€5 million target for a new chemotherapy unit

Making plans: The Comfort for Chemo voluntary board, front from left, Cora Walsh, Mary Fitzgerald and Amanda Coulson with, at back, Paul McCarthy, Therese Carroll, Mairead Kelliher, Cllr Mikey Sheehy and Brid O’Connor

AN important Kerry charity is to launch a new online fundraising campaign to ensure finance can be generated and its aims can be progressed during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Comfort for Chemo is generating funds to build a centre of excellence for patients in Kerry who need chemotherapy and other oncological treatments. The stand-alone building will ensure the best care available is delivered in an environment that is welcoming, reassuring, comfortable and dignified.

The fundraising goal is €5 million to build and equip a purpose-built chemotherapy unit.

Board member Mary Fitzgerald said that, during the pandemic, there is a greater understanding of how vulnerable cancer patients are during their treatment and how important it is to provide their necessary care in an environment with the least exposure to the general public.

“We fully recognise that patients going through treatment need the support of family and friends around them and even before the onset of Covid-19, the limited space in University Hospital Kerry chemotherapy day-ward meant that it was not always possible for others to be in the treatment area when their loved ones were receiving treatment,” she said.

A chilling statistic is that every three minutes in Ireland someone receives a cancer diagnosis and more than 40,000 new cases of cancer or related tumours are diagnosed each year.

There is limited space in University Hospital Kerry’s chemotherapy day-ward

The outlook is good, however, as there are more treatment options available with survival rates continuing to increase, research is improving and more modern chemotherapy treatments are becoming available.

The Comfort for Chemo facility will have dedicated chemotherapy suites, with a new outpatient unity, isolation facilities, a drug preparation unit and spacious clinical areas.

The stand-alone-building will also have teaching and research facilities, counselling and support rooms, treatment rooms for allied health professionals to support patients and deliver treatments and a dedicated car park.

This Wednesday the Comfort for Chemo board members, members of the oncology medical and consultancy team in UHK, patients and guests will join a virtual launch of the new online fundraising platform and website www.comfortforchemokerry.com.

The new site will cover fundraising ideas, corporate giving and in-memory funds and all donations will go towards ensuring the care for Kerry’s cancer patients. To join the launch on Wednesday visit the Comfort for Chemo Facebook page for full details.

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