Cancer centre at Southampton General Hospital set to open and it's all thanks to you (From Daily Echo)
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Fundraising appeal smashes target
12:30pm Wednesday 28th August 2013 in New Forest
AT last we have got it – and it is all thanks to you!
After more than four years of tireless fundraising, an endless stream of donations and non-stop wacky adventures that got the pulses racing, blood cancer patients in Southampton now have a state-of-the-art unit where they can be treated in comfort and without fear of infection.
From those brave enough to shave their heads, to tasty cake sales, daring parachute jumps and gruelling cycle challenges, Daily Echo readers have been through it all to make this unit a reality for those fighting blood conditions.
Without you and your dedication to making this long-held dream a success, this specialist unit would not be on the verge of opening its doors to its very first blood cancer patients.
And because you have played such a pivotal role in seeing the Red & White Appeal smash its £1.76m target well ahead of its Christmas deadline, we have the first exclusive look at what your generous donations have made possible.
The Daily Echo has been the first to get a sneak peak of the new unit, ahead of its official opening today.
The final finishing touches still need to be made, but the impressive unit is a world away from the cramped conditions patients are used too – boasting the latest technology, spacious treatment areas and a feelgood factor that makes the years of hard fundraising all worthwhile.
Suzie Simmons, fundraising manager for Southampton Hospital Charity, which ran the appeal, said: “I cannot believe that this is the unit we have been fundraising for, for so long.
“Having worked on the project for such a long time it is so exciting to finally see it become a reality and know that patients and staff are going to benefit so much from it.
“We particularly want to say a big thank you to all the Daily Echo readers who have supported this appeal from the very beginning.”
Currently patients have to go to another area of Southampton General Hospital and share facilities with patients suffering from solid tumour cancers.
But as the number of patients needing treatment has soared, the clinics have become very overcrowded, causing more stress and more importantly putting blood cancer patients, who have low immune systems, at risk of more infections that could seriously compromise their recovery.
The new unit is vital in ensuring that these patients, who have already battled so hard to fight the disease, get the very best quality care without putting them in unnecessary risk.
Walking through the double doors of the unit you are immediately met with bright colours and lots of space, offering a sense of calm to patients, who due to their treatments will have to visit on numerous occasions, each time for several hours.
Joan Newman, clinical nurse specialist, said: “We’re excited to be so close to moving into the new day case unit which is now located next to our in-patient service.
“This will enable us to provide seamless care for patients throughout their treatment in a new, bright and comfortable environment.
So many people have supported the appeal. We want to send them our heartfelt thanks because it would not have been possible without them.”
The new unit boasts a dedicated Pentamidine Suite which is twice the size of the current one used by patients and has windows, to the delight of staff who have been desperate to offer patients a more comfortable sealed facility to have the treatment, which involves gas being pumped into the room.
Along the corridor there is the hospital’s first Apheresis Suite, another specialist treatment that allows this group of patients to be treated in one area where they have all the latest machines to provide the best care, plus privacy windows, which at a flick of a switch can be frosted over.
There are two individual rooms for those patients who need privacy, a large consulting room and an open plan treatment bay which can treat up to eight patients, who will sit in green leather comfy chairs while receiving chemotherapy.
Suzie added: “We have been fundraising for several years and it has culminated in this fantastic new unit being open for our patients.
“It’s a dedicated, stateof- the-art unit that has been designed purely with the needs of haematology patients in mind, so that’s patients with blood conditions such as leukaemia and other lifethreatening blood cancers.
“Obviously this was fit for purpose but with more and more people surviving these cancers and more and more treatments being able to be done on a day case basis, the demand on that unit has been pushed over the years and so it is a very busy unit.
“Quite often people have to stand in the waiting area because there are so many people, so having this dedicated facility is going to make a significant difference, not only to the haematology patients who get a lovely new unit but also to the oncology patients who get a bit more room in their current unit.
“It has been a long journey that’s been supported by fantastic people along the way and it is a really momentous occasion to be here in this lovely new unit knowing that our patients are going to benefit from it, which is a fabulous feeling.”
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