The Rigby Foundation continues to support people with cancer

On Tuesday 19 September 2017 the Rigby Foundation hosted the second Rigby Awards at the new Stratford Hospital.

The Rigby Foundation sponsor an annual £50,000 award which encourages clinicians to submit research proposals to find new ways of delivering cancer care for our local community. This is in addition to the extremely generous £250,000 donation the foundation donated for the new Stratford Hospital in March 2015.

After presenting to a panel of judges, the prestigious grant was awarded jointly to clinicians at South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust and The Shakespeare Hospice.

The two organisations have worked together on a proposal to help cancer patients and survivors manage fatigue and support them in returning to work. This vital project will help patients to maximise their wellbeing and regain a sense of normality at what is often a difficult time.

Sir Peter Rigby said: “In addition to supporting the establishment of the new cancer unit, we wanted to make a longer term commitment to the work of the cancer units through an award which enabled healthcare professionals at both Warwick and Stratford to explore their ideas and visions for innovative research and initiatives in cancer related fields. This has been well received and already several suggested activities have been financed and are underway. This year’s award links the hospitals to the work of The Shakespeare Hospice, an increasingly important relationship as some future services will be delivered in the home as well as in specialist hospital units.”

Glen Burley, Chief Executive at South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust said: “This support from the Rigby Foundation helps us to champion innovation in cancer care. We have already seen how much the new Rigby Unit at Stratford Hospital is going to benefit patients and I am very pleased that we are working in close partnership with the Shakespeare Hospice to enhance cancer services in South Warwickshire.”

Angie Arnold, Chief Executive at the Shakespeare Hospice, said: “We are delighted to receive this Rigby Award and extremely grateful to the Rigby Foundation for the generous prize. This innovative model is not used anywhere else, so we have a real opportunity to make a difference to people living with or overcoming cancer. The new Stratford Hospital is a fantastic facility and the Shakespeare Hospice is thrilled that such a significant investment has been made in providing first class cancer services to our local communities.”

Professor Diane Playford said: “I am very grateful that the Rigby Foundation has chosen to support this exciting initiative. I feel proud and excited to be implementing a dedicated vocational rehabilitation service that will improve the lives of cancer survivors.”

The evening was also an opportunity to hear how the previous year’s projects had progressed, which included; research on Outpatient Induction Chemotherapy, research into if the One-Stop Nodal Assessment improves the detection of lymph node metastases in Colorectal Cancer, work on the prediction of rectal tumour response to Chemoradiotherapy on diffusion weighted MRI and research on early breast cancer and its association with vitamin D deficiency.

The Rigby Cancer Unit at Stratford Hospital treated its first patient on Monday 7 August 2017. It follows the same model as the Aylesford Unit at Warwick Hospital which has seen a high increase in demand since it opened in 2008. One of the key drivers to implement these services in Stratford was to ensure they are accessible to communities across South Warwickshire.

The Shakespeare Hospice has been working closely with the Trust to develop local cancer services and to help make the Rigby Unit a centre of excellence. To support this they will be running counselling and complementary therapy services from Stratford Hospital. The complimentary therapy service will enable patients to receive holistic treatments such as reflexology, reiki and aromatherapy in a comfortable, relaxing environment.

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