A charity clinic which helps former cancer patients suffering with side-effects in South Cumbria has been given a £20,000 lifeline from Barrow’s Sir John Fisher Foundation.
The money will enable the Late Effects Pelvic Radiation Disease Clinic at Rosemere Cancer Centre, South Cumbria and Lancashire’s regional specialist cancer treatment and radiotherapy centre at the Royal Preston Hospital, to keep on treating patients.
The clinic opened in February of last year and it was feared it would not continue due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Charity Rosemere Cancer Foundation agreed to fund its set up and running costs for its first three years – a commitment of £283,521.
After that time, it was expected that the clinic would be self-financing, receiving payment from hospital trusts across South Cumbria and Lancashire in return for treating hundreds of patients.
However, the pandemic has severely hit Rosemere Cancer Foundation’s ability to fundraise and reduced the number of patients seeking help.
The charity’s chief officer Dan Hill said: “The award from the Sir John Fisher Foundation is a lifeline for the PRD Clinic.
“The clinic is a project we have wanted to undertake for many years as our whole focus is about improving the lives of local cancer patients whether they are present or past patients. We were delighted when its doors opened last February.
“Little did we know then how spectacularly bad the timing would prove to be.”
Around half of all patients who undergo radical radiotherapy to the pelvic area for cancers such as cervical, womb and other gynaecological cancers, prostate cancer and bowel and bladder cancers, are likely to be left with life impacting side-effects to some degree post their treatment.
With just under 1,000 new patients from across the two counties undergoing radical pelvic radiotherapy annually at Rosemere Cancer Centre – roughly a quarter from the Barrow peninsula and other areas of the South Lakes – plus those who have been putting up with PRD symptoms for years, there are thousands of potential patients living locally for the clinic to treat.
Dan said: “We know that some former patients put up with some pretty miserable side-effects as a trade-off for being cancer-free but they needn’t.
“I would urge anyone suffering PRD symptoms to simply contact their consultant and ask for a clinic referral. It could make a big difference to their quality of life.
“They owe it to themselves, their families and organisations such as the Sir John Fisher Foundation, which has given us this money because it wants to help patients live their best life.”
David Dawson, executive of the Sir John Fisher Foundation, said: “The board of trustees is pleased to be able to fund support during this difficult period for those suffering from the effects of Pelvic Radiation Disease in the Lancashire and South Cumbria area.
“We have a history of supporting the fantastic work carried out by Rosemere Cancer Foundation and our hope is that those who find themselves needing further help do come forward.”
Besides the funding from the Sir John Fisher Foundation, Rosemere Cancer Foundation has also received grant awards for the PRD Clinic from other South Lakes championing charities, including the Taylor, Newton & Hibbert Charity, which supports causes working to improve the lives of its parish residents, and the Harold and Alice Bridges Charity.
In addition, there have been further grants from the Lancashire Responding COVID-19 Community Support Fund, the Duchy of Lancaster Benevolent Fund, the Hospital Saturday Fund and The Medicash Foundation.
Rosemere Cancer Foundation works to bring world class cancer treatments and services to cancer patients from throughout South Cumbria and Lancashire being treated not only at Rosemere Cancer Centre but also at another eight local hospital cancer units across the two areas.
The charity funds cutting edge equipment, research, training and other cancer services and therapies that the NHS is unable to afford.