Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital Charity has relied on local businesses for a helping hand as it continues to support the vital work our two hospitals provide to patients from across the region. One such company is Solihull-based fitness clothing brand Gymshark, who as well as donating almost a quarter of a million pounds, has also given more than 650 hours of volunteering time, and travelled more than 9,217 miles to help the hospitals.

At the start of the pandemic, the fitness clothing giant rallied the nation to take part in their NHS Sweaty Selfie challenge, pledging to donate £5 to Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital Charity for every sweaty selfie they saw posted on social media. The campaign totalled at a huge £180,000 but Gymshark didn’t stop there. Through fundraising and donating their staff bonuses, they’ve donated almost £250,000 to help the charity do more for its hospitals’ patients.

The kind-hearted team jumped at the chance to make a difference, carrying out vital roles for Birmingham Women’s Hospital by delivering 167 medications to its patients’ homes as well as transporting more than 220 patients’ COVID-19 test samples to the hospital’s sister site, Birmingham Children’s Hospital, for testing. Their help allowed for a speedy turnaround for results, ensuring quick isolation of any of the hospital’s inpatients that tested positive.

The staff restaurant at Gymshark’s headquarters in Solihull was also put to sterling use, preparing a total of more than 500 delicious hot meals which they delivered to help sustain and uplift hard-working NHS heroes at the Women’s Hospital.

Meanwhile over at Birmingham Children’s Hospital and its Forward Thinking Birmingham mental health service, other members of the dedicated Gymshark team were busy delivering more than 370 medications to patients’ homes and more than 1,700 prescription slips to pharmacies. The team even took on the critical task of transporting vital ventilation equipment to sick children who needed it in order to stay safe at home.

Collectively, the dedicated team have travelled more than 9,217 miles to help the hospitals and their charity – that’s nearly as far as the journey from Birmingham to Australia!

Rafael Guimaraes is a Quality Assurance Engineer at Gymshark. He said: “When the opportunity to volunteer for the hospital came around, I didn’t think twice. I’m lucky to be in a safe position in life in terms of health, so it was so humbling to be able to make other people’s day a little easier by doing something as simple as making sure they got their medicine at a time of need. The whole experience has been so rewarding, the genuine smiles and thank yous brought so much joy, but it’s also given us a great insight into the huge effort of the NHS both before and during this pandemic.”

Louise McCathie, Director of Fundraising at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospitals Charity, said: “From sweaty selfies to selfless support, the team at Gymshark have given us their all to help our charity continue supporting the vital work of our hospitals and our brilliant NHS heroes.

“The strain that COVID-19 has put on our NHS is like nothing we’ve ever seen before and while we’ve been extremely busy looking after patients, Gymshark came to our aid with smiles on their faces and raring to do anything and everything they could to help. We’ll be forever grateful for their support, determination and their dedication to raising and donation such a staggering amount for our hospitals.”

If you would like to support the charity during this challenging period by donating to our COVID-19 Appeal you can do so here