Appeal bid for new teenage cancer unit

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Abbey Clancy and former cancer patient Ellie Neary

Abbey Clancy and former cancer patient Ellie Neary

The Teenage Cancer Trust has launched a £500,000 appeal on Merseyside for a new unit at the Alder Hey Hospital.

The trust is looking for 500 individuals, businesses, schools, groups and clubs to raise £1,000 each to reach the target. The money will then be used to fund the specialist unit for 13 to 19-year-olds battling cancer in the new hospital, Alder Hey in the Park, due to the current unit closing.

Strictly Come Dancing winner, Abbey Clancy, launched the appeal at Liverpool Town Hall.

She said: “As a mum myself this appeal is very close to my heart. These units provide a place where young people can relax, feel at home, and be normal. The amazing design and social spaces like the dining area where families can cook meals make all the difference.

“The people of Liverpool are renowned for their generosity. I am sure that they’ll make me proud to be a Liverpudlian and get behind this appeal.”

The designs of the new unit have been created with the help of teenagers to give the rooms a welcoming touch. They will have an external view so the young patients feel connected to the outside world during long treatment. Rooms will also include a pull-out sofa bed for family members to stay overnight, a TV, laptop and internet connection, as well as plenty of storage space.

Alder Hey Hospital © Wikipeia/ Creative Commons

Alder Hey Hospital © Wikipedia/ Creative Commons

Vanessa Simmons, Regional Fundraising Manager at Teenage Cancer Trust, said: “This unit has been designed for young people by young people, which means it will be a real home from home whilst they’re going through gruelling cancer treatments. It’s vitally important that we raise this money so that young people in the North West continue to receive the specialist support Teenage Cancer Trust provides.”

Ellie Neary, from Garston, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in July 2013 and finished her chemotherapy treatment last September. The 15-year-old stayed on the Teenage Cancer Trust unit. She said: “If I’d have been on a children’s ward I would have found it harder. You can’t really talk to little children properly like you can to young people your own age.

“Having the social space meant that when my boyfriend visited we could be away from the ward and hang out together like we would at home.”

The Lord Mayor, Gary Millar, has already pledged £1,000 to the trust. He tweeted: “Fab launch of @TeenageCancer with @OfficialClancy at @TownHallLpool.”

Teenage Cancer Trust is the only charity in the UK which is dedicated to improving the quality of life and chances of survival for young people who are fighting cancer. They have developed and funded 27 specialist units across the country in the last 24 years across 18 cities in the UK.

About Abi Bramhall, JMU Journalism