‘They won’t have to suffer as much as me,’ says former Stevenage cancer patient

Liz Lees, deputy director of nursing, Tommy Phipps and Mark Jones charge nurse Macmillan

Liz Lees, deputy director of nursing, Tommy Phipps and Mark Jones charge nurse Macmillan - Credit: Archant

After going through the agonising pain of chemotherapy, a former cancer patient decided to do something to make the lives of other sufferers a little more comfortable.

Tommy Phipps in one of the new chairs

Tommy Phipps in one of the new chairs - Credit: Archant

So Tommy Phipps, 65, spent the past 18 months tirelessly fundraising to buy comfortable reclining chairs for chemotherapy patients at Stevenage’s Lister MacMillan Cancer Centre.

With the help of family, friends, the village community in Aston and Aston Bowls Club he managed to raise £15,000 by organising a string of charity events. The money will be used to buy 18 reclining chairs – one for every treatment station at the centre, which opened in June.

Tommy came up with the idea while he was undergoing treatment for bowel and liver cancer at the hospital in the autumn of 2012.

After speaking to senior chemotherapy nurse Mark Foster about fundraising efforts people were doing to help staff and patients at the centre, he embarked on a mission to improve the lives of other sufferers. Tommy knew first hand the pain of the treatment and the importance of being comfortable while having it.

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The chairs previously provided were upright with wooden arms and did not allow the patient to sleep or lie back during their treatment.

The new chairs help people be as comfortable as possible and compliment the other facilities in the new suite.

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Tommy, who lives in Aston, said: “The treatment room was filled with 10 chairs, only four of which were fully padded and reclining. Sometimes I was receiving chemotherapy for up to eight hours at a time so I understood the importance of being comfortable. This motivated me to get my friends and family involved in fundraising.”

Head of the hospitals’ charity Tina Louisa Houlihan said: “He has raised a phenomenal amount of money. These 18 new chairs will make a massive difference to patients receiving chemotherapy at Lister Hospital.”

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