From little acorns to mighty oaks – extension opens at The Woodside Clinic
A woman who has lived with lymphoedema for more than 30 years was the special guest at the opening of a clinic extension and new wetroom at St Catherine’s Hospice which she helped get off the ground with the first £100 donation.
Catherine Hudson, who developed the condition in her left arm following radiotherapy and surgery for breast cancer back in 1981, kick-started the extension project at The Woodside Clinic by pledging the fantastic sum. It was generously supported by independent charity The Wolfson Foundation – who provided a £40,000 grant to help fund the project – and Reditem Homes Limited, who carried out the construction work free of charge and donated more than £20,000 to cover the remaining costs.
Lymphoedema is a condition which affects the body’s ability to drain waste fluid – causing swelling and discomfort. It can be linked to cancer treatment, but can also be caused by trauma or hereditary factors.
Catherine had experienced the positives of having access to a wetroom during her treatment at a hospice when she lived in London. When she moved back to her native Lancashire three years ago she was referred to The Woodside Clinic where she met others who she believed would also benefit.
Catherine, aged 76 and from Clayton-le-Woods, Chorley, said: “Through the support groups I met people who were having to cope with terrible swelling and symptoms – going through the same intensive bandaging treatments I’d experienced back in London. When you are in that situation it’s very cumbersome, it’s hard to wash and impossible to shower.
“When I started using the wetroom at the hospice down there it made such a difference – I could go there in the morning, use the shower and start the day feeling refreshed before having my arm re-bandaged. Then I’d be ready to face another day. It may sound like a small thing, but really a shower is so important. When you have got a long-term condition that you’re trying to live with, you don’t want to feel like everything is being taken away from you. The wetroom provided normality and dignity and I wanted others here in Lancashire to have access to it too – hence my small donation to get the project started.
“It just shows that from small acorns, mighty oaks do gitem.”
Along with the new wetroom, the Lymphoedema Intensive Therapy Experience (LITE) suite also includes two new treatment rooms, extra office space, and a pleasant outdoor courtyard.
It would not have been possible without generous funding of £40,000 from The Wolfson Foundation – an independent charity that awards grants to support and promote excellence in the fields of science and medicine, health and disability, education and the arts and humanities.
Debbie Murphy, Lymphoedema Services Manager at The Woodside, put together a funding bid detailing the benefits for patients and the service as a whole. These included providing a therapeutic, clinical environment to enhance comfort, privacy and dignity; improved cleanliness and infection control; and further space to carry out state-of-the-art treatments using equipment such as lasers and compression pumps.
The extra space created in the development also means the St Catherine’s lymphoedema team, one of the most advanced in the country, can treat more patients from the Central Lancashire area and across the region.
The project was also generously backed by Reditem Homes Limited and their sub-contractors who gave their skills and labour to complete the building works without charge. The firm also donated more than £20,000 to help with bills and other remaining costs.
Representatives from both organisations joined with Woodside Clinic staff and St Catherine’s Hospice Chief Executive Stephen Greenhalgh for the opening ceremony, when Chair of the Board of Trustees Cliff Hughes MBE unveiled a new sign to officially open the extension.
Debbie said: “We’re delighted with our new-look clinic which is already making such a difference – both in terms of our patient’s personal experiences, and also in the extra people we are now able to see.
“We are so grateful for the incredible support this project has received – from Catherine’s inspiration and kind donation, through to The Wolfson Foundation’s generous funding, and Reditem Homes’ amazing support and unstinting hard work. None of this would have been possible without them.”
Caitlin Foley, Programme Manager for the Wolfson Foundation, said: “This was our second grant to St Catherine’s Hospice; the first supported the in-patient facilities in 2007, and we were pleased to subsequently invest in the day therapy facilities, resulting in this new LITE suite.
“When awarding this grant, the real need for these services in the North West of England was clear, and over the last five years this hospice has worked to meet that demand and provide the best possible experience.”
Steve Greenhalgh, Managing Director for Reditem Homes (Lancashire), said: “This cause is particularly close to the hearts of the Reditem team as our previous managing director Tony Stevens lost his wife Janet earlier this year, and she spent some time at St Catherine’s attending day therapy.
“Both Tony and our sub-contractors have volunteered their time to help build the extension and we’ve also donated over £20,000 to cover the VAT bill and other costs.“Our business is building new homes and creating communities and we’re delighted to have been able to support such a worthwhile cause.” Catherine, who has recently be referred back to the Woodside for further specialist treatment and advice, said she was delighted to see the extension officially opened and extremely impressed with the finished results.
“It looks amazing – they have done such a good job!” she said.
“I couldn’t believe it when I saw it for the first time – it’s much more than I imagined. It will be bring so many benefits for people living with this life-changing condition.”
Factfile: Lymphoedema and the lite suite
Lymphoedema is a condition which affects our lymphatic system, the process by which we filter and drain waste fluid from our bodies.
If this mechanism stops working, the accumulation of fluid in the body’s tissues causes swelling known as lymphoedema. There are two types – primary, which is often hereditary – and secondary – which can be brought about by cancer treatment, surgery, trauma or infection.
The Lymphedema Intensive Therapy Experience (LITE) suite is a leading edge project that makes use of the most advanced research in Lymphedema therapies.
The suite is designed to provide a therapeutic, clinical environment that brings enhanced physical and psychological benefits with improved personal comfort, privacy and dignity. The suite also enables the service to house and make use of state-of-the-art technology such as laser and compression pumps – encompassing the four cornerstones of lymphoedema management: skin care, exercise, compression and simple lymphatic drainage.
The lymphoedema team at St Catherine’s Hospice is one of the most advanced community based units in the country, providing treatment to adults and children with both cancer and non-cancer related lymphoedema.
The LITE suite will help the team treat more people from across the region, both now and in the future.
For more information about the clinic click here or call 01772 629171.
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