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Action Heroes help save babies like Sophie – but they need you on their team.

We’re Action Medical Research. A UK based charity dedicated to saving and changing children’s lives through medical research.

We believe we can beat diseases that devastate children’s lives. We believe we can save vulnerable babies’ lives. And we believe we can improve the lives of children living with disability and disabling conditions.

For more than 60 years, we have been funding world leading researchers – our Action Heroes – as they strive tirelessly to uncover the breakthroughs that could save and change children’s lives.

Action Heroes get results – some of our early Action Heroes helped test and develop the first UK vaccines for the deadly virus, polio. Action's research in the 1970’s and 80’s helped develop the use of ultrasound in pregnancy. And today, Dr Jo Cook is on a mission to save the lives of babies born too soon.

Research really does save children’s lives. Your ongoing support could make a lasting difference to children and families all over the UK.

Join our heroes today

Dr Jo Cook knows there's not a moment to lose.

From mission base at Imperial College London, Dr Jo Cook is using all her steely determination to look for new ways to identify if a baby is likely to be born too soon.

With you on her team of heroes, she's confident she can help create a future where fewer babies are born too early – and more babies survive.

Every year in the UK, 60,000 babies are born prematurely.

Tragically, 1,300 of those babies won't survive. Those who do could face lifelong health complications – including cerebral palsy, blindness and learning difficulties.

Dr Jo Cook is determined to unravel the mystery of why some babies are born too soon.

"In my time as a doctor on the wards, I saw first-hand the distress premature birth can cause. It drove me to take action to unravel the mystery of why some women go into labour early.

Thanks to the support of people like you, I'm now working hard to develop a simple blood test that could identify early on in pregnancy whether a woman is likely to go into labour early.

I hope that one day my work will stop babies being born too soon. I'm convinced it could help lead us to a breakthrough that will save lives."

Dr Jo Cook

Dr Jo Cook

Since 1952 our Action Heroes have been saving the lives of babies and children. Our research has helped to:

Action research in the 1970s and 80s helped develop the use of ultrasound technology in pregnancy.

It's used to monitor the baby's development and diagnose problems before birth. It's a technology that we perhaps take for granted these days. But thanks to ultrasound, the death rate for babies at the time of birth is estimated to have halved.

Some of our early Action Heroes helped pioneer polio research — helping test and develop the first UK vaccines for this deadly virus.

Thanks to their dedication and determination, children in the UK are now safe from polio.

Every year in the UK, around 3,900 babies are tragically stillborn.

Action funded researchers developed a cutting edge portable technology that reads the heart signals of a baby in the womb, allowing doctors to intervene if the baby is in trouble. This method of monitoring babies. hearts has not been possible before. Our pioneering work could save hundreds of lives.

For the last 30 years, we have invested over £1 million into a range of projects researching meningitis.

Action funded research helped establish the Hib vaccine, introduced in 1992. It has been protecting children against a previously common type of bacterial meningitis ever since.

As one of our team of Action Heroes you'll be...

Your gifts will support our Action Heroes as they tackle head on the high rate of premature birth. As they fight back against complications that threaten babies’ lives. And as they discover the best ways to care for sick babies.

Your gifts will support our Action Heroes as they strive to make the next big breakthrough in treatments for the many children and young people in the UK living with a rare disease.

Your gifts will support our Action Heroes as they take on deadly infections like meningitis.

Your gifts will support our Action Heroes as they search for new treatments and therapies to help children living with conditions such as cerebral palsy.

Will you join our team of Action Heroes?

We are currently unable to administer new Direct Debit instructions . If you would like to set up a direct debit please phone 01403 210406. We apologise for any inconvenience.

Jack was diagnosed with brain cancer at just 14 months.

Jack was just 14-months old when he was diagnosed with an aggressive tumour. He underwent extensive brain surgery to remove the cancer, before having to endure a year of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

I was beside myself. I knew my baby boy wasn't well. It's really important that more is known about this rare form of cancer. It will help other families like us. LISA, JACK'S MUM

For Jack, and his family, Dr Howell and Dr Hill are real Action Heroes. Jack is one of the lucky ones. Today this little hero is a happy and healthy little boy.

Childhood cancers continue to be a focus for our Action Heroes. We're currently funding three vital projects that will help us save the lives of more children like Jack.

Aiden is a real hero too.

When Aiden was born, he suffered a shortage of oxygen to the brain. He was whisked away to the intensive care unit where he received 'cooling therapy' a revolutionary treatment that our Action Heroes of the 1990s and 2000s played a crucial role in developing.

Using a specially-made blanket, doctors could dramatically cool Aiden's body right down to 33-35°C. The process altered the chemical process that could have otherwise led to brain damage.

As well as preventing brain damage, this life-saving innovation also reduces the risk of death and disability.

Action funded Professor John Wyatt and his team to put in the groundwork that led to clinical trials of cooling for newborns like Aiden. This innovative therapy was adopted in UK hospitals from 2010 — and has been saving and changing lives ever since.

Identifying high-risk mums could mean babies like Samuel aren't born too soon.

Samuel was born too early. Weighing just 3lbs 6oz, the doctors told parents Joanna and Will that no one could know what the future held.

Having started his life in intensive care, Samuel was able to go home after five weeks. Now three months old, he is small but thriving.

It was a hugely worrying and emotional time for us all. We didn't know what would happen to our baby. We knew that with him coming early, there was a higher chance of health complications and lifelong disabilities. Research that can discover why babies like Samuel are born early will offer hope to families like ours. JOANNA, SAMUEL'S MUM

Twins Joshua and Harry were born 15 weeks early.

Tragically, Harry died when he was just 20 hours old. Joshua survived the early birth, however, at eight days old he was rushed into surgery with a life-threatening and aggressive bowel disease, a common and major risk for babies born prematurely.

Joshua was one of the lucky ones. Surgeons diagnosed his condition early and after spending the first 17 weeks of his life in hospital, he was able to go home with his mum and dad.

Joshua is just one example of why Dr Jo Cook's research into the causes of premature birth is so important. With your support we want to increase the survival rates of more babies who are born too soon. What's more, your support could help fund research into life threatening conditions affecting vulnerable babies like Joshua.

Paddington Bear™ has been part of our team of Action Heroes since his creator, Michael Bond, met our founder, Duncan Guthrie, in 1976.

Like any Action Hero, Paddington Bear always likes to help out when he’s needed, so he agreed to support Action Medical Research as our official mascot.

Is it any wonder that we’re Paddington’s favourite UK charity? After all, our Action Heroes have helped develop treatments and technologies that have saved the lives of thousands of children, and changed the futures of many more.

Once you've filled out the donation form, look out for your welcome email with an e-reader of our Action Hero magazine, issue one. We'll send you a welcome pack in the post containing issue two along with your direct debit confirmation.

Over the coming months you'll get to hear about other amazing Action Heroes who with your support are hoping to make the next big breakthrough that could save even more children's lives.

Any questions? Want to know more? You can always call us on 01403 210406 (Mon to Fri, 9-5).

You can keep an eye on our Action Heroes and discover more about us by following us on Twitter and Facebook:

Issue One

Issue Two

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