Patient sees her own fundraising put to good use at Leeds Cancer Centre

A cancer patient who set herself a target of raising £1m to help others has seen the first benefits of her efforts being put to use in Leeds.

Jacqui Drake and Alyson Beckett at the Leeds Cancer Centre.

Jacqui Drake was diagnosed with secondary cancer in 2009 and has been receiving treatment at the specialist Leeds Cancer Centre, but for the last three years she has also been raising money to help patients of the future with new equipment and services.

And the first of that is now in situ at the centre after Leeds Cares, which supports Leeds Teaching Hospitals, identified two projects which could be put in place.

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Nearly £110,000 was allocated to purchase ten scalp coolers. The innovative caps can work towards reducing hair loss for patients during chemotherapy however, they are not routinely funded by the NHS. The new state-of-the-art cooling caps will also replace equipment that is more than a decade old.

Jacqui Drake and Alyson Beckett with the cooling caps.

The second project will use a further £56,000 to fund a specific nurse position for a 12-month period. The lead nurse post, for Systemic Anti-Cancer Therapy (SACT) was filled by Alyson Beckett. Systemic Anti-Cancer Therapy is the treatment of cancers using specialist medicines, including chemotherapy drugs and medicine to modify how the body’s immune system responds.

Recently, the two women met at the Cancer Centre on ward J80 where the cooling caps will be used by patients undergoing treatment.

Ms Drake said “Being able to see the impact of my fundraising absolutely makes all the hard work worthwhile. As a patient myself, my ethos is all about positivity and finding the good in a difficult situation. I’m determined to keep fundraising for Leeds Cares and reach that million pound target to continue making improvements at the Leeds Cancer Centre for as many future patients as possible.”

Nurse Beckett added patients like Jacqui were a real inspiration to the team. She said: “The NHS does an incredible job but everyone knows funding is not endless so we do need that extra bit of support from our charity. Fundraisers who spend their time dedicated to generating money in order to help us out are truly fantastic, especially when, like Jacqui, they’re already dealing with their own treatment journey.”

Jacqui has several other fundraising events planned before summer such as a Mad Hatter’s PositiviTEA party and a Positivity Parade & Picnic. Her goal is to reach her next milestone of raising £200,000 by Christmas.