BBC TV News presenter Asad Ahmad visited the chemotherapy unit at Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) on Wednesday 10 October to unveil a new chemotherapy bell for patients to ring at significant moments during their treatment.
Asad Ahmad said: “It was my great pleasure to unveil the new chemotherapy bell, a superb idea which will really give hope and courage to the patients who come here and the fantastic staff who help them through some of the trickiest periods in their life.”
People can ring the bell when they have completed their treatment or at any significant time in their cancer journey. The bell is dedicated to the memory of Michelle Stacey, who was treated at the unit, and it was donated by Michelle’s sister Sharon and parents Shirley and Mick.
Brian Harnett from West Thamesmead, whose wife Irene was treated at QEH, also presented staff at the cancer unit with £1,000 that he’d fundraised along with his daughters, Sharon Hamilton and Amanda Harnett. Brian said: “Irene passed away in February this year. She received amazing care from all the staff at the unit. It was great to get to see the staff at QEH today and to thank them in person for their hard work and compassion.”
A chemotherapy bell was also unveiled at University Hospital Lewisham’s chemotherapy unit, donated by patients Liz Rackley and Tracy Kearns, who were treated on the QEH Unit. Liz and Tracy, both from Eltham, raised £800 for the unit through collections and a community fun day.
“I first heard of chemotherapy bells on TV and social media, and I was put out when I didn’t have a bell to ring at the end of my treatment!” says Tracy.
“I have nothing but praise for the Trust,” she continues. “The staff have been amazing, and we wanted to raise money for the unit as well as for the bell. The bell is in exactly the right place as you can see it from the chemotherapy chairs and it gives you something to aim for.”
Julie Baker, Macmillan lead cancer nurse added: “We can’t thank the families enough for their kindness; their donations really mean a lot to us.”
You can see a short video featuring Asad Ahmad and Julie Baker on our YouTube channel.
The wording beneath the bell reads:
The ringing of this bell marks a significant moment, a point in time that signals wherever you are in your journey.
- I ring this Bell for myself
- I ring this Bell for every other cancer patient that have, is, or will walk the journey that a cancer diagnosis brings
- I ring this bell for my family, friends and perfect strangers who have given time, talents, support and encouragement on my behalf.