�1m appeal to help teen cancer patients

BRAVE cancer sufferer Jordan Robinson is calling on people in Suffolk to back a �1million campaign to build a specialist teenage cancer unit at Addenbrooke's Hospital.

Russell Claydon

BRAVE cancer sufferer Jordan Robinson is calling on people in Suffolk to back a �1million campaign to build a specialist teenage cancer unit at Addenbrooke's Hospital.

The project hopes to give Suffolk youngsters their own designated cancer treatment ward for the first time - after previously either having to go into an adult or baby ward.

Sixteen-year-old Jordan, from Brandon, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2005 and after a 14-hour operation went onto an adult ward where she felt isolated and under-supported.

Now undergoing counselling to talk her way through the experience she should have been sharing with her teenage peers, she is determined other children in the county will not go through the unpleasant experience she endured.

She said: “I think a teenage cancer ward is a really good idea. Having thyroid cancer I was treated like an adult, so you do not get a lot of support.

Most Read

“You are not offered counselling or anyone to talk to and if you are together with all teenagers it is a lot more supportive.

“People my age understand and it is a bit daunting when you are 12-13. It is really scary. You have Macmillan things but there is nothing for youngsters, children and teenagers. You really do feel on your own.”

Jordan is now in remission, although still suffers problems with her breathing and horrendous bouts of joint pains on a daily basis.

Despite currently being too unwell to make it to school she is still being predicted around seven A grades in her GCSEs this summer, despite missing two-and-a-half years. She has been accepted into sixth form wants to qualify at university to work with children who have cancer.

Currently, the teenager unit for cancer patients from Suffolk is in London or Birmingham, but the Bures-based Suffolk branch of the Teenage Cancer Trust is hoping to change that.

The charity has set itself the target of raising the �1million.

Nella Probert, the Suffolk chairman of the Teenage Cancer Trust East Anglian appeal, said: “Sue (deputy chair) and I got involved because we both have teenage children ourselves and can only imagine what it would be like for one of them to have to face up to cancer and then be treated on an adult or children's ward - especially as we know that young people have a much better chance in their fight against cancer if they are treated in a specialist unit.”

She added: “Other parts of the country have them but we do not - yet.”

The appeal has so far raised �78,000 with Sue Rawlinson set to boast the coffers with a London Marathon attempt later this month.

Anyone interested in making a donation to the Addenbrooke's Appeal can send a cheque made out to Teenage Cancer Trust - Suffolk Appeal addressed to: TCT, PO Box 1105, Cambridge CB22 3WZ.

The facilities which would be provided in a specialist unit at Addenbrookes:

10 inpatient beds.

Outpatient and day care facilities.

A kitchen and dining area.

A space to relax and meet each other.

Access to education.

A space for parents.

The unit would be capable of treating between 150-180 teenage patients.

Cancer facts: (source: Teenager Cancer Trust)

There are six cases of cancer diagnosed in teenagers and young adults in the UK every day.

Teenage patients treated in specialist young people units are shown to have a 15% greater chance of survival.