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06 August 2018

Bristol Royal Hospital for Children Professor to embark on solo channel swim

A cardiac and intensive care consultant at Bristol children's hospital will take on an epic challenge in the next 2 weeks to raise money for a pioneering new cardiac service for the hospital.

Andy Wolf 1

Armed with a pair of goggles and swimming trunks, Professor Andrew Wolf will brave 21 miles of cold water, changing tides and swarms of jellyfish when he embarks on a solo swim across the English Channel. Sixty-three-year-old Andy is aiming to raise £20,000 towards The Grand Appeal's new 3D Cardiac Bio-Printing Service at Bristol children's hospital.

For over 20 years, Andy has worked at the hospital alongside his colleagues in the cardiac team, caring for over 400 children and babies each year with complex cardiac conditions, who come from across the South West, South Wales and beyond for lifesaving treatment.

The new 3D Cardiac Bio-Printing Service, established by Bristol Children's Hospital Charity The Grand Appeal, will enable the cardiac team to create exact replicas of individual patients' hearts, transforming the way the team plan and practice this complex surgery. Crucially, it will help young patients and their families to understand even the most complex cardiac conditions and operations.   

Andy commented:"Taking on a channel swim is no small feat, and I have spent the last 18 months dedicating every spare moment, preparing for the challenge ahead. In that time, I've had some amazing support from my family, friends, colleagues and The Grand Appeal's supporters, and I'm thrilled to have already reached the halfway mark of my fundraising target. Andy Wolf 2

"It's going to be very tough, physically and mentally, but I have the most powerful motivator on my side - helping to fund a new cutting-edge service which will have a huge impact for young cardiac patients across the region."

In the future, the service will also enable true "bio-printing." In partnership with The Grand Appeal, teams from the hospital will pioneer a bio-printing service, where the patient's own stem cells are used to make individualised tissues that grow with a child after a cardiac repair, thereby dramatically reducing the amount of operations a young cardiac patient has to endure as they grow. This unique service will be the one of the first of its kind in the U.K. and in the future, will be extended out to help in other surgical specialities across Bristol children's hospital.

Nicola Masters, Director of The Grand Appeal added:"Andy's dedication, compassion and drive to help us embed this new service in Bristol children's hospital is nothing short of astounding. He's spent over 20 years caring for critically ill babies and children, and he's gone well above his call of duty to help us take this service to new, unprecedented places.

 "We'll be cheering Andy on - from dry land - and can't thank him enough for his herculean efforts in helping us ensure Bristol children's hospital stays at the forefront of paediatric care both in the UK and internationally."

This will be Andy's first solo channel swim, having previously completed a relay with six colleagues from Bristol children's hospital in 2017, to raise money for a specialist bereavement space in the hospital's Paediatric Intensive Care Unit.

To support Andy in his upcoming challenge and help him reach his ambitious target, visit his JustGiving page or text "SOLO57" to 70070 with the amount you'd like to donate.

You can also follow him on Facebook and Twitter, where he will be livestreaming and providing real-time updates as he swims through the night to transform the lives of children and babies with complex cardiac conditions.