#LearnLookLive campaign: a public education and fundraising project

During my first year at HYMS, I took the opportunity to spend a lot of my spare time in theatre and outpatient clinics with Mr Ian Bradford, Consultant colorectal surgeon at York Hospital. He became my mentor for the year. He taught me so much and at the end of the year, with such a long summer ahead, I thought it would be great to host a fundraising event and give something back to the hospital.

In July, I decided to round up a few of my non-medic friends, force them into scrubs (I let them off with the crocs) and sell home-made wood-fired pizzas in a local pub car park. We worked solidly for 5 hours and managed to raise a massive £830 for the York Hospital Surgical Department to the delight of Mr Bradford.

A couple of weeks later, after discussions with Mr Bradford and the fundraising team at the hospital, we decided that half of the money raised should go to the cost of gastrointestinal (GI) anatomical models for display in outpatient clinics. The models will hopefully enable the consultants to communicate procedures more effectively to their patients. Together, we have purchased a large bowel with diverticulitis, an oesophagus, a gallbladder with gallstones, a three-part model of the whole GI tract, and a couple of rectums!

With the rest of the money I decided to set up the #LearnLookLive campaign under the supervision of Mr Bradford. I invested in some breasts and testicle models which contain benign and cancerous tumours and plan to run demonstrations in York city centre. The aim of the campaign and these demonstrations is to raise awareness of breast and testicular cancer and educate people by handing out leaflets to provide information about these diseases. I will also be showing the public how to examine themselves for any abnormalities. Alongside this, I will be collecting further donations for the surgical department.

I have secured pitches for five Saturdays in the current academic year (16/17) on Parliament Street in York city centre. The #LearnLookLive gazebo will be set up on the main street outside M&S with the breast and testicle models for demonstration and groups of medical students in scrubs will be standing in the street handing out leaflets whilst collecting donations.

If you are interested in putting your scrubs on for a few hours and coming along to help at these events (which will take place on five different Saturdays), I’d love to hear from you. It would be a big help to raise awareness and more funds for the surgical department. Feel free to send me an email at hykd1@hyms.ac.uk and keep your eye out on our Facebook page for a training session. The training session will take place at York hospital with a breast nurse and consultant before the first event.

I hope to see you there. If we can make a difference, even to just one person, it will be worth it!

Katie Dean is a second year medical student at HYMS and founder of the #LearnLookLive campaign. In her spare time she likes to shadow surgeons in theatre, sing and DJ at local events, fundraise and shoe shop.