Birthday celebrations for Teenage Cancer Trust Unit at Castle Hill Hospital
A CELEBRATION to mark a specialist unit's first birthday at Castle Hill Hospital has taken place.
Officials, fundraisers and past and present patients gathered to mark one year since the Teenage Cancer Trust Unit in the Queen's Centre for Oncology and Haematology officially opened its door.
The £215,000 facility is unlike ordinary hospital wards, as it boasts a pool table, 3D TV, gaming stations and a digital jukebox.
It was opened so people aged 18 to 24 would not be on wards with either very young or elderly patients or have to travel to Leeds.
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Carl Watson, 21, who has Hodgkin's lymphoma, has spent time on normal hospital wards and at the specialist unit.
Carl, of Bransholme, said: "Sometimes on the adult wards you can be in a room on your own or just sharing with one other person.
"But you don't even see the teenage cancer unit as a ward or a hospital – I see it as a social club that happens to do treatment as well.
"All the nurses are like friends."
Sam Forth, 25, of Hull, is one of the newer patients to the ward. Sam, who also has Hodgkin's lymphoma, began treatment there when he was 24.
He said: "It is an unbelievable ward – I couldn't believe how good it was.
"The staff are all fantastic. They are obviously there for the medical reasons, but they put on events and do lots of extras."
Phoebe Drinkwater, 22, was diagnosed with melanoma while studying music at the University of Hull.
She said: "I was on the plastics ward getting treatment there, but they came to see me and tell me about the unit.
"I hadn't met anyone my own age with cancer before.
"My friends were supportive, but they couldn't understand what I was going through.
"I've made really strong friendships now."
At the celebration event yesterday, staff and patients were joined by supporters, who raised money to make the unit possible.
Among them were Sheila and David Brazier, of North Ferriby, who helped kick- start fundraising for the Teenage Cancer Trust in 2002.
They held a concert in their garden for the cause and since then have rallied support for the trust.
Sheila, 63, said: "The thing we wanted right from the start was to have something local, so people didn't have to go to Leeds all the time.
"We were told, in no uncertain terms, there was no chance of it happening.
"But now look what we have.
"It is just absolutely brilliant that we have this unit."
The hospital is run by the Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust.
Speaking at the celebrations yesterday, chief executive Phil Morley said: "Today is a day where you not only feel proud, but it is important we also feel a bit humble.
"We spend half a billion pounds looking after people and we think we know all the answers.
"Then there is that moment when someone says it isn't right – we want to do it differently and better and in a way that fits the needs of a small group of people who get forgotten or put into areas that are wrong for them.
"So I want to thank all the people who said it wasn't good enough."