A campaign to build one of Britain’s first cancer A&E units at the Victoria Hospital has hit its halfway mark – with help from the sporting efforts of a local mum.
Sonya Jenkinson, 50, and her friend Carol Brown cycled for seven hours from Salford Quays’ Media City to Blackpool to raise more than £900 to be shared between the Rosemere Cancer Foundation and the Christie cancer charity.
Mum-of-two Sonya, who works at Weeton Primary School, was diagnosed with breast cancer in July 2017.
She underwent three operations and six cycles of chemotherapy at the Vic, in Whinney Heys Road, and three weeks of radiotherapy at Rosemere Cancer Centre, the region’s specialist cancer treatment centre at the Royal Preston Hospital.
She said: “I was diagnosed with grade three breast cancer, which was a shock, but I was supported through my treatment by an amazing team of consultants, doctors, nurses and radiographers.
“I had taken part in the annual Manchester to Blackpool Bike Ride, which is organised by Christie’s, back in 2013.
“I decided to do it again to raise funds not only for Christie’s but also for the new cancer triage unit to give back for the care I received, and to benefit cancer patients in the local area.
“Training for it has also given me the incentive to get fit again.”
Her donation means the Rosemere Cancer Foundation is now more than halfway to achieving its £100,000 contribution to create the new acute cancer triage unit by the end of the year.
It is working alongside the Blue Skies hospital fund to bring in £150,000 to convert a disused operating theatre at the rear of the hospital’s Oncology and Haematology Day Units into a call or walk-in assessment and treatment centre exclusively for cancer patients.
The unit will be run by doctors and nurses from the hospital’s Acute Oncology Team, and will enable cancer patients by-pass the Vic’s busy general A&E department, which they currently have to attend if their condition worsens, they fall ill or suffer treatment side-effects.
It is estimated more than 500 cancer patients a year will benefit from attending the unit, which will also have the knock-on effect of relieving pressure on A&E. The number of patients needing hospital admission is also expected to fall while treatment outcomes are anticipated to improve.