jay Ittoo

Jean Sims' story

The sky’s the limit for fundraiser Jean

At 87 years old, Jean Sims has taken fundraising to new heights. Jean took part in a tandem skydive, dropping 30,000 feet and raising £1,700 in the process. The money is being donated to University Hospital Birmingham Charities (UHB Charities) [now the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham Charity] for the Liver Unit fund as Jean's daughter Diana Higman received a liver transplant last year.

After being diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis, Diana, from Allestree in Derby, had a transplant at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital within weeks. Together with Jean, she decided to raise some money to say thank you to the Liver Unit for the care she received on the ward.

Grandmother Jean had already travelled in a hot air balloon and a microlight, so a skydive seemed like the next step. In September 2009, Jean took to the skies above Longnor in Nottingham, with family and friends cheering her on from the ground.

Diana’s partner also helped the fundraising effort. Trevor Allsopp works for Nestle in Tutbury and after winning £500 at work, Trevor and his colleagues donated their prize money to the funds raised by Jean’s skydive, bringing the grand total to £2,200.

Diana said: “I’m so proud of mum. We lost my dad two weeks before I was taken ill and she was so worried that she was going to lose me too.

"I was worried about her doing the jump, but as she has always been a dare devil I had faith that she would be ok. Without her, I don’t know what I would have done. That goes for the rest of my family, partner and great friends as well. We are so grateful for the care I received. I’m currently organising an awareness day at Derby’s Westfield Shopping Centre to promote the Organ Donor Register and get more people signed up.”

Three generations of the family – Jean, Diana and Jessica, Diana’s 19-year-old daughter – came along to the Liver Unit to present the money.

Receiving the donation on behalf of the Trust was Jay Ittoo, Ward Manager, who said: “We are so grateful for the donations we receive here on the Liver Unit. Our thanks go out to Jean and her family. The money will be used to buy an ECG machine for the Liver Unit which will be of enormous benefit.”

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