Legacy lives on for nurses hit by cancer
FAMILIES of two cancer campaigners have donated thousands of pounds to buy equipment for hospital patients.
Nurses Alison Poole and Joan Scott, who both died of breast cancer, were close friends with inspirational Herceptin drug campaigner Dot Griffiths.
Now their legacies live on after their relatives donated funeral collections to help fund new equipment at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire.
The money was handed to the Dot Griffiths Cancer Appeal Fund, a charity which then buys equipment for the Hartshill hospital.
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The latest donation has bought vital equipment for cancer patients, including a machine which helps to reduce swelling in patients and an ultra-low bed.
Former nurse Alison was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005. But Alison was then among a group of women who were told they did not qualify for the Herceptin drug because of a local postcode lottery.
They joined forces with Dot, of Hartshill, to launch the Women Fighting For Herceptin campaign and backed by Sentinel readers presented a 30,000-name petition to Downing Street. And within months, the area's health trusts agreed to fund Herceptin to all cancer sufferers.
Alison died in October 2011 at the age of 50. More than £2,500 was raised at her funeral.
Alison's husband Colin, aged 56, of Bagnall, said: "Alison was an incredible advocate for the NHS and didn't believe in private medicine. The experts called Herceptin a wonder drug and it was fantastic.
"She would have died years before without Herceptin."
The extra years meant Alison, who had worked as a nurse since she was 19, saw her two daughters Hayley and Louise graduate from university.
Model maker Hayley, aged 25, who now lives in Altrincham, said: "These gifts are an amazing legacy to their campaign."
Auxiliary nurse Joan Scott was close friends with Dot. She was given Herceptin in 2005 and died, aged 61, in January 2012.
Her husband John and three children Kate, Jane and Chris visited the hospital yesterday to see the equipment in use.
They raised more than £2,000 for the charity.
John, aged 64, of Loggerheads, said: "Joan was very positive and determined to fight the cancer through to the end. She was an inspiration to everyone who met her and would take part in sponsored walks even during her treatment.
"Straight away we knew supporting this charity would be appropriate because it means she is still helping people, which is what she loved to do."
The new equipment is already being used at the University Hospital.
Rebecca Elwell, a lymphoedema nurse specialist at the hospital, said: "The group has been absolutely fundamental in taking our cancer care forward over the years.
"We wouldn't have the equipment that we have today if it wasn't for them.