18 December 2015
By Bryan T. Smyth
St. Therese’s Oncology Ward at The Mercy University Hospital, Cork has undergone a major upgrade thanks to a commitment from the Mercy Hospital Foundation to contribute €55,000 towards the purchase of clinical and patient equipment; an upgrade of the facilities; with a further €6,000 set aside for a Patient Assistance Programme and towards supporting professional development of the oncology nursing team.
€23,000 of the total upgrade fund was raised by 19 year old Shannen Bulman Joyce from Youghal, along with her family and friends; with the remainder funded by donations from the general public. Following the diagnosis in July 2014 that she had Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Shannen was successfully treated at The Mercy. Shannen received the diagnosis after initially experiencing an ongoing groin pain for which she had an MRI scan. Shortly after, she started to feel sick, and was referred to The Mercy by her family doctor where the diagnosis was revealed. Shannen underwent chemotherapy for 18 weeks, and thankfully today is clear from cancer.
Shannen said “The support, care and understanding that I received from the staff at The Mercy, on what was the toughest journey of my life, was phenomenal. I was looked after so well in St. Therese’s Ward, but it wasn’t just me they looked after, they also helped my family through it. The staff always made me as comfortable as possible, but there’s always a way to make things better and that’s why we decided to undertake a big fundraising campaign for the upgrade of the ward.”
Patients are admitted to St. Therese’s Ward for various reasons during their cancer journey, including for chemotherapy, for staging tests prior to commencing treatment, follow up CT scans following treatment and Bone Marrow tests. Patients are also admitted if unwell post treatment and symptom control. The day ward allows patients to receive treatment as a day patient, allowing patients to continue leading a normal life as much as possible.
Funds raised through Shannen’s campaign have been used to purchase ten new recliner chairs for the day ward in St. Therese’s, as well as new seating for the waiting room. The recliners will allow patients to readjust themselves into a more restful position during treatment, where some have to sit for up to six hours at a time. Other equipment purchased for the ward includes triple pumps for safe and controlled chemotherapy sessions.
€8,500 went towards repainting the entire ward which consists of a five day, eight bedded unit and the day ward which is home to the new recliners. The upgrade was complete just in time for Christmas, and €600 was spent on Christmas decorations, which will hopefully brighten patients’ days through what can be a dark time in their lives. Remaining monies will be available for a Patient Assistance Programme which offers financial aid to patients if required during treatment; and will also support professional development of the oncology nursing team.
Shannen’s dad, Ken Bulman said “The community in Youghal showed tremendous support for our fundraising endeavours for The Mercy – Youghal Camogie Club, Shannen’s old school, Pobalscoil na Tríonóide, and Aura Leisure Centre are just some of those who joined us in raising the funds which will make a big difference; and we would like to thank them and everyone who supported us.”
Micheál Sheridan, CEO, Mercy Hospital Foundation said “Our mission is to inspire people to support advancements in research, diagnosis, treatments and care of patients at The Mercy University Hospital, the People’s Hospital. We promise to do our very best to provide you with a world class hospital, right on your doorstep, and this is only possible through the help of our supporters and donors, like Shannen, who along with her family and friends, has made a real difference to the lives of patients who will spend time in St. Therese’s Ward, and for that we sincerely thank them.”
For more information on how you can support The Mercy Cancer Appeal please call (021) 4274076 or visit www.mercyfundraising.ie.