It is Cleft Awareness Week this week, we are celebrating the 10-year anniversary of The Scar Free Foundation Cleft Gene Bank and Cohort Study – and now the world’s largest genotyping study to include parents as well as children born with cleft.
Yesterday, our Royal Patron, HRH The Countess of Wessex, visited the world-leading facial reconstruction research programme based at Swansea University, meeting researchers to learn more about the study, and our Ambassadors who could benefit from the pioneering research.
Dr Adam Reid - a scar free researcher and Research Council member - is a plastic surgeon who treated survivors of the Manchester Arena terrorist attack. In an exclusive meeting with our Ambassadors, Dr Reid spoke about plastic surgery, nerve regeneration and how people with scarring are at the heart of his research.
A special thank you to the Veterans' Foundation
We are excited to announce that long serving Ambassador, Dr Hemani Modasia-Shah GP, has been appointed to serve on our Board of Trustees.
“I am so grateful to have you helping to educate and inform people about the problems of scarring. Your knowledge is power and you are helping The Scar Free Foundation to make people more aware by sharing your stories. It’s important that people see the person, not just the scars.”
- HRH The Countess of Wessex, 16 Nov 21
Behind every scar, there's a story. People living with scarring are at the heart of all that we do. We recently hosted our annual Ambassadors' Event to celebrate our successes, share our news and involve people living with scarring in our plans for 2022 and beyond.
The Scar Free Foundation is using Virtual Reality (VR) to bring the research we do and the experiences of veteran Ambassadors to life, as we mark the three-year anniversary of The Scar Free Foundation Centre for Conflict Wound Research in Birmingham and Bristol.
Recently we held our first hybrid Annual Update event. The event was attended by over 50 Scar Free supporters, researchers and Ambassadors and took place in our new, recently re-opened base and the ‘home of surgery’, The Royal College of Surgeons of England. The event was also broadcast live and over 200 additional friends and family of the Foundation tuned in virtually.
Our event provided a unique insight into the problems of scarring and the pioneering research we are funding to achieve our mission: to achieve scar free healing within a generation and transform the lives of those affected by disfiguring conditions.
People with a lived experience of scarring have been at the heart of everything we do for a long time now.
We’re working hard to invest more funds in research that will change lives. For the first time we will be taking part in The Big Give Christmas Challenge, and although the festivities might seem distant, we need your help now! We’re looking for Champions like you, to help us double the difference. Find out more about what 3D printing, Christmas and you, have in common!
To mark my retirement from the Army, I decided to cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats. This 14-day, 992-mile epic takes in some of the most stunning countryside in Britain but also features over 56,000 metres of climbing, 19% of which are defined as severe. What can I say? I like a challenge! To add a little more jeopardy, the ride was in aid of The Scar Free Foundation and the amazing research I hear so much about.
Ground-breaking, global impacting research into 3D printing of cartilage for facial reconstruction at The Scar Free Foundation/Health & Care Research Wales Programme of Facial Reconstruction and Regeneration Research, Swansea University.
On Earth Day 2021, The Scar Free Foundation is pleased to announce its new Environmental and Sustainability Policy.
Two new projects have recently been approved for funding by The Scar Free Foundation as part of our ‘pilots’ scheme for the conflict wound research programme, funded in 2017 by the Chancellor using LIBOR funds.
The Trustees of the Garfield Weston Foundation, one of the UK’s most established charity grant makers, have supported the work of The Scar Free Foundation for more than 10 years. Most recently, the Trust has agreed a generous grant to support life-changing research at The Scar Free Foundation Centre for Conflict Wound Research towards our innovative DeScar project.
Our Scar Free Ambassadors never cease to inspire us, stories and experiences like theirs are the driving force behind our mission. The Foundation supports their engagement with exclusive events and news on our developments, which is why, on the 24 February 2021, 20 of our Ambassadors joined an Audience with Professor Janet Lord in our first ‘meet the expert’ event.
Today is International Women’s Day, and to celebrate we’re taking the opportunity to introduce you to some of the amazing women involved in our mission to eliminate scarring within a generation.
