weston park cancer support charity

Our History

The charity was founded with money raised through an appeal to the generous people of South Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire and was firstly known as Weston Park Day Care Unit.  It was a vision of a Physicist, Professor Harold Miller and a Consultant, Dr Frank Neal, both treating patients at Weston Park Hospital.  The charity was incorporated in 1980.

Oliver Lawn (CBE) was the key person in ensuring funds were raised by public donation and grants to build and run the Day Care Unit.  The doors opened to the Unit in 1982.

Patients at this time (1980′s) had severe skin reactions due to radiotherapy treatment.  These side-effects were in need of monitoring, but patients did not necessarily need to be seen by their doctors.  When Professor Miller died in 1996 the name of the service was changed to The Harold Miller Day Care Unit in acknowledgment of what his understanding of the needs of the patients had meant to so many.

The original plan for the service was for patients to have a homely environment to go to which would relieve their feelings of isolation, allow them to receive help with dressings and have a chance to talk to nursing professionals who would listen to their worries and concerns and advise them.

Over the years we have supported many patients who have been diagnosed with cancer – whether they have had surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy – and helped them come to terms with their illness.  Increasingly, we have also been there for their families, friends and carers too.

Advances in treatments for cancer have improved significantly over the years.  The skin reactions from radiotherapy have vastly improved, as treatments are now very finely tuned to target the cancer.  Chemotherapy is given frequently as a day case, and symptoms are better controlled.

In 2001, we were asked by the then Chairman of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, David Stone, to consider moving the Day Care Unit building so they could expand the radiotherapy department at WPH.  This was agreed by the Trustees in July 2001.  From November 2003 the Day Care Unit was moved to temporary accommodation on the 6th floor at WPH, until we moved into the building 23 Northumberland Road at the end of April 2005.  During this period we were asked if we would consider a drop-in facility for people with cancer.  This was opened in May 2005, when the title changed to Weston Park Cancer Information and Support Centre.  This was officially opened by Professor Lord Robert Winston, Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University in November 2006.

With the advances in medicine over the past 30 years, we have developed a keen understanding of what patients go through and many cancer patients are now able to pick up the threads of their lives after their treatment, but find that the experience of having cancer has left them feeling fearful of the future or with a desire to change the way they lived before their illness.

Courses and services for patients and carers have been developed over the years, as we have listened to what people need support with.

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