“You did it - you are amazing! Thank you so much.”
These are the delighted words from Rosemere Cancer Foundation’s chief officer Sue Thompson on receiving the confirmation that the charity’s 20 Years Anniversary Appeal has achieved its £1.5m target.
Rosemere’s 20th birthday appeal was launched in the Lancashire Post in March last year to fund a trio of ground-breaking projects to mark the opening of Rosemere Cancer Centre at the Royal Preston Hospital and the regional specialist cancer treatment centre.
Charity bosses have now revealed the appeal will roll to take advantage of the opportunity to make the completed project even better by making greater improvements to the cancer centre’s inpatient Ribblesdale ward.
Sue Thompson, chief officer of the Rosemere Cancer Foundation, explains: “When we first discussed marking the cancer centre’s 20th birthday with an appeal to make improvements to it, we asked the medical staff working within it to tells us what projects they thought would bring the most benefit to patients.
“They came back with three suggestions. The first was bringing the world’s most advanced robotic surgical system the Da Vinci Xi to the centre so that patients needing operations, even in difficult to access parts of the body, could benefit from its keyhole precision and be spared from conventional, open wound surgery.
“Through the appeal, that’s been done and since its arrival last May, the robot has already been used in more than 200 procedures including a number of firsts outside of London.
“The second ask was to better link the cancer centre with the worldwide quest to find new and improved treatments to combat cancer.
“This has also been achieved through the appeal’s funding of an oncology research co-ordinator to be based at the Lancashire Clinical Research Facility which opened in the grounds of the Royal Preston Hospital last November.
“The appeal has funded the research facility’s path lab and pharmacy and furnished it with chemotherapy chairs.
“It means more local patients than ever before can now be offered the opportunity to become involved in a clinical trial accessing the latest treatments well before they are available on the NHS.”
Sue says the final ask of the appeal was to pay for improvements to the Ribblesdale Ward and now there is the chance to make these improvements even better.
Sue says: “These refurbishments were initially going to be largely cosmetic but the opportunity has now arisen for the ward and its patients to be temporarily moved out enabling a much more extensive refurbishment. It includes the creation of more age appropriate surroundings for teenage and young adult patients.
“It is all very exciting but it means we’ve been asked to raise an additional £842,000 in time for work to start next March.
“If the public’s support so far for the 20 Years Anniversary Appeal is anything to go by, we believe we can do this while continuing to fund projects at the other eight Lancashire and South Lakes hospitals in which we also work because they too treat cancer patients.
We are here to help these hospitals bring world class treatments and services to patients in just the same way as at Rosemere Cancer Centre.”
From gaming marathons to 24-hour trampoline bounce-a-thons, thousands of people of all ages throughout Lancashire and South Cumbria have undertaken fundraising challenges to raise money for the 20 Years Anniversary Appeal.
Sue herself spent a week walking from Barrow to Burnley to raise money for the appeal last summer.
En route, she called in at Furness and Westmorland General Hospitals, Lancaster Royal Infirmary, Blackpool Victoria Hospital, Rosemere Cancer Centre, Chorley and South Ribble Hospital and the Royal Blackburn and Burnley Teaching Hospitals which all have cancer units Rosemere Cancer Foundation serves.
For more information on the Ribblesdale roll-on, Rosemere Cancer Foundation’s work or to make a donation, visit: www.rosemere.org.uk