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Calendar girl admits it is a race against time
A BREAST cancer campaigner who is fighting the illness fears she may not live to see the opening of a new life-saving unit after already losing many friends.
However, a huge £100,000 grant has brought Worcester’s breast unit a step closer to becoming a reality, keeping hope alive for her and others in what has been a bumper month for the charity campaign.
Cherry Robinson, of Osier Close, off Bath Road, Worcester, is chairman of the Worcester Breast Cancer Support Group.
And she said three patrons she knew personally and five members of her own group have died of the illness since the campaign to create the new unit was launched in October 2009.
Mrs Robinson, said it was vital the scheme was begun in earnest so people could see the benefits of all the fund-raising. Her group alone has pledged £18,000 to create the unit’s Jacqui Heal Room in honour of a popular breast care nurse who died in July 2007.
The 68-year-old said: “Every year we work towards it and every year we still get the disappointment. We know the trust has difficulties. This is important in Worcestershire.
“I can see me not making it and not seeing it done.”
Mrs Robinson, one of the original campaign calendar girls, said she is passionate about seeing the unit open as soon as possible so people battling the illness can reap the benefits.
The support group’s summer lunch in July raised £1,330 while the group has also been supported by David and Jan Harrison, of Kempsey, who organised a tea, coffee and cake sale at a steam rally in Welland which raised a further £2,500 towards the £1.8million Worcestershire Breast Unit Campaign.
The campaign has also received a £100,000 donation from a charitable trust which prefers to remain anonymous with other trusts set to be approached.
Mrs Robinson was first diagnosed with breast cancer 16 years ago and was diagnosed with secondary cancers 11 years later.
She finished her chemotherapy in May and said she may be able to have one more round but admitted she was “running out of options”.
The breast unit, at 220 Newtown Road – the site of Worcestershire Royal Hospital – would be a one-stop shop for patients from across the county, giving them access to the latest state-of-the-art treatments in more comfortable and far less cramped surroundings.
At a recent event to appoint new lead patrons for the campaign, leaders pledged to open the unit in 2015 although no date has yet been published.
Mrs Robinson admitted she is disappointed there is no start date for the work and the group has written to Penny Venables, chief executive of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.
Campaign director for the centre Geoff Howard said the trust now only needed to raise £240,000 before Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust would underwrite the project and building work could begin.
He said: “I do understand Cherry’s concerns. A number of members of her group who have been very supportive have died without seeing the unit open and I do understand she fears that may be her experience as well.
“But the project team is really driving this and they are meeting on a regular and frequent basis to push this forward.”
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