The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Volunteer praised for inspirational action and presented award by patient he helped

14 November 2023

Volunteer Mike shaking hands with nominee David Mike Sandford, a volunteer at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust for eight months, was presented with an Inclusive Recognition of Inspirational Staff, IRIS, award by the patient he looked after during a recent visit, at a heart-warming reunion of the pair.

IRIS awards are presented to two colleagues in the Trust each month from a selection of more than 40 nominees. They can be nominated by anyone, staff or public. Mike Sandford was nominated by David Johannes, for going above and beyond at a time when he took a turn for the worst during an Outpatients appointment.

David wrote in his award recommendation,

“I was in hospital waiting to be bleeped to come up for some chemo when I was struck with severe chest pain. I staggered over to reception where, before I even had the chance to ask for help, Mike jumped into action. He immediately provided me with a wheelchair because he could see I was struggling and then wheeled me over to the appropriate department for treatment. Mike stayed by my side for hours on end, comforting me, entertaining me and generally keeping me calm whilst the doctors figured out what was wrong with me.

“There's going the extra mile and then there's Mike who gave me every bit of his attention whilst I went through a rather uncomfortable ordeal. When I was leaving the hospital several days later, he greeted me like an old friend.”

“All I can say is I've never felt so well looked after and cared for. He's a wonderful human being.”

Mike was celebrated at a small event hosted by Deputy Chief Nurse Breeda Columb. He received his award in addition to enjoying tea and cakes as part of his thank you.

MikeSandford IRIS team


The IRIS Award is an opportunity to say ‘Thank You’ by sharing a story of how a member of our health care team has made a difference that will never be forgottenThe IRIS flower symbolises wisdom, gratitude and respect which represent the qualities demonstrated by all our IRIS award winners.

The trophy is a reminder of our appreciation and recognition for the hard work and difference made every day to patients and staff.

To find out more about nominating someone for an IRIS award, see here.