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Teenage Cancer Trust dream of new unit for suffers becomes reality thanks to charity campaign
12:20pm Saturday 5th October 2013 in News
IT has been a six-year community effort that has seen everything from cake sales to world records.
Thousands of people have dug deep to help the dream of a state-of-the-art, ten-bed unit for young cancer patients in Southampton become a reality.
Today we can reveal that the Daily Echo-backed campaign has reached its £2.4m target.
The public will now see the fruits of their fundraising with news that construction work on the Teenage Cancer Trust’s unit for 16 to 24-yearold’s at Southampton General Hospital is now complete.
Building work at the Teenage Cancer Trust Unit in Southampton.
Treating young people from Hampshire, Dorset, the Channel Islands, South Wiltshire, the Isle of Wight and West Sussex, the aim was to create a home from home feel that could help put young people at ease.
It will also be somewhere where they can be treated alongside people their own age and have facilities including en-suite inpatient bedrooms where family members or a friend can stay over.
Teenagers who have spent time in hospital for cancer treatment gave their input to its design, which includes social and recreation areas with a kitchen and dining facility plus a communal sitting room.
One day music festival in aid of the Bradleys Foundation supporting the Teenage Cancer Trust.
Since the campaign was launched in 2007 fundraisers have taken on a variety of activities and challenges to do their bit to make the dream come true – from the exhausting to the wacky.
There have been English Channel swims, mammoth cycle rides, marathon running, golf days and sports tournaments.
Pupils at Priestlands School who broke a record for the most amount of people standing on one foot.
Construction started back in December and staff are busy preparing for the unit’s opening and checking all the equipment ahead of an official opening ceremony in a few months’ time.
But campaigners have warned that the battle to help young people with cancer continues and ongoing funds will be needed to maintain the unit and the vital work it does.
Artist's impressions of the Teenage Cancer Trust Unit.
A Teenage Cancer Trust spokeswoman said: “It’s fantastic news. We wouldn’t have been able to do it without the support of local groups and local residents.
“But even though we have raised that money the fundraising doesn’t stop.
“It’s not ‘job over’ now, that’s why we need communities to continue supporting us.”
The trust has funded, built and now maintains 23 units across the UK, but plans to build a further nine facilities.
Though the Hampshire unit is open the charity says it needs further funding to maintain it as well as fund specialist staff and support the work of its free cancer awareness sessions in schools, colleges and universities across the south.
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