Charity celebrates £2m milestone as south west specialist cancer unit takes shape

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Pupils of William House at Malmesbury School raised £10,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust's specialist cancer unit in the south west Pupils of William House at Malmesbury School raised £10,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust's specialist cancer unit in the south west

More than £10,000 has been contributed to the Teenage Cancer Trust by fundraising pupils at Malmesbury School.

The trust is celebrating today after raising £2 million towards the construction of a £2.5m specialist cancer unit for young people in the south west, which will be the first of its kind in the region and will benefit Wiltshire’s young people.

Liam Condon, head of William House at Malmesbury School, said: “Swimming the length of the English Channel, running 100 miles in under an hour, donating enough hair to make half-a-dozen wigs, the list goes on and on.

“We are so proud to have raised over £10,000 on behalf of the Teenage Cancer Trust, helping teenagers by being teenagers.”

The trust’s total was boosted by a recent donation of £250,000 from the Garfield Weston Foundation, and a further £500,000 is now needed to complete the unit.

The charity is urging people across the region to help by taking part in its £1,000 challenge, aiming to recruit 500 individuals, groups, schools and businesses to work with their friends and colleagues to each raise £1,000 by early 2014.

Laura Scowen, Teenage Cancer Trust fundraiser, said: “We’ve been blown away by the generosity of local communities here but we still have a long way to go.

“We need everyone to get behind our £1,000 Challenge to give us the last push we need to reach our £2.5m total.

“There are loads of ways you can get involved, like signing up for the Bath Half Marathon or joining the Jurassic Coast Challenge. Teenagecancertrust.org has all the details.”

The Teenage Cancer Trust unit is being built at Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre. Due to open in early 2014, it will allow young people aged 16 to 24 from Bristol, Devon, Cornwall, Somerset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire, to be treated for the first time with others of their own age in an environment suited to their needs.

Every day in the UK, around seven young people are told they have cancer and over 200 are diagnosed across the south west every year.

The Teenage Cancer Trust unit is being built over two floors with one floor dedicated to inpatients featuring five en-suite rooms, a social area full of gaming and entertainment equipment, quiet room, TV room, kitchen and dining space.

The other floor will be for day patients, featuring three treatment pods, two consulting rooms, a procedure room, social space, waiting area with cafe and staff office.

Construction is on schedule and in recent weeks all the walls have been plastered, the IT and AV equipment has been wired in and the nursing station is almost complete. Once opened, the Bristol unit will complement the existing 27 units the charity has already built in NHS hospitals across the UK.

The Teenage Cancer Trust plans to build a further five across the country and is also funding a network of staff across the region, which includes a teenage and young adult lead nurse and youth support coordinator.

The lead nurse is responsible for developing and providing excellent clinical care, as well as complementing existing services for young people and their families.

The youth support coordinator helps young people share their experiences and fears with each other, encourages them to socialise by arranging activities and outings and runs a peer support group.

The charity has also adopted teenage and young adult specialist nurses who operate from six designated hospitals across the South West, providing support to young people with cancer no matter where they live.

To get involved in Teenage Cancer Trust’s £1,000 Challenge and to find out more about joining the Jurassic Coast Challenge or Bath Half Marathon, email katie.crossey@teenagecancertrust.org or call 07507 600286. More information about the unit appeal is at visit www.teenagecancertrust.org/southwest

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