The Manx Breast Cancer Support Group’s appeal to build a dedicated breast unit on the island reached a major milestone on Tuesday as Lieutenant Governor Adam Wood unveiled the architect’s plans and the ‘Millie Meter’ which will stand in the hospital’s atrium, tracking the progress of the fundraising.
The target on the ‘Millie Meter’, named after consultant breast surgeon Millie Bello, is £1.5 million, of which £300,000 has been raised so far.
Performing the unveiling the Lieutenant Governor said: ‘ I am impressed by the ambition of the plans tonight and by the partnership between government and the third sector that will greatly enhance those whose lives are affected by breast cancer.’
Architect Mark Savage said: ‘The new facility, which will sit in a courtyard between the private patients’ wing and Ward 2, will provide state of the art diagnostic and treatment facilities to the latest healthcare standards via a purpose-built environment.’
Manx Breast Cancer Support Group president David Gawne explained that the running of the new unit would involve ‘no further expense on the public purse’ as it would provide a way of delivering existing services more efficiently and cost-effectively.
The new unit will house dedicated rooms in which a cancer diagnosis can be delivered to a patient in complete privacy and treatment options discussed.
Breast cancer patient Jane Rose, vice chair of the Manx Breast Cancer Support Group, spoke movingly of her own experience.
She said: ‘When I was diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago, the consultant at the time shared a clinic and I had to leave the room and walk through a full waiting room, trying desperately hard not to cry.
‘It was a horrible experience. The new unit will offer a greatly enhanced patient and staff experience.’
The Manx Breast Cancer Support Group is made up mainly of breast cancer patients who have been through diagnosis and treament themselves.
As well as undertaking to raise the funds to build the new unit, they will also be available there to talk about their experiences to patients newly diagnosed with the disease.
Patron of the charity Sheila Dean said:‘I believe it is imperative that our island has the best facilities and care in place to help ladies through breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery with dignity and compassion.
‘The charity has a very clear goal and a definite plan as to how the new dedicated unit will be achieved – they have my full support and I have no doubt that the team, together with the very generous support of the Manx public, will achieve our goal.
‘This evening marks the start of the build project – another big step for the charity. I’m sure you will all agree that what we have achieved to date has been outstanding. But this does not surprise me at all.
‘My experience of the team has consistently demonstrated their commitment, passion, professionalism and belief – a winning formula by my standards.’