If you’ve been reading this blog for a long time, you may remember (although I don’t really expect you to, don’t worry) that I have some issues with the ‘word’ GUCH’, which stands for ‘Grown Up Congenital Heart’ and is also part of the acronym GUCH PA, which stands for ‘Grown Up Congenital Heart Patients Association’. A bit of a mouthful, so it often gets shortened, but who on earth knows what GUCH stands for apart from the people who are ‘GUCHs’ or already involved with the GUCH PA? It’s a bit like this echo-chamber thing librarians keep writing about on Twitter. And then there’s the patronising nature of the phrase ‘Grown Up’, but perhaps the less said about that the better…
Anyway, I can stop complaining about it now, because the powers that be have decided to change the name of GUCH PA. From the 1st of June, it will be called The Somerville Foundation. I like this change of name, because (a) it’s not GUCH and (b) it has a nice air of gravitas. I know this latter might sound like me being snobby about it, but, as the chairman of GUCH PA has said, we need to be able to engage more people with our cause, people who don’t know what GUCH means, and people who are more likely to respond to an organisation with a name that sounds a bit more like it is serious about what it’s doing. Also, I think it’s good to recognise the work of Professor Jane Somerville (for she is the ‘Somerville’ in question) through the name of the organisation. She has worked tirelessly for people with congenital heart defects for many years, and was (as the chairman also said) one of the driving forces behind the foundation of GUCH PA, 18 years ago.
GUCH PA started off (as most similar organisations do) as a small group of people supporting one another. I remember the early days, when the newsletter was 2 sides of A4 if you were lucky, and now we have a lovely shiny magazine, a website and, this year a blog. We’re on Twitter and Facebook and all sorts! [Presumably the name will be changed on all these things as well!] It’s been really good to see the organisation grow and develop, and it’s become an excellent source of support and information for people all over the world. Personally, I’ve met some lovely people, received support whenever I’ve asked for it, and learned more than I ever thought possible about such things as cardiac imaging and catheter intervention, thanks to GUCH National Conferences! GUCH PA/The Somerville Foundation is something I’m glad to be a part of, whatever its name.
May The Somerville Foundation go from strength to strength.