Lives to be saved by £1.3m Sheffield research unit

A new £1.3 million research and treatment suite that will treat hundreds of South Yorkshire patients and potentially help hundreds of thousands of others around the country has been opened officially.

Olympic medallist Sarah Stevenson MBE, who won a bronze medal for taekwondo at London 2012, was on hand to cut the ribbon on the new facility at Weston Park Hospital.

Sarah Stevenson cuts the ribbon to open the unit

Sarah Stevenson cuts the ribbon to open the unit

Sarah, who is from Bentley, near Doncaster, spoke movingly at the opening ceremony about losing both of her parents to cancer.

She said it was the first time she had been back to the hospital since her father received treatment there in 2011.

“Every single time we walked through the door here, we were just overwhelmed with positivity and support,” she said.

The new unit has been treating people since the start of the year, with the expanded facility due to treat around 500 patients per year who will be taking part in cancer research studies.

It is an expanded replacement for previous facilities that opened in 1999 but had become outdated.

Grandmother-of-three Lynne Levey, aged 65, from Fulwood, has been using the facilities since she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the turn of the year.

She is undergoing chemotherapy while taking part in a clinical trial.

“You are doing it to help out other people in the future,” she said. “If people hadn’t done it 20 years ago, I wouldn’t have the benefit of the drugs I’m having now.”

Money for the centre has been raised by Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity, Yorkshire Cancer Research and Westfield Health.

Professor Rob Coleman, director of the Sheffield Cancer Research Centre, said the new facilities represent a ‘gold standard’ in cancer care. He said local patients will now have more opportunities ‘to take part in pioneering cancer research’.