Wally Wheelbarrow and Michael Beck reach £150,000 for Salisbury Hospital's Stars Appeal
Wally Wheelbarrow - and Michael Beck - reach £150,000 for hospital appeal
FOR the last 10 years, Wally Wheelbarrow and his faithful companion Michael Beck have been raising funds for Salisbury Hospital's Stars Appeal with regular collections at local shops and pubs, the livestock market and the hospital as well at events including the Stars Appeal's annual Walk for Wards and Tidworth 10k. And over that time they have raised a massive £150,000.
Michael, from Fifield Bavant, is now aged 80 but still takes Wally out twice a week. For the last six years he's been supported by David Chalk, from Broad Chalke, plus other friends and volunteers.
Michael says, "It all started when I had cancer. They were so brilliant at Salisbury Hospital, to me and my family. No-one could have had better care. So to say thank you I had the idea to push a wheelbarrow from home to the hospital, that's 13 miles. After that, it got bigger and bigger and a few years ago the Salisbury Journal and Spire FM made me Fundraiser of the Year. Now my ambition is to reach £250,000.
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"At the hospital, most people just call me Wally. And since I lost my wife Ruby to cancer, having Wally Wheelbarrow gives me more reason to get up and out in the morning."
The £150,000 raised by Wally Wheelbarrow has gone towards all sorts of projects around the hospital including the Keyhole Cancer surgery suite, the Children's Unit and the new Neonatal Unit and attached parents' accommodation.
Now the Stars Appeal, with Wally's help, is raising funds for a number of new projects to make a difference for local people in Salisbury District Hospital.
These include: building a therapeutic garden for cancer and stroke patients and providing state-of-the-art heated cots for the Neonatal Unit.
Advocacy helps Dorset's older cancer patients to speak out
A GROWING number of older people with cancer will now receive the support and information they need to negotiate their way along the sometimes rocky care pathway, thanks to a new pilot project, Dorset Cancer Advocacy.
Advocacy is needed now more than ever, according to Kathleen Gillett, who works for Help and Care, which is jointly coordinating the Dorset pilot, part of a national project also involving Sefton, Gateshead and Stoke on Trent.
"A cancer diagnosis leaves people shocked and vulnerable, yet the latest research suggests that they need to be confident and assertive to ensure that they get the most appropriate treatment, particularly if they are over 70," she said.
Jeanette Croft from Dorset Advocacy, the other partner in the scheme, agrees: "Evidence is mounting that older people are less likely to receive the treatment they need when cancer is diagnosed, despite the fact that cancer rates increase with age."
Two of the latest studies have shown that only one in seven women with breast cancer aged over 70 receives chemotherapy, a standard approach for younger patients; lifesaving drugs are often withheld because women are judged too old, disregarding their fitness levels and the benefits of treatment.
A recent report by the Royal College of Surgeons has warned that elderly people were dying unnecessarily because life-saving surgery was being withheld on the grounds of age.
Surgery rates to remove cancerous tumours were lower in the over-70s, although many patients of this age have good health overall. Meanwhile, cancer rates among older people are set to rise; the number of older women with breast cancer, for instance, will almost quadruple by 2040, according to new research published in the British Journal of Cancer.
Jointly funded by Macmillan and the Big Lottery Silver Dreams Programme, Dorset Cancer Advocacy aims to support older people by offering advocates who have direct experience of the overwhelming impact of a cancer diagnosis; the scheme is recruiting volunteers over 50 who are themselves cancer survivors or those with close family experience of cancer.
"We want to make a real difference to older individuals struggling with the effects of cancer on their lives," explained Kath Parson, chief executive of the Older People's Advocacy Alliance (OPAAL), which has worked with Macmillan Cancer Support and local charities to create a national cancer advocacy network. "We will support people to speak out and get their views heard during discussions about treatment and care."
Dorset Cancer Advocacy welcomes enquiries from people with cancer, their families and carers, as well as from GPs and nurses.
"The scheme will empower older people affected by cancer, enabling them to have a more assertive voice and to challenge ageist attitudes," said Jagtar Dhanda, head of inclusion at Macmillan Cancer Support.
So far the Dorset project organisers have recruited around 20 highly motivated volunteers, who have all received appropriate training
'I have had cancer three times and my positive outlook has shown me that you can recover and lead a healthy life,' said one Dorset volunteer.
"I like sticking up for others and I am certainly not afraid of talking about personal issues like cancer," said another.
The first advocacy partners to be supported are already showing their appreciation of the scheme. "It's such a long time since I had a proper conversation," commented one.
"Thank you for being so human- it's good to think that somebody cares," said another.
Special meeting on osteoporosis
CLARE Cockill, Osteoporosis and Fracture Liaison Nurse Specialist at Yeovil Hospital, is inviting patients with osteoporosis or osteopenia to join her for an educational talk on osteoporosis and bone health in the Academy on level four from 2-4pm on Tuesday 26th March. It is aimed at people who are being treated for, or diagnosed with, osteoporosis and osteopenia. Clare will look at risk factors, bone density scan results, looking after your bones, preventing falls, and a guide to treatment and monitoring. Tea and coffee are provided by the local National Osteoporosis Support Group who also run strength and balance exercise classes every Wednesday from 2-3pm led by a physiotherapist at the Holy Trinity Community Church Hall in Lysander Road, Yeovil.
Clare said: "It is important to identify osteoporosis or an increased risk of fracture early because there are good treatments available. These can reduce the risk of osteoporotic fractures. If you have already had a fracture that has happened following a slip, trip or fall over the age of 50 years then you may be at increased risk of further fractures. You could also be at risk if you have certain medical conditions or if you have to take certain drugs.
"There are now specific tools to help assess fracture risk and identify those at higher risk for bone density scanning and/or treatment. Your GP can carry out an on-line fracture risk assessment to estimate your risk of fracture over the next 10 years to see whether you are at increased risk of fracture."
Places can be booked on this session by leaving a message for Clare on 01935 384569. The talks are very popular and booking a place is recommended as numbers are limited at each session.