Merton’s fearless medics swing into action at charity abseil

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A trio of fearless health champions, including two GPs, swung into action at a charity abseil at Wimbledon AFC and raised over £1,000 for the Dons Local Action Group.

Dr Mohan Sekeram from Wide Way Medical Practice raised £180 and his abseiling partner, Barry Causer from Merton Public Health, raised £250 in their joint abseil down the side of Wimbledon AFC stadium in Plough Lane. Dr Laura Jarvie from the Nelson Medical Practice raised a magnificent £600 in sponsorship money.

Set up in 2020, as a grassroots response to Covid, the Dons Local Action Group provides digital, food, and furniture support to hard-pressed members of the local community. Over the past two years, it has distributed the equivalent of £1.6m in support including 555 metric tonnes of food.

Dr Laura said: “I knew my amazing team from South West Merton PCN were cheering me on at the bottom so I decided to go for it! They were busy checking blood pressures and talking to Merton residents about keeping their hearts healthy. I know my heart was pounding as I went over the edge!” 

Dr Mohan said: “It was great doing the abseil alongside Barry. As members of the Merton healthcare community, we want to show people that we really do believe that physical activity is the key to keeping healthy and well – and having fun.”

Promoting healthy living

There was a strong health presence at the local day, with lead local GP Dr Vasa Gnanapragasam joining Community Champions and Merton Council staff on a stand promoting a wide range of healthy living information.  Covid-19 vaccinations were also available and during the day received a total of seven jabs including 2nd doses, boosters and spring boosters..

A team of GPs from South West Merton Primary Care Network were checking blood pressures and talking to residents about cardiovascular health. This is the leading cause of death in men, but preventable by maintaining a healthy blood pressure and cholesterol.

The Family Fun Day was also an opportunity for Dr Mohan to tell people about the benefits of losing weight. “Six out of ten people in the UK are either overweight or obese,” he said. “This is literally the biggest issue for health at the moment because of the overall effect on people’s health and well being.

“It was a great opportunity to tell people about what services are available in Merton to help people manage their weight and prevent Type 2 Diabetes.”