Vital service for cancer patients reopens in Hartlepool thanks to charity

From left to right, Jan Harley (lead cancer nurse), Alan Chandler (Macmillan iformation and survivorship manager), Anil Agarwal (consultant surgeon), Tony Larkin (founder of MusicvCancer), Gill Trainer (colorectal nurse specialist) and Angela Lee (specialist nurse).
From left to right, Jan Harley (lead cancer nurse), Alan Chandler (Macmillan iformation and survivorship manager), Anil Agarwal (consultant surgeon), Tony Larkin (founder of MusicvCancer), Gill Trainer (colorectal nurse specialist) and Angela Lee (specialist nurse).

Cancer patients and their families in Hartlepool have been handed a major boost after a vital support unit reopened thanks to help from a local charity.

The Cancer Information Centre, at the University Hospital of Hartlepool, is back up and running following a donation from Music v Cancer and its associated charity, Support Your Bowel.

This is a vital service for cancer patients and their families, and it is also beneficial to the staff

Tony Larkin

Music v Cancer was set up by Hartlepool man Tony Larkin after he won his battle with bowel cancer, and since 2010 more than £184,000 has been raised to help cancer services by putting on live music gigs at the town’s Grand Hotel.

The charity was asked to help with a donation towards a cancer information facility at the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, and Tony agreed to help on the condition that a similar service was revived in the sister hospital in Hartlepool.

He said: “We were happy to help, but I was aware that there had been a similar facility in Hartlepool’s hospital so I asked if we could pay towards having that one reopened as well. This is a vital service for cancer patients and their families, and it is also beneficial to the staff.”

The facility, based on the ground floor of Hartlepool’s hospital near to the main entrance, is staffed by Macmillan workers who can provide information on things such as financial issues and other support away from the clinical side of the service.

Alan Chandler, Macmillan information and survivorship manager, said: “This is the other side of cancer. People think of the diagnosis and the treatments, but there is a lot of information about the support which is in place to help patients and their families, not connected to the clinical side. Now, we have a facility which gives people the chance to call in and ask us for advice and information in a one-stop shop environment.”

Last year, the charity donated £36,000 to the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, purchasing two bowel probes for early cancer detection, as well as a further £15,000 for a new Endoscopy Training Facility in Hartlepool.

To learn more about Music v Cancer, visit: www.musicvcancer.com.