A Wrexham medical secretary whose family cancer experiences inspired her to raise money for charity has been shortlisted for a top health award.
Samantha Brand, who works in the Obstetrics and Gynaecology department of Wrexham Maelor Hospital, has completed a host of fitness challenges over the past 10 years in aid of charities such as Cancer Research Wales and Dementia UK.
The grandmother-of-four from Wrexham said watching family members battle cancer and other health conditions had motivated her to help people in the same situation.
Now those efforts have been recognised with a nomination for the Contribution to the Wider Community Award in the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board’s annual achievement awards.
As a finalist, Samantha will now attend a glittering awards ceremony at Venue Cymru, Llandudno, on Wednesday 16 November.
Also nominated for the Contribution to Wider Community Award is occupational therapist Sharon Jamieson-Evans, part of the Motiv8 team at Wrexham Maelor Hospital, and the Rev Wynne Roberts, for chaplaincy services at Ysbyty Gwynedd.
Samantha, a former pupil of Wrexham’s Bromfield School, said: “I’m not somebody who enjoys the limelight and so to be nominated for an award was a bit of a shock but I was really pleased someone thought I deserved it.
“I do it because I enjoy it and I like giving something back. I don’t really think I’m doing anything out of the ordinary – people have raised a lot more than I have, and have raised millions, but I guess every penny counts.
“Cancer charities are close to my heart as well as dementia and a lot of the fundraising I do is for these causes. I’ve known many people who have suffered with cancer, including members of my own family, and I feel that if you can help just one person then it’s all worth it.
“There’s a team of us who fundraise in the hospital and without them and their support I couldn’t do it. It’s very much a team effort and holding cake sales and raffles takes some organisation, which is shared between us all. This award nomination is very much a joint pat on the back.”
The awards ceremony, which will involve a three-course meal plus live music, will be attended by 350 fellow health professionals, members of staff and guests including BCUHB board members, volunteers and representatives from the Community Health Council.
Winners from the 15 categories will be presented with an engraved glass trophy by Chief Executive Gary Doherty and Chairman Peter Higson.
Samantha, who also fundraises with her local church, St Mark’s in Queen’s Park, Wrexham, recently completed the Rainbow Run in aid of Nightingale House Hospice, with her granddaughters and daughter-in-law, and raised more than £300 alongside her teammates.
She also raised £395 by hosting a coffee morning for dementia awareness.
Over the last few years, along with colleague Mandy Richards, she has raised money for Cancer Research Wales plus Mandy’s chosen charity, the British Heart Foundation, by running raffles at Easter and Christmas.
Earlier this year, the medical secretary completed a 10k run alongside health colleagues and raised £1,300 for the 4Louis charity, which supplies memory boxes to maternity wards for mothers who have suffered a still birth or late miscarriage.
Nominating Samantha for the award, Beverley Millington, service manager of Women’s CPG East, said: “Nothing is ever too much trouble, she goes above and beyond and gives 110% at all times.
“She supports other medical secretaries in her team leading role and has also done a lot of fundraising for many different charities. She is hardworking, reliable and puts everyone else first.
“She is an amazing person who does everything for everyone. She thinks of everyone else and never ever puts herself first.
“I think Sam definitely deserves to be nominated for her work within the hospital and outside of the hospital.”
The health board received more than 100 nominations across the 15 award categories. Entries were judged by a selection board comprising Chairman Dr Peter Higson, Chief Executive Gary Doherty, Director of Workforce and Organisational Development Martin Jones, Independent Board Member and former midwife Jenie Dean and Director of Finance Russ Favager.
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board Chief Executive Gary Doherty said: “These awards celebrate the hard work, commitment and success of our staff and volunteers.
“Improving our support to staff is one of the key objectives for myself, as Chief Executive, and the Board. We believe these awards will help to show how much we value our dedicated colleagues across the organisation.
“It was wonderful to read all the nominations, which have come from colleagues and from patients. It was a difficult task to shortlist three for each award – and even harder to decide on the winners.
“I am looking forward to meeting all the nominees on the evening and thanking them personally for helping deliver excellence in patients in North Wales.”