I trust this finds everyone well, safe and healthy as we gingerly step into 2021. 2020 was certainly quite a year with so many people suffering crippling setbacks, business shutdowns, financial crises, not to mention the great numbers of people who fell ill and those who sadly passed. Communities certainly have dug deep to find some semblance of hope and have come back swinging by highlighting the positive.
Something that has come out of the pandemic for the HBOT community is that hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) was successfully trialled in the treatment of Covd-19 in Both New York and China with other trials ongoing in numerous other international locations. There is a section on this on the blog from some months back now for those interested. The articles list references and literature sources. The Chinese study itself is available at the bottom of the downloads page under free downloads. This eventuality means that when those of us in the diving and hyperbaric industry began campaigning and yelling from the rooftops in March last year for the wider acceptance and use of HBOT for Covid, we were heard. International medical organisations have since reversed their initial positions and accepted that HBOT is a useful treatment for Covid and support it’s use on compassionate grounds. I like to think the efforts we put in had at least a little positive impact on the development of ideas for treating this thing that has lead to governments pinning us down, thrusting many into real poverty and harsh circumstances.
Despite this little glimmer for the HBOT community, it’s impossible to ignore the result of the financial shutdowns. International travel is all but gone except for essential travel, making it nigh impossible to secure paying work. Businesses have shut and many have lost their jobs. It’s with this in mind that a decision has been made to re-think our approach and revise our target for fund raising as well as the start up plan discussed on the project timeline page. People just don’t have the money to give at the moment as other units who are also struggling will testify to. It would be unreasonable for us to ask for the original £750k we were trying to raise.
In March 2019, I was ready to begin pubic presentations to raise awareness and bring the campaign to the people. Alas this cannot be for some time to come I imagine. From even my early days as a diver and dive leader I always found talking to people in person easier than remote communication. I recall failing monumentally as a radio D.J. on Durban’s Capital Radio 604 AM for this reason. I will endeavour however to begin a video series when I can in 2021 to promote the campaign. In the meantime though I have been fortunate enough to be invited to discuss HBOT and the campaign on CandoFM which broadcasts on 106.3 FM to Barrow and Furness. The interview is scheduled for broadcast on 18 January 2020 at 1pm on the link above and I will see about sharing a podcast if there is one available following the interview.
We have decided to take this opportunity to re-consider and re-launch our efforts to raise money. Our revised target of £75 000 is a lot more realistic and while it will mean a much smaller start with lower capacity, it could be the difference between success and failure.
75K would secure the purchase of a second hand diving chamber known as a DDC, or deck decompression chamber. They usually go for around 25k. This could be modified to take 4 occupants. A further 25k would cover the cost of a reliable LP (low pressure) compressor, backup HP (high pressure) air supply and oxygen generator as well as a container cabin to house it all. Probably just on my driveway if the neighbours allow it. The remaining 25k would be set aside for insurance, certification packs, any rents needed for a good location, and calibration, commissioning and testing services required to bring a second hand chamber into service.
Any money raised over and above this will be dedicated to running costs enabling us to charge very little for the service and make it free where possible.
Currently there is only one reasonably close chamber to Cumbria that is operational and that is in Morecambe bay (Lancs). So technically, Cumbria doesn’t have a chamber at all. They are called A Breath For Life Children’s Charity. They have been operating for abut 23 years and have over the years received council support as well as community donations. They too however are struggling to survive in challenging times and in an effort to not compete for the same donors I encourage folks to donate to them as well. You can read more about A Breath for Life here.
The truth of it is, that one chamber facility simply not enough when considering the numbers of people that could benefit from this modality and the load it could take off the NHS. It’s my position that every village GP surgery should have one and certainly every hospital as well as charity units and private clinics. There is more than enough scope for multiple units to succeed in Cumbria. So please do check out A Breath for Life. They are doing important work and while they’re technically in Lancashire, they hugely benefit Cumbria as well.
In the meantime though, while fund raising continues in a revised fashion, I am hoping to return to gainful work and will be considering offers for fly in fly out work (FIFO), consulting as well as diving and supervision work. This too perhaps could generate sufficient income to facilitate the purchase of a small starter chamber in a containerised setting.
In the meantime stay safe and well everyone.
© Hayden Dunstan