From our inspiring Ambassadors who bravely share their stories to clinicians and researchers pushing the boundaries of science find out more about some of the women who make the prospect of scar free healing possible.
A world-leading £1.5 million research programme that aims to achieve scar free healing within a generation has been launched today, 26th November, by The Scar Free Foundation, the only medical research charity which focuses solely on scarring. The five-year research study led by the University of Bristol will identify the gene(s) that causes scarring and inform future treatments.
Last year, The Scar Free Foundation supported a national campaign that aimed to reduce the number and severity of burn injuries caused to babies and young children by hot drinks. The Scar Free Foundation Centre for Children’s Burns Research at the Universities of Bristol and Cardiff conducted a research project to understand the causes of burns and scalds to children. On the basis of the findings of a high prevalence of hot drink scalds in babies and toddlers together with poor knowledge of the importance of early first aid, the SafeTea campaign was born; sponsored generously by the Worshipful Company of Tin Plate workers alias Wire Workers, and co-funded by Health and Care Research Wales (Welsh Government), The Vocational Training Charitable Trust and the British Burn Association.
We recently held our virtual Annual Update event, for the first time this year, entirely online. The event offered the Foundation’s supporters, researchers and Ambassadors an insight into the past years’ activity and our plans for future research.
The Birmingham Objective Scar Scale (BOSS) is set to help clinicians and patients better understand the effect of future scar free treatments.
We highlight one of Scar Free’s longest standing, generous supporters who, this year, celebrate a very special anniversary.
We recently held our virtual Annual Update event, this year online. The event offered the Foundation’s supporters, researchers and Ambassadors an insight into the past years’ activity. We featured presentations from Dr Richard Williams (The Scar Free Foundation Centre for Conflict Wound Research), Professor Iain Whitaker (Swansea University Medical School) and Mr Justyn Hollett (Ambassador for The Scar Free Foundation, and mental health advocate).
To celebrate National Poetry Day 2020 yesterday, our amazing Ambassador Irie wrote a poem about why she became involved with The Scar Free Foundation. Her beautiful and powerful words highlight the impact that scarring has not only on those that have scarring, but also on their family and friends.
Sepsis is a life threatening illness caused by the immune system’s overreaction to an infection. 40% of all sepsis survivors experience permanent, lifechanging after-effects of the illness, including loss of tissue and even limbs. The psychological and physical issues can be devastating. In some cases of sepsis, people can be left with life-long scarring often requiring substantial skin grafts to counteract skin tightness caused by the restrictive scars.
To highlight the severity of the illness, sepsis awareness month takes place every September. As sepsis awareness month draws to an end, our Scar Free Ambassador, Jaco, tells us his story.
A major project from The Scar Free Foundation Centre for Conflict Wound Research, aimed at supporting veterans with appearance-altering injuries, hits a major milestone achievement this month with the publication of an important output from the early stages of the research.
Although the COVID-19 crisis has caused much of our lab based research and clinical trials to pause, much of our research has continued from lockdown including the UNITS (Understanding Needs and Interventions for the Treatment of Scarring) study, part of The Scar Free Foundation Centre for Conflict Wound Research.
We spoke with one of the members of the study team Dr Mary Keeling, Senior Research Fellow, at the Centre for Appearance Research (CAR), University of the West of England to find out more about how the team has continued working through the pandemic, and what the next few months hold.
15 years ago today, 52 people were killed and many more injured in the 7/7 London terrorist attacks. Our Ambassador, Susan Greenwood, bravely told us her story of the attack, and the journey that followed.
We recently held one of our regular video call catch-up for our Ambassadors, during which a surprise guest made an appearance. Unbeknownst to our Ambassadors, HRH The Countess of Wessex, Patron of The Scar Free Foundation was waiting to join the call…
Watch their reactions here: A Very Special Guest Dropped Into Our Virtual Ambassador Event
This week is Child Safety Week, run by the Child Accident Prevention Trust, which aims to raise awareness of the causes of children’s accidents, and how they can be avoided. Due to COVID-19, the focus is on how to keep children safe in lockdown, and also as lockdown slowly eases.
