Million reasons to be grateful after appeal

PATIENTS Jonathan Cooper and Pat Furniss went back to Weston Park Hospital - to say "thanks a million" to thousands of supporters who raised the vital cash needed for new chemotherapy facilities.

Tuesday, 11th September 2007, 5:24 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th September 2007, 9:19 am

The specialist cancer hospital in Sheffield now has bright, modern, state-of-the-art facilities to make treatment more comfortable for patients - all thanks to the 1 Million Rose Appeal.

The fund was launched in November 2004 and now, three years later, the new-look unit has been officially unveiled, to the delight of patients and staff.

Revamped facilities include a 'feel good' suite for patients to receive complementary therapies, space for relatives and friends to stay with their loved ones, and an on-site pharmacy.

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Staff will benefit by no longer having to work in cramped conditions.

Jonathan, aged 24, from Stannington, Sheffield, was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma after becoming breathless, which at first was thought to be due to asthma. The cancer diagnosis came as a shock to the Sheffield United fan, whose disease affects the lymphatic system which helps fight infection.

"The doctors said, 'Give us a year of your life and you'll be well'," he said. "It was a lot to take in."

Jonathan found chemotherapy tough, but said treatment in the new facilities was far better than in the old.

"The old facilities were dark and cramped," he said. "I was petrified and it was like going to the dentist, only worse. The new unit is much better, there is more space.

"You don't really want to have chemotherapy but it is better when there's more space for the nurses to work, and the atmosphere is more relaxed."

The trainee surveyor is ever-grateful he now has the chance to enjoy life thanks to his treatment.

"Cancer does change your outlook on life," he said. "You realise life is short and to appreciate it. I'm back at work and, playing football. I will always be really grateful for everything Weston Park has done for me."

Pat Furniss, a 52-year-old gran and mum-of-two, has been a patient at Weston Park Hospital on-and-off for four years since being diagnosed with breast cancer.

The former school cook from Wath-on-Dearne has been through surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy to tackle the disease, and is full of praise for the bright new facilities with space for a friend to stay for support.

"The decor is light and bright and much better than the old-fashioned style of the old facilities," said Pat. "It makes you feel better having someone there as you can feel quite vulnerable and it makes you feel stronger.

"It's not really like a hospital in the new unit, and you don't have to wait around for ages like you used to.

What do you think? Post your comments below. It’s always been an excellent department, now it’s even better, and I’m grateful for all the help I’ve had.”

Money for the 1 million appeal was raised through everything from marathon challenges to cake sales, and involved thousands of people from around the region.

More than 30 patients a day will receive treatment at the revamped centre, which includes a new treatment unit and waiting facilities with more space, new consulting suites designed to reduce waiting times, and more private rooms where patients can talk through their treatments.

Weston Park Hospital charity director Tarique Chowdhury said: “We would like to thank everyone who has made a donation to this most necessary appeal.”