The consultant who set up the children’s intensive care unit at St Mary’s Hospital has completed a 43.5 mile swim across the English Channel to raise funds for the More Smiles Appeal.
Dr Parviz Habibi, 64, set off from Dover on August 30, reaching France after 19hrs 12mins in the water and raising more than £20,000 so far for the appeal, which is looking to expand the unit.
Dr Habibi has been training for two years for the challenge, and while he has done four previous Channel swims as part of a relay team, this was his first solo attempt.
He said: “It was very challenging but all the years of training and preparation have paid off.
“I would like to thank everybody for all their support and generous donations. The More Smiles Appeal is a great cause which will help us to improve the lives of many more children and young people in the future.”
He had set up the children’s intensive care unit at the Paddington hospital in 1992 with one bed and one nurse. Now it has eight-beds and treats a range of medical, surgical and trauma patients as well as being a world leader in the understanding and treatment of serious infections.
The More Smiles Appeal is aiming to raise at least £2 million to help fund the £10 million expansion of the current unit to 15 beds, allowing more than 200 extra children to be cared for each year.
Earlier in the month, the appeal reached a major fundraising milestone of the £1 million mark.
Among those backing the drive is the Duchess of Cambridge , who gave birth to her two children at St Mary's Hospital.
To donate to Dr Habibi’s JustGiving page click here .
And to find out more about the St Mary’s Hospital More Smiles Appeal, click here or telephone 020 3312 6179.