4 March 2021
Alison Day and her mother Gail Jose have both been undergoing cancer treatment during the COVID pandemic on a special mobile unit run by charity Hope for Tomorrow that offers clinically vulnerable cancer patients a safe haven to continue their treatments.
Alison, 47 and Gail, 78 live in Gillingham in Dorset, and became aware of the Hope for Tomorrow Mobile Cancer Unit outside their local surgery. The unit proved to be a sanctuary for both mother and daughter, who are at-risk and clinically vulnerable and need to shield during the COVID pandemic.
Alison, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2020, and Gail, who has a rare blood cancer, were able to meet for a socially distanced cup of tea and to undergo their treatments on the Hope for Tomorrow unit in Gillingham.
Alison says: ‘It was fantastic to be able to attend a session together. This was the nearest we have been to each other in a year. It was a safe environment for us both, and we were masked up, but also managed to have a cup of tea together – it was almost like having an outing to a café!’
Gail has been visiting the Hope for Tomorrow Mobile Cancer Unit for two years, and Alison has been attending weekly chemotherapy for nine weeks. Hope for Tomorrow brings cancer care closer to patients. The charity’s mission is to make a difference to the way that patients’ treatment is delivered. The convenient mobile cancer care units help patients to fit their treatment in to their lives, not the other way round.
Tina Seymour, Chief Executive of Hope for Tomorrow, explains: ‘We bring our fleet of Mobile Cancer Care Units (MCCUs) into the heart of communities, and by working closely with NHS Trusts throughout the country, we work together to help as many people as possible.
‘We rely entirely on donations and fundraising, as we get no statutory funding, to make this possible for cancer patients who need treatment closer to home; which is so important, especially during the COVID pandemic.
‘The COVID situation has been so difficult for cancer patients, however we are able to offer them a safe and convenient sanctuary to keep receiving their treatment. Coming to our mobile units is the only time many of them have been able to leave their homes. The patients can be supported as a key, vulnerable group, and equally we can support the NHS when they are pushed to capacity.’
Alison says that the Mobile Cancer Units have made a real difference to her and her family’s life. She says: ‘What was brilliant in particular is that with COVID I couldn’t go to hospital as I am classed as clinically extremely vulnerable, and there are limited visits for people like me. The Hope for Tomorrow unit is a great way to still receive treatment in a safe, very calm and friendly environment, and our contact with people is limited, which is essential.’
‘It’s had a positive impact on my family too – it’s so much easier whilst juggling home-schooling and I didn’t need to rely on my husband to take me there and back as the unit was so much closer.
‘I am truly grateful for the treatment I received, and the Hope for Tomorrow Mobile Cancer Unit is amazing for those of us who need safe treatments during the pandemic and beyond.’
Patients who are undergoing cancer treatment can find their nearest mobile cancer unit here