Employees of Waterford’s Bausch & Lomb pledged more than €63,000 to buy an ambulance to alleviate hardship of local cancer patients who have to travel to Dublin or Cork for radiotherapy in April.
Now the South East Radiotherapy Trust (SERT) will launch a similar campaign in Kilkenny next week, which it hopes will be just as well supported by the general public and corporate groups.
“On Wednesday at 11am we will be launching the South East Radiotherapy Trust (SERT) in Kilkenny. The Lord Mayor, Martin Brett, will be launching it for us. We hope to do the same in Kilkenny as we have in Waterford.
“In Waterford, employees of several large companies are giving us 50 cent every two weeks out of their pay packet. It might not sound like a lot but it all adds up. We hope that employees in Kilkenny might do something similar,” she added.
Consultant surgeon in Waterford, Mr Gordon Watson, said they have been so encouraged by the generosity of people in the south-east. He said the ambulance provided by the staff at Bausch & Lomb has already made such a difference.
“I am just flabbergasted at the incredible response,” added Mr Watson, as he recalled the response among Bausch & Lomb’s 1,800 employees.
About 200 women in the south-east develop breast cancer each year and 50% of these have to travel to Cork or Dublin for radiotherapy as part of their treatment.
“It is a very traumatic experience for a cancer patient who has on average five minutes of radiotherapy treatment, five days a week, for five weeks to be separated from the support of their families at this time,” said Mr Watson.
“The ambulance funded by the Bausch & Lomb employees will be used to pick up patients at their homes and take them to hospital or to a central pick-up point for onward travel to the treatment centre and may alleviate the need for some patients to stay in hospital.”