Blackpool schoolgirl Niamh Wilson has been cooking up support for a campaign to open a UK first at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
The 10-year-old came up with her own recipe to raise money towards the country’s first ever acute cancer triage unit at the town’s Victoria Hospital (BVH) – baking cakes to sell to fellow pupils at Roseacre Primary Academy.
Helped by mum Karen Darby and classmates Maisie Goodson, Megan Bennett, Aimee Gale and Sophie Azzopardi, Niamh cooked up delicious treats which raised £234 for Rosemere Cancer Foundation.
Along with Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s own charity Blue Skies, Rosemere aims to raise the £150,000 needed to convert a disused operating theatre at the rear of the hospital’s Oncology and Haematology Day Units into a 999 call or walk-in assessment and treatment centre – exclusively for cancer patients.
Karen said: “Niamh loves baking and loves helping others. It’s in her nature. She’s been raising money for cancer charities for about four years since her grandad Wilson was diagnosed with the disease.
“He underwent treatment at Rosemere Cancer Centre and is now in remission. Niamh is always trying to think of new ways to help raise money and is so pleased with the cake sale as she has never raised that amount before. We’re all so proud of her and I’m sure there’ll be more bake sales in the future.”
The new unit, which will be run by doctors and nurses from the hospital’s Acute Oncology Team and which is scheduled to open later this year, will enable local cancer patients to receive immediate specialist care, by-passing the Vic’s busy A&E department they currently attend, if their condition worsens, they fall ill or suffer treatment side-effects.
It is estimated more than 500 local cancer patients a year will benefit from attending the new acute cancer triage unit, relieving pressure on A&E. The number of patients needing hospital admission is also expected to fall. The incidence of cancer in Blackpool is around seven per cent higher than the regional average and 20 per cent higher than the national average.