A Storth villager credited with helping a local cancer charity, which serves both South Cumbria and Lancashire equally, shake off the misapprehension of a red rose county bias has been chosen as its Volunteer of the Year for 2017.
Former head of Storth CE Primary School, Alison Charlesworth, was awarded with Rosemere Cancer Foundation’s highest accolade after being nominated by the charity’s South Cumbria fundraising co-ordinator Tammy Hoskins.
As well as organising various fundraising events for the foundation as co-ordinator of its Dallam Supporters’ Group, Alison spent 2017 working as an ambassador for the charity, talking to WIs and other such groups in South Cumbria about its work.
Alison said: “There’s a misapprehension in this area that because Rosemere Cancer Foundation works from the Rosemere Cancer Centre, which is in Lancashire at the Royal Preston Hospital, that it’s more a Lancashire and even Preston charity.
“As a former patient of Rosemere Cancer Centre, I know that the centre is our local specialist cancer treatment centre as much as it is the people of Lancashire’s. While the foundation works to support the centre, it also works to fund projects that help cancer patients being treated at Westmorland and Furness General Hospitals and Lancaster Royal Infirmary. Getting this message across has become my mission!”
Alison underwent treatment at Rosemere Cancer Centre for kidney cancer and still visits yearly for an annual check-up.
The centre provides all radiotherapy treatment for South Cumbria and Lancashire, as well as other specialised care.
A mum-of-two, Alison is well-known in her home village for her love of baking, a skill she used to raise funds for Rosemere by hosting a pop-up café in the village hall when the Arnside and Silverdale Arts Trial included Storth on its 2016 map. With her fellow Dallam group members, she also hosts an annual afternoon tea in Storth Village Hall in May and later this month, Saturday, 24th February, from 10 to noon, it is the group’s annual big jumble sale and coffee morning with lots of cakes!
Alison is also a member of Storth WI and part of the team running the community owned village store and post office. Profits from the venture are shared among local charities and Alison regularly nominates Rosemere Cancer Foundation to receive a share.
Dan Hill, Rosemere Cancer Foundation’s Head of Fundraising, said: “No one deserves this award more than Alison. She has worked tirelessly to support us for a number of years. Just as important as the money she has raised for us is the effort she has put in to making people in South Cumbria aware of the fact that we are their local cancer charity just as much as we are Lancashire’s.
“The location of the cancer centre in Preston was chosen to try and make it as accessible as possible for those patients coming from all parts of South Cumbria and Lancashire, who had previously had to travel to The Christie in Manchester for their radiotherapy and other specialised care. But we are also here to fund projects helping to bring world class cancer services and treatments to patients at all our other regional hospitals. Alison’s efforts to raise awareness of this within her home territory has helped us tremendously.”
Alison also taught at Barrow’s Parkview School and Ulverston’s Croftslands Junior School before taking on the headship of Storth CE Primary School, a position she held for a decade before retiring.
Alison was presented with her Rosemere Cancer Foundation Volunteer of the Year Award by Paul Holroyd, Cancer Services Manager for the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, which manages Westmorland and Furness General Hospitals and Lancaster Royal Infirmary.
A piece of equipment that enables medical physicists to improve the delivery of the latest high dose rate radiotherapy treatment is being funded by Rosemere Cancer Foundation for Rosemere Cancer Centre, meaning local cancer patients will benefit from more comfortable and shorter treatment times.
The centre at the Royal Preston Hospital is Lancashire and South Cumbria’s regional specialist cancer treatment centre and as such, provides all radiotherapy treatment for the two counties. It has recently purchased a fleet of the latest linear accelerators, which enables it to provide the most up-to-date high dose rate radiotherapy.
The new Rosemere Cancer Foundation funded “Phantom” equipment, which comes with a £8,120.04 price tag, will be used to help medical physicists accurately measure beam dosage and delivery accuracy when planning high dose rate radiotherapy to treat patients with a range of cancers, including brain, lung and prostate cancers.
For patients, this will translate to shorter, more comfortable treatments with less radiation reaching healthy tissue outside the area being treated. Protecting healthy tissue reduces the risk of long-term side-effects, which is especially important for younger cancer survivors.
Miss Natalie Thorp, of the centre’s Radiotherapy Physics Department, who applied to Rosemere Cancer Foundation for the Phantom’s funding, said: “Potentially, hundreds of patients a year from across Lancashire and South Cumbria are set to benefit from the purchase of the Phantom as it will allow us to develop state of the art techniques leading to improved patient treatments and comfort.”
Rosemere Cancer Foundation works to bring world class cancer services and treatments to cancer patients throughout Lancashire and South Cumbria being treated not only at Rosemere Cancer Centre but also, at another eight other hospitals across the two counties that look after cancer patients.
For further information on Rosemere Cancer Foundation and its work, including its 20 Years Anniversary Appeal to fund a trio of ground-breaking projects at Rosemere Cancer Centre to mark the 20th anniversary of the centre’s opening, visit its website at www.rosemere.org.uk