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Fundraisers' £19,000 boost for cancer patients

By Plymouth Herald  |  Posted: January 16, 2013

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Nearly £19,000 has been handed over by a city charity to help cancer patients.

But busy staff in the Oncology Department at Derriford Hospital have already spent much of the £18,646.

The money raised by Pals of Pooch – Plymouth Oncology Outpatients and Chemotherapy – has bought equipment including heart and blood pressure monitors and electric wheelchairs.

Staff facilities have also been improved and more comfortable chairs for patients waiting for treatment are on order.

Pooch was co-founded by Laura Washer and David Hocking, who have both been treated at Derriford.

Mrs Washer, of Torpoint, has been living with cancer for eight years while continuing to work as a Royal Navy Chief Petty Officer at HMS Raleigh.

She has had breast, brain and liver tumours and is still being treated.

The donation is on top of about £14,000 Mrs Washer helped raise for Breakthrough Cancer before Pooch was launched.

She said: “People say I have done a wonderful job but it is not me, it is people who have raised the money through Pooch.

“It is really humbling. Things like this keep me going, stop me sitting on the sofa.”

Oncology sister Mora Campbell said: “Laura is amazing. She has had to cope with an awful lot.

“What Pooch has raised is absolutely fantastic.

“It all helps us do our job and keeps patients comfortable.”

Between 120 and 150 people each day are treated through the Oncology Department.

“That number keeps growing,” Ms Campbell added.

“But you will see this is not a depressing place. Cancer is not a life sentence. It is very curable these days.”

The money was raised through many events over the last 18 months, including a ball at HMS Raleigh, sponsored walks, runs and cycles, and concerts.

Meanwhile Pooch’s two next fundraisers have been planned.

Donations for the raffle are needed for the next ball at HMS Raleigh on May 4, and the Leafy Lanes sponsored walk at Lydford is scheduled for May 19.

For more details go to the website www.palsofpooch.org.

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