CANCER PATIENT Gail Stoneman has been named Golden Girl by the Over and Above Fundraising Team. Since her fundraising began in August 2017, she has raised over £9,000 and in January she brought in a cheque for a further £2,000 bringing her current total to £11,115 for the new Cancer and Wellbeing Support Centre Appeal. Gail receives treatment in the Seamoor Chemotherapy Unit at North Devon District Hospital, and strongly feels the hospital need a support centre for its patients. Gail said “I need a support centre which I can access locally. I have been receiving treatment for many years and knowing there is a somewhere where I can drop in and talk to someone at any time would be a dream come true. I know how well the Force Centre in Exeter works and the excellent level of care they offer – it means a lot to the patients and a centre in Barnstaple is desperately needed.”
Since August 2017 Gail has taken on seven fundraising challenges to mark her seven years of receiving chemotherapy. Her friend Tim Garrett ran the Bristol Half Marathon in September raising £545, her work colleague Maria Smith’s organised a cake sale at Brends Hotel Head Office where she works raising £150. Gail then organised an auction in Chulmleigh where she lives and raised a phenomenal £7,033.46, she received a donation of £2,000 and additional money is still coming in.
Over and Above Fundraiser Julie Whitton said “Gail’s determination on raising the funds for our new unit is inspirational. She has a knack of getting people on board and raising funds. Gail is determined to see the new support centre built and so are we. Travelling 55 miles to Exeter when you are feeling very unwell is a long way to travel for access to a drop in session. We need to get this unit built so that our cancer patients like Gail receive their support on their doorstep just the same as patients receiving treatments at other acute hospitals providing cancer services. It is important that our patients in North Devon receive the same level of care as everyone else in the South West. And with a relatives accommodation wing attached to the centre, it will mean many of our patients will receive visitors that they may not otherwise see because their friends and family live too far away to make regular visits. This centre is important to us and we are determined to make it happen.”
The new appeal will provide support for patients and their families with cancer and other illnesses. The Cancer and Wellbeing centre will be a dedicated space offering a wide range of support services and information, all within a comfortable and welcoming environment.
The services will include drop in sessions, counselling, financial and benefits advice, hair loss support including wig fitting, nutritional advice, wellbeing courses, support groups, complementary therapies and much more. In addition a relatives accommodation wing will be built within the centre for relatives to stay overnight when they need to stay nearby when their loved ones are in hospital.
Fundraiser Julie Whitton said “The Appeal has now reached around a third of its anticipated build cost. The architect David Wilson Partnership has been appointed and the next step is going to tender for the contract. It is a very exciting time for us and our patients. The hospital charity “Over and Above” would be delighted to hear from anyone who would like to raise funds for the new Appeal – it could be a coffee morning, a sponsored headshave, an extreme sport, an auction – every penny raised will help the new unit to become a reality. A fundraising pack with lots of ideas is available on the charity website or can be sent in the post.
Gail’s mum is trying to convince Gail to organise a Ferret Race as her next fundraiser, so watch this space for details.
To find out more about the Over and Above charity and the new Appeal, visit www.overandabove.org.uk, the charity’s Facebook page or contact the fundraising team on 01271 311772 or email email@example.com.
Photograph: L-R Gail Stoneman and Over and Above Fundraiser Julie Whitton