A DREAM is closer to coming true after a campaign to create a new breast unit in Worcester raised more than half the cash.
The Worcestershire Breast Unit Campaign has now raised £905,171, more than half the £1.8 million needed to create the new unit at 220 Newtown Road, near Worcestershire Royal Hospital.
Leaders at the campaign, launched more than three years ago, believe the milestone will now make it far easier to attract grants to help make the unit a reality.
Campaign director Geoff Howard said: “The support from the community throughout Worcestershire has been fantastic and continues to grow.
“Now that we have reached the important halfway point we are able to go out to the national grant-making trusts and foundations.
“Such funders are reluctant to come on board in the early days, but are likely to be encouraged to support the campaign given this evidence of a groundswell of local support.”
The joint services review into the future of NHS services across hospitals, which some fear could stall the new unit, has failed to dampen enthusiasm for the campaign.
The charity seeks to create a one-stop shop for all breast patients across Worcestershire to improve not only their chances of survival and recovery, but their experience as patients.
Clinics would be based under one roof and the rooms have been designed with input from patients.
At the moment clinics are spread out throughout the main hospital, often over different floors and in sometimes cramped condition, making the experience less comfortable and pleasant for patients and staff.
Mr Howard said he wanted to see work start on creating the breast unit by the end of the year and he said the milestone would enable the campaign workers to “get on with the rest of the job”.
He said: “Now the campaign commands that credibility. It’s not just pie in the sky but cake on the table. I think 2013 is going to see quantum progress.”
Mr Howard said the evidence of the generosity of the people of Worcestershire was clear for all to see and it was all the more remarkable in that it had come during the worst recession in modern times.
Patient and fund-raiser Cherry Robinson, aged 68, of Osier Close, off Bath Road, Worcester, chairman of the Worcester Breast Cancer Support Group, welcomed the milestone. Mrs Robinson was one of the original calendar girls who launched the campaign in October 2009.
Mrs Robinson, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997 and again in September 2008, has also battled secondary cancers more recently and is to undergo chemotherapy within the next two weeks.
Figures from the campaign show that the money has come from community groups (£217,807), private individual events (£206,486), private individual donations (£159,937) and business events (£155,529).
The rest of the cash came from merchandising (calendar, bags, badges), local trusts, national trusts, private individuals in memoriam gifts, business gifts and business sponsorship.