Hearing the words “I’m afraid you have cancer.” Is one of the scariest things most of us can imagine having to process. The thought of attending the intimidating, uncomfortable hospital week after week to receive gruelling treatment is the last thing you want to have on your mind when you are going through such a difficult time. Here at GEMS charity our aim is to make treatment and visits a little easier for patients fighting cancer and their supporters at the Leicester Royal infirmary (LRI) Osborne building.
Back in 2012 our founders, Andy and Sally Anderson, supported 4 close friends through their cancer treatment and weekly hospital visits. They witnessed first hand that the incredible staff were struggling with antiquated facilities and equipment and that the overall look and feel of the unit was having a detrimental effect on the mental wellbeing of the patients being treated there.
This is when GEMS charity was formed with the explicit aim “To help the patients and their supporters who visit the Chemotherapy suite in the Osborne Building at the Leicester Royal Infirmary (LRI) more comfortable.”
Chemotherapy often requires patients to sit in the Chemotherapy Suite at LRI for several hours at a time to receive their treatment which can be incredibly uncomfortable. This is the area that Andy and Sally knew they could make the biggest and most immediate difference. The charity raised several thousand pounds and began donating electronically controlled therapy chairs. These chairs could be fully controlled by the patient to ensure they were as comfortable as possible, they decreased the chance of bed sores and were height adjustable to reduce the chance of injury to the ward staff administering the treatment. Meg Cook, a GEMS charity trustee, had received treatment for cancer in the past and said “Comfortable chairs like these would have helped with relaxing me whilst having the intrusive treatment. I became a trustee of GEMS charity to try and make patients treatment time bearable and to improve the environment of the chemo suite."
Andy, Sally and other members of the charity were overwhelmed by the support they had received from their local community and beyond and were delighted that the chairs they had donated made such a huge difference to patients. GEMS charity has worked tirelessly ever since to continue to offer better facilities and greater comfort to local patients and their supporters including refurbishing the small balcony, so patients can sit out, and one of the treatment rooms. Click here to find out more about how you can get involved.