Teaming up to help cancer patients
A Wearside charity has teamed up with businesses to provide free accommodation and transport for cancer patients receiving treatment at Sunderland Royal Hospital.
The Sunderland Prostate Oncology Group (SPOG) which offers advice and support to men who are diagnosed with penile and prostate cancer, is working with housing association Gentoo and Station Taxis to solve some of the difficulties patients face finding shortterm accommodation before and after treatment.
The ‘Home from Home’ scheme is a result of the work SPOG is completing with City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust’s Urology Unit to give help and support to prostate and penile cancer suffers as patients found it difficult when travelling from as far as Yorkshire to undergo treatment.
Following discussions with staff from the Urology Unit, SPOG volunteers, chairman Tony Kinnair, secretary Alan Wright and committee members Billy Jemma and George Goldsmith met with Gentoo and developed the idea of utilising some guest rooms at their sheltered accommodation units.
Gentoo, which owns and manages more than 29,000 homes in Sunderland, is providing a ‘Home from Home’ at two of its sheltered housing schemes, which can be used by a cancer patient and/or their companion.
They offer an overnight stay for a maximum of two nights so the patient can stay before admission to hospital and the night they’re discharged, if needed.
Lucy Malarkey, Deputy Director at Gentoo, said: “At Gentoo we believe in putting people first so when we got the opportunity to work with SPOG volunteers, our local hospital and Station Taxis we saw a way to help make a difference.
“We recognised that to- gether, we could help in making the fight against prostate and penile cancer just a little easier.”
Station Taxis are also offering free return travel for the patient and their companion from the apartment to the hospital, with the cost being subsidised by Station Taxis and SPOG to ensure the transport remains completely free for the patient.
Trevor Hines, managing director at Station Taxis, said: “Some patients have to travel a long distance for this treatment and don’t know the area very well, so transport should be the least of their worries.
“It is great to work together with SPOG Volunteers, Gentoo and our local hospital to provide this service.”
Trevor Hines, Alan Wright, Lorraine Sayer (Station Taxis), Ken Butler (taxi driver), Ben Jenkins (City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust), Lucy Malarkey (Gentoo) and George Goldsmith (SPOG).