Izzy Brown - Research and Communications Officer
Many people are aware of the physical and psychological impact of visible scarring, but internal scarring in the form of fibrosis presents its own sinister hidden issues. Whilst the pandemic has brought self-isolation and social distancing measures to the fore, many who have long term health conditions, or have experienced a life changing injury have been practicing these measures for years.
With most university campuses closed and only essential COVID-19 research proceeding in hospitals and labs, much Scar Free Foundation-funded research has had to pause for the past seven weeks. While it is currently unclear when all our work will be up and running again, a number of our researchers are continuing to work from home, including staff from The Scar Free Foundation Cleft Gene Bank and Cohort Study.
New research finds that children born with a cleft lip and/or palate are not likely to be genetically predisposed to do poorly at school
New research from The Scar Free Foundation Cleft Gene Bank and Cohort Study at the University of Bristol has found that children born with a cleft lip, either with or without a cleft palate, are not likely to be genetically predisposed to do less well at school than their peers.
At The Scar Free Foundation we have been working hard over the last year navigating the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on our research, our staff and our beneficiaries.
Researchers at the University of the West of England undertaking the UNITS (Understanding Needs and Interventions For Treatment of Scarring) project, one of the projects of the Scar Free Foundation Centre for Conflict Wound Research, are are currently inviting veterans and members of the general public who have had an injury that has changed their appearance to complete an online questionnaire. Taking part will help us understand the psychological experience of appearance altering injuries and develop evidence based support.
If you are a veteran injured during operational deployment or deployment training since 1969 and that injured changed your appearance (such as having scars and / or limb loss) and would like to take part, please click here to complete an online questionnaire.
If you are a member of the public who has scars and / or limb loss due to an injury or accident and would like to take part, please click here to complete an online questionnaire.
Please also share with anyone you think might be interested. For any questions about the study please email the research team [email protected].
We are thrilled that The Scar Free Foundation Cleft Gene Bank and Cohort Study, also known as The Cleft Collective, funded by The Scar Free Foundation, has won the Royal College of Paediatric and Child Health/NIHR Paediatric Involvement and Engagement in Research (PIER) prize, which will be presented in April.
The award, affectionately known as a “Millie”, was presented to The Scar Free Foundation at the prestigious annual awards ceremony on 6 February 2020, attended by The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and Secretary of State for Defence, Ben Wallace.
We were delighted to celebrate our 20th anniversary by bringing together 100 Ambassadors, Trustees, Research Partners and Supporters for an afternoon tea hosted by our patron, HRH The Countess of Wessex, at Buckingham Palace.
Scarring affects over 20 million people in the UK*, according to new figures released today by The Scar Free Foundation. Yet the findings reveal that scarring is not talked about enough in our society and there is still a lack of public awareness of the physical – as well as emotional – impact that scarring can have on people.
One of the most common causes of scarring is burn injury, with 64,000** children seeking medical treatment in the UK alone last year, and yet it is an area of medical research that has been critically underfunded.
The Scar Free Foundation is supporting a national campaign aimed at reducing the number and severity of injuries caused to babies and young children by hot drinks. The Scar Free Foundation Centre for Children’s Burns Research at the Universities of Bristol and Cardiff undertook research into the causes of burns and scalds to children. The findings form the basis of the campaign which was made possible by a generous grant from the Worshipful Company of Tin Plate Workers alias Wire Workers of the City of London and co-funding from Health and Care Research Wales.
Earlier this month, in a venue filled with rich nautical, military and political history, we held a drinks reception to showcase our important work with the Armed Forces and the Veteran community.
We spoke to CASEVAC Club Manager Anna Boggi, who told us more about the evening and why she agreed to share her story.
The Safe Tea Campaign is a national campaign to prevent childhood hot drink scalds and promote first aid care to parents.
