Long-time Stars Appeal fundraiser Michael Beck, 87, has teamed up with his respiratory consultant Dr Anna Barton in a bid to fulfil his dream of raising half a million pounds for the Stars Appeal.

Having treated Michael during for both Covid and now Lung Cancer, Dr Barton has set up an online fundraising page, and secured publicity from BBC South Today, to help him reach his target. He needs a further £75,000.

Dr Barton explains “Many of you will know Michael Beck from his incredible fundraising efforts for our hospital charity, the Stars Appeal. I met this wonderful man when he was fighting Coronavirus last year. He spent two weeks with us on the Covid Ward. We very nearly lost him.

After leaving the hospital, he was very breathless and tired, but desperate to get back to his fundraising activities so was really motivated to start walking again. Indeed, within less than 3 months of discharge, he was out walking 10km on the Walk for Wards. I and his whole medical team were incredibly impressed with his determination.

However, his breathing difficulties continued, and sadly a repeat chest x-ray showed that a shadow on the lung, we hoped had been caused by Covid, had not gone away. A CT scan confirmed that Michael sadly had incurable lung cancer. As such I’m continually involved in his ongoing treatment.

Getting to know Michael I have learnt many amazing things about him. A Korean war veteran and lifelong dairy farmer, at 87 years old this isn’t Michael’s first brush with cancer. He has successfully seen off many others, breast, bladder, skin and prostate in fact. And he lost his beloved wife Ruby to ovarian cancer.

All of this has had a big impact on Michael and has led to him to becoming a tireless fundraiser for our brilliant hospital charity. With the help of his friends and supporters, Michael has raised £425,000 over the last 17 years, by spending many hours collecting with a bucket in the main entrance of hospital, accompanied by his trusty wheelbarrow ‘Wally’. I find this both incredible and awe-inspiring. And I have seen the benefits of the charity in my work. In fact the Stars Appeal has recently bought some state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment for our department costing £170,000. Every day I see first-hand how this equipment is helping patients like Michael to be treated locally instead of travelling elsewhere.

It is Michael’s dearest, and perhaps last, wish that he reaches his target of raising £500,000 for the Stars Appeal. However, due to his illness and Covid restrictions, he can no longer collect money in his normal way. That’s why, with Michael’s full support, I have set up this page to support him https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/drbarton. Please donate and help this incredible man I have had the pleasure of looking after, to hit his half-million pound target – thank you.

Dr Anna Barton Respiratory Consultant at Salisbury District Hospital

Pictured top: Dr Barton, and bottom: Michael with his daughter Jane

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