Fundraisers thanked following support for people undergoing chemotherapy

Images: Kerry, Advanced Assistant Practitioner with one of two new scalp cooling machines, and a group photo of Ricky Grant Day Unit staff and fundraisers at the cream tea event.

Published: 11 September 2023

A thank you cream tea was held on Ricky Grant Day Unit at Torbay Hospital to recognise some of the dedicated people who raised the funds needed to purchase two new scalp cooling machines.

The funds were raised for the Torbay and South Devon NHS Charity over the course of 2022 and will support patients undergoing chemotherapy at Torbay Hospital. Each machine costs £10,000, with further costs for maintenance and training; all of which has been raised by fundraisers.

Ruth Allison, Ricky Grant Day Unit Manager at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are so pleased to be able to offer the Paxman Scalp Cooling Units to our patients.

“Losing hair can be distressing for patients already under strain from dealing with a cancer diagnosis and treatment, and being able to offer this service makes a significant positive difference to their mental wellbeing.”

The Paxman units work by reducing the temperature of the scalp by a few degrees immediately before, during and after the administration of chemotherapy. This in turn reduces blood flow to hair follicles, which can prevent or minimise hair loss.

The new scalp coolers replace the unit’s current scalp cooling machine which is over ten years old, and offers significantly improved technology.

The funds were raised by individuals and groups such as Dartmouth Rotary and Pat & Zoe’s Fundraising Events. One of the fundraisers, Joy Howick, who had been supported by the unit previously, said: “Getting breast cancer is very frightening and out of your control and one thing that really mattered to me is keeping my identity and how I looked.

“The amazing NHS staff at Ricky Grant Day Unit and the oncology unit saved my life – but the Paxman’s cold cap machine saved my hair. Being able to still see myself with hair in the mirror, for me was the most incredible psychological boost.”

Rachael Bryett, Fundraising Manager at Torbay and South Devon NHS Charity, said: “It is thanks to the generosity of local people who fundraise and donate to the Ricky Grant Day Unit and Torbay and South Devon cancer services that we’ve been able to provide the coolers, so we’re extremely grateful for their support.

“Speaking to the team and to patients who have benefited from the treatment, we really understand how important it is to offer this service. As a trust we are absolutely delighted to have been able to support the unit team to purchase the new scalp coolers.”