Chemotherapy Outreach Service sees boost from local businesses

February 15th, 2012 | By Clare Levy

The local Chemotherapy Outreach Project, providing treatment to cancer patients in the more accessible location of South Hams Hospital, Kingsbridge, has been given a boost following the acquisition of a dedicated vehicle, which will enable staff and equipment to be easily transported from Derriford Hospital to the local centre.

Brian Lavender of Oakley Developments has been working with local campaigner Deb Ward and the NHS for the past 10 months to gain full support for the provision of this vehicle, made possible by the financial commitment of four local businesses based in Hannaford’s Landing, Island Street, Salcombe. These include the popular restaurant Island Street Bar & Grill (www.islandstreet.co.uk), the family run marine engineer and boat specialist Reddish Marine (www.reddish-marine.co.uk) and the holiday cottage lettings agency Coast & Country Cottages (www.coastandcountry.co.uk), who offer over 425 self-catering properties exclusively in South Devon.

The C20 Volkswagen maxi window van will transport two fully qualified chemotherapy nurses and their equipment to the South Hams hospital each week. This valuable service will enable patients who live in the South Hams area and who are eligible for outreach chemotherapy to receive their treatment locally, without having to endure the sixty mile round trip to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth. The treatments take place on the same day as the Triangle Drop in Cancer Support Centre at the local community hospital, which offers support, information, complementary therapies and counselling to both patients and families.

The van will also be used in community hospitals in Tavistock and Liskeard, helping cancer patients in those areas. Says Andrew Jones of Coast & Country Cottages, ‘Having watched my own mum undergo chemotherapy treatment in 2011, and seeing the demands this treatment makes, not only on the patient but the whole family, we are very happy to have contributed towards a vehicle designed to make coping with the treatment required easier for patients and their families.’

Deb Ward, from Malborough, near Salcombe has worked tirelessly to help raise funds for the Chemotherapy Outreach project and to promote awareness of the service and the Triangle Centre within her local community. She says ‘the van will make such a difference to the lives of those living locally who are having this treatment. Chemotherapy can be a very unpleasant experience, and is exhausting both physically and emotionally. Having treatment closer to home can relieve a lot of unnecessary stress, both for the patient and their loved ones.’ She adds ‘We are all delighted that this provision is now in place, and we are sure it will benefit many patients and families in the area.’

Deb would love to hear from anyone who has a fundraising idea or wishes to make a donation and can be contacted on 07929 969244. Donations can be made via the website www.chemooutreachproject.co.uk, where you can also find out more information about the charity.