Funded by The Worshipful Company of Tin Plate Workers, VTCT Foundation and Health and Care Research Wales, and led by the University of Cardiff and the University of Bristol, the Campaign will launch on 16 October this year to coincide with Burns Awareness Day.
Our Scar Free Ambassador Hemani Modasia (pictured, second from right) was first introduced to The Scar Free Foundation just before she started medical school in 2006. Thirteen years later and now a qualified doctor working in a busy GP practice, Hemani is one of our longest-serving Ambassadors and a dedicated Scar Free supporter.
We caught up with Hemani to find out more about her time as an Ambassador, what she thought about last month's Involvement Reception and why our scar free mission is so important; both to her personally and for her profession.
His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex visited The Scar Free Foundation Centre for Conflict Wound Research, at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, last month.
His Royal Highness observed our scar free research, including an anti-scarring gel dressing for use in austere environments and was particularly interested in how we collaborate with key partners to address the challenges in acute care, long-term impact and psychological effects of conflict related injuries.
We are delighted to announce that General Sir Nick Carter has accepted our invitation to become a Vice President of The Scar Free Foundation.
The UNITS Study (Understanding Needs and Interventions For Treatment of Scarring) is a psychological project which seeks to identify the best way to support serving and ex-serving personnel and their families whose appearance has been affected by a conflict related injury.
The Study, led by the Centre for Appearance Research at the University of the West of England, is one of the projects underway at The Scar Free Foundation Centre for Conflict Wound Research.
Following His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex's recent visit to The Scar Free Foundation Centre for Conflict Wound Research, we are calling on ex-serving personnel who have sustained an appearance altering injury whilst in military conflict to take part in an important psychological project.
Yesterday our Royal Patron HRH The Countess of Wessex opened The Scar Free Foundation Centre for Conflict Wound Research. The opening received attention across both local and national media. We are delighted to share some of the key coverage from the day. All coverage can be reviewed here.
The first military and civilian wound research centre of its kind in the world was officially opened by Scar Free Foundation Patron Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham today, aiming to minimise the psychological and physical impact of scarring among armed forces personnel and civilians wounded in terrorist attacks.
The Scar Free Foundation Centre for Conflict Wound Research is a ground-breaking national facility that marks a vital step in achieving the charity’s goal of achieving scar free healing within a generation. The opening was featured across local and national media, highlights of which are available here.
Lois Collier (pictured with Scar Free Ambassadors Pam Warren and Dan Jackson) formed Scar Family after an attack which left her with scarring on her face. Lois became a Scar Free Ambassador this year and is now very involved with the Foundation.
We caught up with Lois at her first ever Scar Family event in September, from which she donated the proceeds to The Scar Free Foundation.
We describe the journey to scar free healing as like climbing a mountain, with scar free healing at the summit. Recent scientific breakthroughs, coupled with the important research we have directed to date, has meant that the summit of the mountain is now, for the first time, visible and in reach.
Our annual Showcase, hosted at the British Medical Association, brought together our research teams from Bristol and Birmingham to present on how their work contributes to this important pursuit.
We are delighted to announce that Dr David Mackie has joined The Scar Free Foundation UK Burns Research Network supported by the VTCT Foundation, as Chairman of its Advisory Panel.
Cleft lip and palate is the most common facial birth defect in the world, with approximately 1,200 children in the UK born with a cleft each year. Our Scar Free Ambassador, Ana Hobbs, whose daughter Abigail was born with a cleft palate, is a vital member of the Cleft Collective Advisory Panel.
The Panel oversees The Scar Free Foundation Cleft Gene Bank & Cohort Study at the University of Bristol. With over 2,000 families recruited to it, the study provides unprecedented insight into the genetic and environmental factors behind cleft, will inform new treatments, and help us to better understand the life-long impact of cleft.
Having been on the Advisory Panel for just over a year, we caught up with Ana to find out more about her experience, and why a parent’s point of view for this research is so important.
In April this year we hosted a reception at the Ministry of Defence Main Building in London. The event brought together our Ambassadors and volunteers along with our researchers and clinicians, and provided information on how they could contribute to our scar free mission.
