A YOUNG man who was successfully treated for cancer at Basildon University Hospital was the guest of honour at the official opening of the newly- renovated children’s oncology room.
The improvements were carried out thanks to the generosity of an Orsett- based charity and three local businesses. They include new furniture, electronics, lights and sensory equipment and the bathroom being changed into a wet room. The oncology room has also been completely redecorated
Thomas Clews, aged 15, received treatment for leukaemia for three and a half years. Yesterday (Monday 13 Feb) he returned to the oncology room on Wagtail Ward in Basildon Hospital, with his parents Kim and Steven, to see the new facilities.
Tom was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2013 and was under the care of Great Ormond Street Hospital in London and Basildon Hospital, where he attended for regular chemotherapy sessions until November 2016.
His mother, Kim, said: “It was a terrible shock when he was diagnosed as he had been very well up until then. The care on the children’s wards and support for the families in Basildon Hospital was outstanding; coming back today is like seeing family. It was a wonderful atmosphere thanks to everyone, including the doctors, nurses, schoolroom and lunch staff and cleaners.
“We noticed a real improvement in the facilities that will make a huge difference for people in our situation, such as being able to give a child a shower in the wet room when they are too weak to stand. The lighting is lovely; it feels very calming.”
Tom added: “The oncology room is amazing now it has been refurbished. It’s been done very well to appeal to a mix of age groups and I’m glad other patients will have this.”
Tom is now very well and has returned to secondary school. During his illness he kept up with his school work and even managed to take a GCSE two years early.
MCA Trust, a charity that supports children with brain-related cancers, agreed to fund the renovation of the children’s oncology room, where treatments such as chemotherapy are given to young patients.
The trust was set up in memory of Michael Charles Adams, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2010 and passed away soon after. While receiving treatment, he said he wanted to make a difference for local children who were suffering as he was. He didn’t have time to fulfil his wish, but his family and friends set up the MCA Trust in his name.
The charity visited Basildon Hospital over Christmas 2015 to donate presents to the children’s wards and discussed with the Polly Parrot fundraising team the prospect of supporting the oncology services, in particular the oncology room which was in need of refurbishment.
Helen Mattock, capital accountant and fundraiser, said: “We were delighted to hear from MCA Trust that they had generously agreed to fund the project, costing approximately £16,000.
There was more good news when Basildon-based kitchen company Howdens Joinery donated units for a new kitchen for the use of patients and families, fitters MJ Ferguson from Billericay installed the wet room and GMD from Southend carried out redecoration work.
Jackie Hargreaves, paediatric oncology nurse, said: “We are so grateful to all our donors for giving these wonderful new facilities that will make such a difference for our young patients and their families.”
If you would like to hold an event for the Polly Parrot fundraising appeal or any other department within Basildon and Orsett Hospitals, please contact the charity team on 01268 524900 ext 2894 or 2891 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.