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Hope for Tomorrow launches its first Chemotherapy in the Community Week to keep Mobile Chemotherapy Unit on the road - 26 November 2014

Hope for Tomorrow launches its first Chemotherapy in the Community Week to keep Mobile Chemotherapy Unit on the road - 26 November 2014

A charity which launched the world’s first Mobile Chemotherapy Unit (MCU) is celebrating bringing chemotherapy treatment closer to home for hundreds of cancer patients across Somerset since 2010.

Hope for Tomorrow provided its first Mobile Unit to the NHS in Gloucestershire in 2007 and since then has provided seven more Mobile Chemotherapy Units (MCUs) to NHS Trusts across England, including Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust.

Since its launch in December 2010, Hope for Tomorrow’s MCU has travelled to West Mendip, Minehead, Bridgwater and Chard, drastically reducing the stress of driving for appointments for chemotherapy at the Beacon Centre, for both patients and their loved ones. Each MCU treats up to 20 patients a day, delivering around 2,000 treatments a year.

Thanks to Hope for Tomorrow, cancer patients living in rural counties across England, including Somerset, have been saved from travelling 500,000 miles for chemotherapy over the past seven years.

Each MCU costs the charity a staggering £260,000 to build and maintain for three years. The interiors were designed with help from cancer patients and some MCUs have been named after a local person who has battled the disease. Hope for Tomorrow also supplies each Trust with a car so chemotherapy nurses can travel between the Beacon Centre and the MCU’s rural locations.

On 1 December Hope for Tomorrow launches its first Chemotherapy in the Community campaign to raise the £12,000 annual running costs to keep each MCU on the road, and to donate more MCUs to more NHS Trusts across the UK.

Former Bond-girl, actress Fiona Fullerton is supporting the campaign. Fiona said: “My grandmother died of breast cancer, my husband's first wife died of ovarian cancer and two of my dearest girlfriends have been recently diagnosed, which has shocked me greatly.

“I know how much additional stress having to travel long distances for chemotherapy can impact on people already battling hard against this hideous disease. By bringing cancer treatment closer to home, it not only saves patients travelling long distances, but it removes the additional stress of having to go to hospital. By spreading the word about Hope for Tomorrow and raising vital funds, one day we will see Mobile Chemotherapy Units all over the UK.”

To help keep the Somerset MCU on the road, join Hope for Tomorrow’s Chemotherapy in the Community week, supported by Pierre Fabre UK, starting on 1 December by organising a fund-raising event, or simply help spread the word about the charity. The charity will supply useful fund-raising packs and ideas. Find out more at http://www.hopefortomorrow.org.uk/

Case study:

Louise Doolan from Minehead was diagnosed with breast cancer just weeks before her 40th birthday. Initially, she had to travel 25 miles each way for chemotherapy at the main Oncology Centre.

She says: “It not only took up time, but also the cost of fuel and parking. Plus the more chemo cycles I had, the sicker and more spaced out I felt afterwards, so the journey home was not an enjoyable one.

“Then the Mobile Chemotherapy Unit (MCU) came to where I lived and it meant so much to me to have more time at home than at hospital. I had three sessions on the Unit and wished I could have had more. Unfortunately my treatment required me to have the other four at the Oncology Centre.

“I enjoyed going to the MCU, strange to enjoy it I know, but it meant so much. I was able to have a sensible time for my appointment, so I could take my son to nursery and literally be driven round the corner straight to the MCU. The Unit was bright, clean and welcoming. I enjoyed meeting Dick the driver and chatting with him and having a laugh. The nurses were great as always.

“One lady who came for treatment only needed an injection and I thought then how great the MCU is. Imagine having to do a 50 mile trip for that.

“The experience on the Unit let me have 'something normal' during something that wasn't. I was on home ground in an area I felt comfortable in. I wasn't surrounded by lots of patients having chemo, which I must say freaked me out a bit at the Oncology Centre.

“I love what Hope for Tomorrow gave me and I hope a Mobile Chemotherapy Unit can be in every county for everyone who needs it. Thank you!"