Thursday 12th July 2018
Every year, an estimated 35 teenagers and young adults are diagnosed with cancer in Brighton. They need a locally-based service that provides specialised nursing and emotional support, or they risk facing cancer isolated and alone.
We're the only UK charity that meets this critical need for young people with cancer and we want to provide our innovative Teenage Cancer Specialist Nursing and Support Service in the Brighton area. We plan to develop services in local hospitals in and around Brighton to offer care and support in an age appropriate environment for teenagers. We also plan to fund a Teenage Cancer Specialist Nursing post to ensure that every young person can receive the specialist, age appropriate care they need locally.
But we need funding for this vital work.
By our estimates, it costs approximately £1236 a day to set up and maintain a specialist nursing and support service for local young people while continuing to deliver our existing services in the South East.
Brendan McIntyre, Regional Services Manager at Teenage Cancer Trust, said, "Teenagers and young people with cancer need to be able to access specialist emotional support and care at the point of diagnosis, during and after treatment."
We want to ensure that all young people in and around Brighton have the choice of having this support and care available closer to home.
Currently, young people with cancer from the Brighton area have the choice to be treated either locally or at the only Principle Treatment Centre in the South East, The Royal Marsden in Surrey, where there is a Teenage Cancer Trust Unit for 16-24 year olds.
Chloe, a 21 year old from Brighton, was diagnosed with stage 2 osteosarcoma when she was 17 years old. She was treated on a Teenage Cancer Trust Unit in London.
"The unit was totally different to any other hospital ward," said Chloe. "The nurses became my friends, the ward became home and everyone on the ward truly felt like one big family."
The only downside is that it is so far away. My friends couldn't visit me because it was too hard for them to travel to me and I missed them. There are no specialist nurses in Brighton, so I still have to travel over two hours for my check-ups and physio appointments.
"Teenage Cancer Trust is so needed in Brighton to ensure that young people with cancer can get treated on their doorstep," said Chloe. "It would mean that it's easier for their friends and family to visit them and that could really help them feel supported during the difficult time."
Over the last 3 years, we have been working in partnership with The Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust to improve local facilities and services for teenagers and young adults with cancer in and around Brighton. We recently completed a project to refurbish a space on Level 9 at The Royal Alexandra Children's Hospital where local young teenage cancer patients spend time when having treatment to ensure young people feel more comfortable. These improvements are designed to make sure there is a dedicated space on the children's ward which is age appropriate, welcoming and homely for teenagers with cancer.
Marina Barnes, Head of Regional Fundraising for the South of England at Teenage Cancer Trust, said, "This is an opportunity for people from Brighton to find out more about us and the unique service we plan to provide. We are asking local people to support us in any way they can. Take part in a sponsored challenge, choose us as your next charity of the year partner, host a fundraising event or make an ongoing contribution towards our work."
All of these will help ensure that local young people will be able to access this much needed service for many years to come.