Music V CancerA VITAL unit which gives non-clinical support to cancer patients and their families has reopened thanks to help from a local charity.

The Cancer Information Centre is now up and running again at the University Hospital of Hartlepool after a cash donation from Music v Cancer and associated charity Support Your Bowel.

MvC was set up by Hartlepool man Tony Larkin after he successfully won his battle with bowel cancer, and since 2010 more than £184,000 has been raised to help cancer services by putting on live music gigs at the town’s Grand Hotel with acts such as The Magic Numbers, The Blow Monkeys, David McAlmont, Turin Brakes, Jack Savoretti and the late Black, amongst many others.

The charity was asked to help with a donation towards a cancer information facility at the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, and Tony agreed to help on the condition that a similar service was revived in the sister hospital in Hartlepool.

Tony said: “We contributed £5,000 to North Tees and were asked if we’d be interested in helping to fund a Cancer Information Centre.

“We were happy to help, but I was aware that there had been a similar facility in Hartlepool’s hospital so I asked if we could pay towards having that one reopened as well.

“This is a vital service for cancer patients and their families, and it is also beneficial to the staff.”

The facility, located on the ground floor of Hartlepool’s hospital near to the main entrance, is staffed by Macmillan workers who can provide information on a host of things such as financial issues and other support away from the clinical side of the service.

Alan Chandler, Macmillan Information and Survivorship Manager, said: “People know we’re here now, and we have been really well received.

“This is the other side of cancer. People think of the diagnosis and the treatments, but there is a lot of information about the support which is in place to help patients and their families, which isn’t connected to the clinical side.

“Now, we have a facility which gives people the chance to call in and ask us for advice and information in a one-stop shop environment.”

Jan Harley, Lead Cancer Nurse at the University Hospital of Hartlepool, added: “The information centre has gone down really well since it opened, and it has made a big difference to patients and their families.

“We’re extremely grateful to Tony and his team at Music v Cancer and Support Your Bowel for their on-going support, it is very much appreciated.”

Just last year, the charity donated £36,000 to the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, purchasing two bowel probes for early cancer detection as well as a further £15,000 for a new Endoscopy Training Facility in Hartlepool.

To learn more about Music v Cancer, visit: http://www.musicvcancer.com/