A group of colleagues from Birmingham Women’s Hospital and other Neonatal hospitals in the West Midlands have taken to the saddle, raising almost £37,000 for the hospital’s charity, in memory of a well-respected and much-loved Consultant Neonatologist, who sadly passed away in April following treatment for COVID-19.

Dr Vishna Rasiah, known to his friends as Vish, was a Consultant Neonatologist at Birmingham Women’s Hospital, and was highly-regarded across the region as part of his role as Clinical Lead for the Southern West Midlands Neonatal Network. His passing in April was a huge shock to his friends and colleagues, but they were keen to do something in his memory.

On Saturday 5 September, a group of around 20 of his friends and colleagues took on a 112 mile cycle ride around the neonatal units in the Southern West Midlands Neonatal Network. Setting off early in the morning, they began their journey at County Hospital in Hereford, and then travelled to Worcestershire Royal Hospital, University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire, and Birmingham Heartlands Hospital, before finally crossing the finish line later that evening at Birmingham Women's Hospital.

Since their fundraising began, the outpouring of love from friends, family, colleagues and strangers has been overwhelming and has seen the cyclists smash their original target of £10,000, raising almost £37,000 instead. Vish’s passion lay in neonatal cardiology and so the group’s fundraising will go to the Neonatal Department at Birmingham Women’s Hospital, with the hope they can put it towards the purchase a new, state-of-the-art echo machine, to more intricately scan a baby’s heart to help care for babies who are born with complex heart conditions.

Matt Nash, a friend of Vish and a fellow Consultant Neonatologist at Birmingham Women’s Hospital, said: “We lost a wonderful friend and colleague in Vish, and the neonatal world lost an exceptional clinician. At work he put the babies and their families at the centre of everything he did, and he devoted so much to help families and save the lives of countless babies. We collectively felt that we had to do something in his memory and to keep his legacy going.”

Miranda Williams, Head of Public Fundraising at Birmingham Women’s Hospital Charity, said: “Vish’s passing was a devastating blow for our Neonatal Department, but it was felt by all of our colleagues across the Trust, and clearly in the wider Neonatal community too. We’ve been blown away by how this incredible team has pulled together to channel their grief into such a tough challenge.

“The amazing funds they have raised for our Neonatal Department are a fitting tribute to Vish and will help support poorly babies and families at our hospital.”

If you would like to donate to Birmingham Women’s Hospital Charity you can do so here.