The Scar Free Foundation has committed to fund the work of the Cleft & Craniofacial Conditions Clinical Studies Group (CCC CSG), in partnership with the Craniofacial Society of Great Britain and Ireland, for a further three years. Part of the National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network for Children, the CCC CSG provides cleft and craniofacial researchers with advice on study development, at any stage but in particular at the initial stages of planning and study design.
We are delighted that Andy Helliwell will be running this year's Milton Keynes Marathon for The Scar Free Foundation. Please consider donating here. We caught up with Andy to find out how training was going and to find out his motivation for supporting our work.
With lead funding from HM Treasury and J P Moulton Charitable Foundation, we will later this year open The Scar Free Foundation Centre for Conflict Wound Research. The Centre, based at the University of Birmingham, will bring together uniformed and civilian scientists and clinicians to investigate how the body heals and protects itself following the types of trauma common to conflicts (chemical, burn, and blast injury) and to spearhead the development of new treatments, from the point of injury through to rehabilitation. Ahead of opening, our Office and Finance Manager Amanda made her first visit to Birmingham to meet the team who will be leading the research, and to see the new labs in which the Centre will be housed.
Armed Forces Personnel and Veterans to play leading role in Scar Free Future - thanks to new £4.5 million UK-first research centre.
Our summer reception, at the Royal College of Surgeons of England, focused on the vital research we direct in the treatment of children's burns and scars.
Professor Naiem Moiemen (pictured right with Principal Researcher Robert Dinsdale) is Director of The Scar Free Foundation Centre for Burns Research at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital. We spoke to Naiem about SIFTI-II (Scientific Investigation of the Biological Pathways Following Thermal Injury), a major cohort study which is investigating what happens in the body following a serious burn injury, and tracks the cellular processes behind scarring.
In March we held our first supporter event of the year at the historic Henry VIII Wine Cellar, housed deep within the Ministry of Defence building in Whitehall. The venue is, along with Banqueting House, all that remains of the once magnificent Whitehall Palace. The evening, hosted by Chief of Defence People General Richard Nugee, celebrated the close association between The Scar Free Foundation and the Armed Forces.
Professor Peter Weissberg CBE (pictured left) was today appointed as Chairman of The Scar Free Foundation's Research Council. As the former Medical Director of the British Heart Foundation Professor Weissberg brings unparalleled experience of driving breakthrough medical and scientific research. Professor Weissberg takes over from Professor Sir John Temple (pictured right), who has held the Chairmanship since 2004 and has recently been appointed President of the British Medical Association.
Dr Amber Young is a Consultant Paediatric Anaesthetist at University Hospital Bristol and is the clinical lead for The Scar Free Foundation Centre for Children's Burns Research. We spoke to Amber about a new dressing that detects infection through a simple colour change. This dressing is currently being trialed in collaboration with Professor Toby Jenkins (pictured with Amber) and the University of Bath.
The Scar Free Foundation will shortly be launching a call
for applications for the 2017 Scar Free Foundation Student Elective Awards.
We are seeking experienced academic supervisors to support recipients of Elective funding.
Professor Sir Bruce Keogh has become Chairman of The Scar Free Foundation. Sir Bruce, National Medical Director of NHS England and a Scar Free Foundation Trustee since 2014, took over from Stuart Rose, Lord Rose of Monewden, at a meeting of the Board on Tuesday 18 October 2016.
An international audience of burns professionals, researchers and academics joined members of The Scar Free Foundation Children’s Burns Research Centre in Bristol on 1 July to share and develop recent and emerging research work in the area of paediatric burns.
Over 200 guests attended the launch of the private stage of The Scar Free Appeal at St James’s Palace yesterday evening where the charity’s Patron, HRH The Countess of Wessex, spoke movingly of her experiences meeting survivors of scarring and disfiguring conditions.
A £1 million donation has boosted The Scar Free Foundation’s ambition to deliver Scar Free therapies within a generation, just as the charity launches its £24 million Scar Free Appeal.