A plea is being made to the Government to help a charity take the strain out of hospital visits for outpatients requiring cancer and kidney dialysis treatment.
Since 2005 Brú Columbanus has housed 5,000 families free of charge in a centre close to Cork University Hospital (CUH), so they can be near sick loved ones.
Now the organisation, which was established by the Knights of St Columbanus, wants to open a new centre nearby which will cater for patients who spend much of their day travelling to and from the hospital, especially for chemotherapy, radiotherapy and dialysis.
Major of County Cork, Cllr Alan Coleman who visited the existing facility, received unanimous backing from his colleagues earlier this week to write to the Department of Health urging it to help provide a substantial part of the €4.5m required for the new building.
Brú Columbanus board member Paul Moynihan said the charity was very grateful for the council’s backing.
He said the board was anxious to help people who were travelling on the cancer support buses from West Cork and Kerry and others, coming from even further afield, for daily treatment at CUH.
He said people who were unwell and suffering from the after-affects of chemotherapy or run down after dialysis should not have to travel long distances because that was wearing them down.
“Some are having to endure five-hour round trips, whereas they could stay at the planned new centre which would be opposite the existing centre at Cardinal Way, Wilton.”
Mr Moynihan said it made sense to have those needing day treatments stay at such a facility because of its close proximity to the hospital.
The family-friendly complex provides 26 en-suite family rooms with a supporting kitchen and lounges where families can meet others in similar situations and can lend support and understanding to each other and draw on their shared experiences.
The centre, it was suggested, was operated like an hotel, with the aid of 70 volunteers and an annual upkeep cost of around €250,000, raised from donations.
Mr Moynihan said Brú Columbanus was committed in continuing to provide continuing support and practical help for those in genuine need.
“If a substantial capital contribution was made by the Government to the new project then we could fund-raise a lot of money ourselves to ensure this much-needed facility becomes a reality,” he added.
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