£5,000 donated to dementia wards in memory of Jean Brown

Posted: 22/06/20

Jean’s daughters Janine Brown (left), Danielle Lister (centre) and her husband Barrie Brown (right), presenting the cheque in line with social distancing guidelines to Marie Smith, Clinical Manager for Inpatient Services South of Tyne (far left).

The family of Jean Brown, who received care at Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust’s Monkwearmouth Hospital, have donated £5,000 in her memory to the Trust. The donation will benefit people receiving care on specialist dementia wards in Sunderland.

Mum-of-three Jean first began displaying symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease when she was just 52, and was diagnosed two years later.

Over the years Jean’s condition deteriorated to the point where she couldn’t make a cup of coffee for herself or speak, and she required 24 hour care. She spent time on Marsden and Mowbray wards at Monkwearmouth Hospital in Sunderland, which provide specialised treatment and care for people with mental health problems arising from organic disorders such as Alzheimer’s.

Determined to make a difference after their mum’s death in 2018, siblings Janine Brown and Danielle Lister set up The Jean Brown Dementia Trust, and in just a few weeks had raised £6,000 for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Their efforts have continued with the family holding large annual fundraising events. Last year’s was a black tie fundraising evening at the Roker Hotel in June, which featured a night of entertainment and a silent auction with top prizes ranging from a supercar driving experience to spa getaways.

We wanted to donate money to Monkwearmouth Hospital because the care mam received there was just incredible.

The staff were so caring, giving her the one-on-one care she needed and deserved. We always knew when we left the hospital after visiting each day that she was in safe hands, being extremely well looked after.

The teams on both wards were amazing to our family, always making us all feel so welcome and at home. We honestly can’t thank the team enough and wanted to give a little something back.

Janine, one of Jean's daughters

Marie Smith, Clinical Manager for Inpatient Services South of Tyne at the Trust, said: “We are overwhelmed by this kind gesture, and are extremely grateful to The Jean Brown Dementia Trust for such a generous donation. It was lovely to see Jean’s family again, and humbling to hear them reflect so positively on the care she received here.

“The dementia wards at Monkwearmouth Hospital will be putting this donation to good use to improve the comfort of all our patients. Some are planning to purchase new specialist recliner chairs to make peoples’ stay as comfy as possible.

“We have also found that using tablet computers on the wards to enable video calls with loved ones (as an alternative to visiting during COVID-19 restrictions) has really helped patients, and reduced anxiety for them and their carers and families. We hope to use some of the donated funds to purchase more tablets for the ward to support this.

“The team on Roker Ward, where patients interested in gardening maintain some raised planters in the courtyard, are also excited about the possibility of getting a potting shed! This will help more patients take part in gardening, which really supports many peoples’ wellbeing.”

The donation has been made to CNTW’s registered charity The SHINE Fund, which uses funds to provide the ‘little extras’ that make a big difference to people’s recovery. At the family’s request, the donated money has been ring-fenced for use by the dementia wards at Monkwearmouth Hospital in Sunderland, where Jean was cared for.

This year’s Jean Brown Dementia Trust fundraising event had been scheduled to take place at the Stadium of Light, but has sadly been cancelled due to COVID-19. However, the family have plans to continue with virtual fundraising activities soon, and people can stay up-to-date via the charity’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.