How RAFT's research helps patients

‘I would not be here today..’

‘In 1989 I was only two-years old when a visitor to our house left a box of matches lying around. I found then and somehow accidentally set fire to my dress. I don’t remember doing this, but I do remember the on-going surgeries I have had throughout the years’ -Ferrial Syed

As a result, I suffered third degree burns and was rushed to Mount Vernon Hospital where I had a number of operations. One of which involved having my right hand fingers and thumb amputated as I was very injured and the situation became life-threatening.
Luckily at the time RAFT was carrying out research in using skin from dead donors to treat burns wounds. I am told that surgeons used some of my skin, taken from another part of my body, together with the donor skin to cover my very extensive burns. In order that my body did not reject the donor skin I had to take the drug cyclosporine for quite some time. I was one of the youngest to undergo this procedure and would not be here today if it wasn’t for RAFT’s life-saving research.
My parents heard that my surgeon, Professor Roy Sanders, co-founded RAFT and as family we have been in touch over the years. In fact, when RAFT moved to its own laboratories I was lucky enough to be chosen to present a bouquet to the Duchess of Kent, RAFT’s royal Patron.
In celebrating 26 years of RAFT, I am proud to look back over the years and say I have supported RAFT in fundraising events and in raising awareness of the importance of their research; it’s the least I can do for all they have done for me. I also spoke as a Patron at their Parliamentary Reception in the House of Commons, introducing their research in SmartMatrix™ , a skin scaffold.
Oftentimes I wonder how less traumatic my recovery would have been if RAFT’s SmartMatrix™ had been available at the time of my accident. However, I look forward to the benefits it will give to patients in the future suffering similar traumas to their skin, major burns, military injuries, leg ulcers and so forth.
I am now 17 years old, and I am pursuing a career in the medical field myself, as I have been truly inspired by RAFT and my surgeons, I am lucky to be here and ever grateful for their skills which saved my life when I was badly burned as a toddler.

‘I was one of the youngest to undergo this procedure and would not be here if it wasn’t for RAFT’s life-saving research’
– Ferrial Syed