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Fighting Disease

Norfolk Rotary clubs join forces to support breast cancer unit appeal

Norfolk Rotary clubs join forces to support breast cancer unit appeal

A Rotary-supported campaign to provide a new breast cancer unit at a Norfolk hospital is well on course for success.

Rotary clubs in Norwich are working together to support a project to establish a dedicated breast cancer unit at the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital.

Earlier this year, the hospital announced they had reached the half-way mark in their £800,000 appeal.

That coincided with the news that Norwich’s five Rotary clubs, supported by other clubs in Norfolk, had made a further donation of £61,396 to the fund at a reception for Rotarians hosted by the hospital’s Chief Executive, Sam Higginson.

It is the first time the Norwich clubs have combined in this way on a major project by creating a joint Norwich Rotary clubs’ website and combining social media to publicise events, as well as gaining a wider public understanding of Rotary’s reach.

Paul Constable, President of Norwich Marchesi Rotary, said: “None of us imagined how much we could achieve when we pledged support at the launch of the Boudicca Appeal at the end of 2018.”

Earlier this year, the hospital announced they had reached the half-way mark in their £800,000 appeal.”

As part of the fund-raising project, Rotarians from the contributing clubs were shown elements of the new unit which are already up and running.

The breast cancer unit uses new ‘state of the art’ equipment which has already boosted patient screening by 100% a day.

This means that same-day diagnostic tests, combined with clinical imaging assessment, enable patients to attend the clinic only once. This gives much quicker access to treatment.

The new unit, which is being fitted out while fund-raising continues, reduces days of anxiety for patients awaiting a diagnosis.

Previously, patients had to wait for results, sometimes having to return for additional scans before obtaining a conclusive diagnosis.

Over the past five years, the current breast cancer unit has seen an 80% increase in patient numbers, receiving almost 650 referrals a month.

When the new unit is fully functional, patients will receive better, quicker and more dignified treatment.

Sam Higginson, the hospital’s Chief Executive, praised the way Rotary clubs had worked together to make a “fantastic contribution”.

When the new unit is fully functional, patients will receive better, quicker and more dignified treatment.”

He said that the department had been facing a challenging situation, so the introduction of the new unit was critical for patients.

At the beginning of 2019, Rotary clubs in Norwich made the appeal their main charity for the year.

Not only did it galvanize those city clubs – Norwich, Blackfriars, Centenary, Marchesi and St. Edmund – to pull together, there had also been support from the Wroxham Bure Valley, Diss, Thetford, Reepham, North Walsham and Wymondham Rotary clubs.

Although fund-raising has been put on hold during lockdown, the clubs are looking at further ways of helping to support the appeal, including a sponsored walk from Diss to Norwich along the Boudicca Way.

Discussions are proceeding to establish a ‘Rotary Hub’ at the hospital to serve as a point of contact between Rotary clubs and hospital staff interested in on-going contact with Rotary and its objectives.