First chemo patients benefit from funded scalp coolers

Chemotherapy patients at Leeds Cancer Centre can now benefit from 10 state-of-the-art scalp cooling systems, all donated by fundraiser, Jacqui Drake.

Jacqui has raised £110,000 to purchase the ‘next generation’ scalp cooling machines and innovative caps that help reduce hair loss for patients during chemotherapy. The equipment is not routinely funded by the NHS. 

St James’s Hospital has been using scalp cooling since 1998, but now through Jacqui’s support, they have been able to ensure patients have access to the latest technology to prevent chemotherapy induced hair loss.

The new machines, which went straight into use, feature an interactive touchscreen and additional features such as visual warning displays to ensure ease of use for clinical staff. Other advancements include a new control pump which manages the speed and coolant flow to help improve the efficiency of scalp cooling.

Hair loss is consistently ranked as one of the most common and feared side effects of chemotherapy treatment and often people will refuse it because they don’t want to lose their hair. The damage that chemotherapy causes to the hair follicle can be alleviated by using the scalp cooling treatment, also known as the 'cold cap'.

Jacqui said: “Being able to see the impact of my fundraising absolutely makes all the hard work worthwhile. As a patient myself, my ethos is all about positivity and finding the good in a difficult situation.

“I’m determined to keep fundraising for Leeds Cares and reach that million-pound target to continue making improvements at the Leeds Cancer Centre for as many future patients as possible.”

Nurse Alyson Beckett said: “The NHS does an incredible job, but everyone knows funding is not endless, so we do need that extra bit of support from our charity. Fundraisers who spend their time dedicated to generating money in order to help us out are truly fantastic, especially when, like Jacqui, they’re already dealing with their own treatment journey.”

The Paxman scalp cooling system has been used by over 100,000 patients, in 35 countries and is responsible for helping patients to keep their hair and retain normality during chemotherapy. The cap works by lowering scalp temperature before, during and after the administration of chemotherapy.

The ‘Jacqui’s Million’ appeal is raising money specifically to support the Leeds Cancer Centre through Leeds Cares, the official charity partner of Leeds Teaching Hospitals. After being diagnosed with secondary cancer in 2009, Jacqui has been receiving treatment in Leeds and her cancer is now classified as malignant stage four. To see Jacqui’s upcoming fundraising events, visit her facebook page.

Image: Shelley McMahon, Jenny Davy, Jacqui (from Jacqui's millions), Anne Marie Kenny, Alyson Beckett and Faridah Said.


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