New room for young people with cancer opens at St George’s Hospital
Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, MP for Tooting officially opened a new room for teenagers and young people with cancer at St George’s last week.
Funded by donations to St George’s Hospital Charity, including £20,000 from the community group Furzedown FACE, the Teenage and Young Adult (TYA) Room in the Ruth Myles Unit is an oasis away from the busy general wards and waiting areas of the main hospital.
It is a place where young people with cancer can meet, use their laptops to study or play games, watch TV and chill out. It is also a base for a specialist nurse to provide emotional and medical support and therapeutic activities.
At this opening, Dr Rosena Allin-Khan met patients and staff to hear how the new room has benefited them, as well as members of the community group Furzedown FACE, and Jacqueline Totterdell, Chief Executive, before a ribbon cutting to mark the opening.
Rosena said: “The Tooting community is proud of its hospital and this opening shows how much love and regard there is from the local area. It’s a symbol of how people come together locally, organise, and make a positive difference to the lives of others.
“I’m incredibly proud as a local resident and clinician to know that teenagers and young adults with cancer are benefiting from this wonderful space – somewhere to have time away from the wards and a place that local people have spent over five years fundraising for.”
The idea of raising money for the new room came from a member of Furzedown FACE whose daughter was treated for cancer at St George’s ten years ago. At the time the 16-year-old was treated on an adult ward.
Although the medical care was excellent, the experience of being treated for cancer in this environment was a lonely one. This can have a huge impact on a young person’s emotional wellbeing, long after the physical treatment has come to an end.
A spokesperson for Furzedown FACE said: “We’re delighted that the chill-out room for young people with cancer has opened at St George’s. This has only been possible thanks to the support of Furzedown neighbours, schools, charities, businesses, friends, and local MPs Sadiq Khan and Rosena Allin-Khan.”
St George’s consultant Mr Nicholas Hyde said: “Having their own dedicated chill-out area can only have a positive effect on teenagers and young people’s recovery during their treatment stays and visits to St George’s.”
Noel Cramer, director of fundraising for St George’s Hospital Charity, said: “A huge thank you to all those who have made this possible; especially Furzedown FACE who have worked tirelessly over the past five years, raising more than £20,000. This room will make a real difference for young people with cancer and illustrates the power of local communities to make an impact at their local hospital.”