Five people in a hospital ward standing around an electronic massage chair.

Legacy gift brings relaxation to kidney and diabetes centre staff

“I want to keep my daughters’ names alive and I want to thank the NHS staff who cared for them so well. It’s time to give something back,” said Robin Das, father of Ratna and Heera, who died following complications with the auto-immune disease they both had.

Ratna and Heera had both received treatment at St. Pancras Kidney and Diabetes Centre and the Royal Free Hospital.

Robin and his wife Tripti have donated a state-of-the-art massage chair to staff at the centre. The chair boasts several types of full body massages, all perfect for a moment of relaxation before finishing a busy shift.

Robin said: “I’m forever grateful to everyone who has been involved with the care that my two daughters received over the years, especially those who are still here caring for people today. They still remember Ratna and Heera.

“Being able to give something that will benefit the staff here, to be able to treat them to something that helps is important for me, especially after the compassion and treatment we received. If you can afford to give even a small gesture of appreciation, then why not? They deserve it!”

Ratna and Heera Das both received kidney transplants as part of their treatment for auto-immune illnesses and received dialysis treatment from the centre.

Close up shot of a woman, smiling while holding flowers.
Heera was born on 5 June 1984 died in 2017 while she was reaching the completion of her PhD in speech science.
Woman in a red sari, smiling.
Ratna was born on 2 July 1982 and continued to champion better renal care education until her death in 2013.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Despite their illnesses, the pair were both academically gifted, with Ratna becoming an honorary lecturer for the kidney research education initiative at City University, following her master’s degree in molecular biology. Ratna continued to champion better renal care education until her death in 2013.

Heera followed in her sister’s footsteps, picking up a number of ballet awards and scholarship offers from a very young age. But, as a linguist at heart, Heera was proud to complete an honours degree in linguistics, followed by a master’s degree in speech and hearing. Heera died in 2017 while she was reaching the completion of her PhD in speech science.

Consultant nephrologist and medical director, Dr. Jenny Cross led the dialysis team at the Royal Free Hospital for many years and was directly involved with Ratna and Heera’s care, she said: “Ratna and Heera faced an early and severe chronic kidney disorder. Despite the disease, they showed remarkable strength, continually seeking solutions, completing high-level degrees and generally living a young person’s life. Dialysis has an impact on even the simplest things, many patients find it difficult to continue to work or study following severe renal failure, it’s incredible to see what these sisters achieved.

“Supporting and caring for patients with lifelong chronic diseases often leads to unique and special relationship being formed between patients, families and staff. The contribution that the Das family has made in the support of staff that work within the renal unit is so important. Supporting the wellbeing of our staff allows them to continue to find the resilience and personal strength to care for patients in the most holistic sense. The massage chair donated by Robin and Tripti will have a lasting benefit to our staff and allow them to provide care for future patients.”

Robin has also decided to leave a gift in his will, following his positive experience with the renal ward at the Royal Free Hospital. Reflecting on the lasting impact of the sisters’ legacy, Robin said: “They lived a short life, but their names will live a longer one”.

Lead photo: Robin and Tripti Das, with deputy director of public fundraising, Catherine Sykes, presenting the massage chair to Raymond and Benny who work on the renal unit.