Nottingham born actress Vicky McClure officially opened Teenage Cancer Trust's state of the art unit at Nottingham City Hospital last week.

The five-bed facility at the City campus will provide care and support for 19-24 year olds diagnosed with cancer in Nottingham and other parts of the East Midlands.

Consisting of four single en-suite rooms and one en-suite day care room, the new unit will bring young people together to be treated by teenage cancer experts in an environment tailored to their needs. Designed to feel like a home from home, the walls are bright, the furniture funky and there’s a chill out space with a drinks station, dedicated Internet access, a complementary therapy room, a quiet room and access to a roof terrace. Combined with specialist nursing staff, the unit has everything to make a young person’s stay in hospital comfortable.

Speaking at the unit today, Vicky said: “Dealing with cancer is frightening. Being taken away from your normal life, your friends and put in a cancer ward with small children or older people is simply unimaginable. Teenage Cancer Trust doesn’t believe teenagers with cancer should have to stop being teenagers. These units are great and become a home from home from the young people treated on them. I am truly honoured to be able to open this fantastic facility in my hometown.”

The specialist unit is the first of three to be built in the East Midlands and cost the charity over £400,000 to build. Since launching an appeal to build the unit two years ago, Teenage Cancer Trust has received fantastic support from the local community, in particular Brad’s Cancer Foundation.

Brad Davis was diagnosed with a Rhabdomyosarcoma, a soft tissue tumour in his pelvis, at the age of 16. He was treated on a children’s ward and although the care was excellent, the facilities and environment were alien to young adults and Brad felt very isolated. He was determined to ensure that teenagers diagnosed with cancer in the East Midlands would have access to the best care and professional support. In 2003, after two years of treatment Brad passed away but his family are continuing to fundraise in his name. Today, they handed over a cheque to Teenage Cancer Trust for £10,000 which takes their contribution to over £140,000.

Peter Homa, Chief Executive of Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the City Hospital and Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham, said: “This is an excellent example of partners working together for the benefit of our patients. The new Teenage Cancer Trust ward will greatly enhance the experience of this group of younger patients and their relatives. This is an important milestone in the excellent cancer care we provide at Nottingham University Hospitals.”

Teenage Cancer Trust needs to raise £500,000 to develop a second five bed unit at the Queen’s Medical Centre for 13-18 year olds, as well as expanding services for young people across the East Midlands.

For more information about Brads Cancer Foundation, visit www.brads.org.uk.

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