WOMEN in Coventry have received a very special Christmas present with the opening of the city’s new breast screening unit.
The unit, funded by the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire Charity following a £400,000 appeal, will enable 10,000 more women in Coventry and Warwickshire to have their breasts screened.
The service will be open both evenings and weekends and provide better disabled access than hospitals or mobile screening units in a bid to encourage woman to attend appointments and get themselves checked.
Breast cancer survivor turned appeal ambassador Jayne Rice officially opened the unit alongside Free Radio breakfast presenter Rosin McCourt, who lost her mother to the disease.
Jayne was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer, a rare form of breast cancer, in November 2014 and had to undergo intensive chemotherapy, radiotherapy and a double mastectomy to beat the disease.
She said: “When I was diagnosed my husband wanted to do something to support me and raise money for the hospital, so my daughters suggested he dyed his hair pink – which he did.
“He raised £4,500 and when we went to donate it to University Hospital they asked me if I would be a patient ambassador for the new unit.
“Now four years on I have survived the disease and opened the centre.”
Jayne, a radiologist at UHCW, said she met many women with cancer while fundraising for the new screening unit – dedicating it to those still fighting the disease as well as those yet to be diagnosed.
She added: “I’m very humbled that I’m still here.
“I have spoken to a lot of ladies fighting breast cancer and it’s not till then that I actually realised how hard my fight was.
“At the time I did it because I had to survive – for me and for my family – and I forgot how hard the day-to-day was.
“But his new clinic will hopefully go some way to making an awful time easier.”
The woman behind the appeal, Adela Appleby, head of UHCW Charity, thanked the people of Coventry who helped raise nearly half a million pounds in just two years – saying it would not have been possible without their support.
She added: “They have done amazing things – everything from jumping out of planes, abseiling in West Orchards Shopping Centre, and baking cakes.
“We have also been lucky enough to have the support of local businesses who have helped us reach our target.
“Seeing so many women who will benefit from this new unit at the opening was an amazing sight.”
Currently one in eight women in the UK will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.
And while more are surviving breast cancer, thanks to early detection and treatment, sadly around 1,000 women a month still die from the disease.