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Patient Clive shows support for Bronglais Chemo Appeal

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Patient Clive Vassell is pictured with his wife Pamela

WE TALK to Clive Vassell about his treatment at Bronglais Hospital’s Chemotherapy Day Unit after being diagnosed with cancer of the blood at the age of 55.

It all happened very suddenly while I was on holiday in the Dominican Republic with my wife Pamela. I fell seriously ill and had to be rushed to hospital there.

I was having hallucinations, my temperature was through the roof, I couldn’t stand, had no balance, developed pneumonia and needed blood transfusions. It was a nightmare for my wife, too, who had no idea what was going on.

Back in Wales, I saw my doctor and went for blood tests. In December 2018 I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, which is a cancer that forms in your white blood cells, accumulating in the bone marrow and crowding out the healthy plasma cells that help you fight infection.

It was a lot to deal with, for me and my wife. I had only stepped down from a 30-year career in retail management the year before, moving from London for a quieter life in the north Wales countryside at Corris. Now, here I was fighting cancer.

I was having my first chemotherapy session at Bronglais Hospital on Christmas Eve and this was followed by two or three-weekly infusions for seven months.

I then had a bone marrow transplant in Swansea and have been in remission ever since.

It took me 12 months to get back to feeling normal after the transplant. I was left with no immune system, felt very weak, struggled to eat and drink and my wife and I had to shield from family and friends, including my two stepchildren and the grandchildren.

I still go to the day unit at Bronglais Hospital every two months, for a Zometa infusion to help strengthen my bones. The support is fantastic.

Patient Clive Vassell

During the chemotherapy treatment, it was often an early start. Pamela would drive me the 25-or-so miles from home to the hospital.

Once at the chemotherapy day unit, I would get a welcome and be shown to a chair. Pre-COVID my wife would be able to come in with me to support me, but now when I am attending for the maintenance therapy I have to go in on my own and she waits in the car.

Once in the chair, a nurse would talk you through what would happen and ask several questions about my health, especially about my mouth because it is important you have no dental issues if you are having chemotherapy.

Then there was an injection into my stomach and I would receive chemotherapy for about half an hour at a time. It was just a matter of sitting there and trying to relax.

All in all, I would be in the unit for about 90 minutes each time. The treatment was always exceptional. I felt very much at ease, knowing I was in safe hands.

After my session, I would go home, lie down and try to be as comfortable as possible. I felt nauseous and occasionally would vomit after treatment. I was on 15 different pills a day and at the time had a lot of pain in my fingers, toes and back.

The team at Bronglais Hospital is fantastic but the physical environment of the unit is not ideal. You are having to deal with the fact you have got cancer so a more private space would be preferable.

I am so pleased that the Bronglais Chemo Appeal has been launched to raise the money needed so a new day unit can be constructed. It is what patients and the staff deserve. I am so looking forward to seeing the difference a purpose-built unit will make.

If you would you like to support the Bronglais Chemo Appeal, you can get further information at  www.hywelddahealthcharities.org.uk

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Health

Local Businesses help raise astonishing £10,000 for Cardio-Respiratory Ward at Bronglais Hospital

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THE ORGANISERS of the 2021 Aberystwyth Businesspersons’ Lunch have donated the £10,000 proceeds to the Cardio-Respiratory Ward at Bronglais Hospital.

Consultant Cardiologist Dr Donogh McKeogh; Aled and Rose Rowlands;

John Davies’ widow Ann; Frank Bridle; John’s daughter and son, Angharad

and Rhodri; and Iestyn Leyshon

The lunch last December was in memory of well-known local businessman, jeweller and musician John Davies, who had helped organise the annual lunch for many years but sadly passed away just a few months before.

“John was such a lovely man, a pillar of the town and so well thought of, that we decided it was fitting that the lunch should be in his memory and that the proceeds should go to the cardiac unit where he had been treated for so many years,” said Aled Rowlands, who organised the lunch along with Frank Bridle, Layla Mangan, Gary Pemberthy, Huw Bates and Iestyn Leyshon.

“It was a very successful day, with nearly 200 people enjoying a lunch, comedian, band, auction and raffle. It was a fitting tribute to John who was such a big part of the town.”

John Davies joined his parents’ business at T J Davies at the age of 16 where he worked for 64 years after leaving Llandaff Cathedral School. He passed away in August 2021, at the age of 80.

John’s wife Ann and children Angharad and Rhodri said: “We were delighted at the generous amount that was raised in his memory at the Businesspersons Christmas lunch.

“Charity work was important to John, through his membership of the Lions Club and it is fitting that the money raised went to a department where he personally received such care and attention from Dr McKeogh and his team.

“John will be remembered not only as a businessman but also as a keen and talented trumpeter, playing with Aberystwyth Town Band, Aber Jazz and Philomusica, to name but a few, as well as playing carols with the Town Band every Christmas Day around Bronglais Hospital wards and care homes in the town.”

Pictured at the cheque presentation at Bronglais Hospital are (from left) Consultant Cardiologist Dr Donogh McKeogh; Aled and Rose Rowlands; John Davies’ widow Ann; Frank Bridle; John’s daughter and son, Angharad and Rhodri; and Iestyn Leyshon.

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Health

Staff at Bronglais Hospital’s Chemotherapy Day Unit say thanks for the
support of the local communities

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The Bronglais Chemo Appeal has passed its £500,000 target in just 10 months! And the team at Bronglais Hospital’s Chemotherapy Day Unit is today sending a big thank you to fundraisers and supporters in local communities.

The Bronglais Chemo Appeal launched on 30th November 2021 with the aim of raising the remaining £500,000 needed to transform the current chemotherapy day unit at Bronglais General Hospital into a modern, fit-for-the-future facility.

Since its launch, our local communities have thoroughly embraced the Appeal, with fundraisers walking, cycling, golfing, gardening, holding a summer ball, and even staging an Elvis tribute event to raise money… and the list goes on!

Bridget Harpwood, Fundraising Officer for Hywel Dda Health Charities, said: “We’ve been genuinely blown away by the support from our local communities, it has entirely exceeded our expectations.

“What’s become clear is how passionate people are about their local NHS – and how creative they are when it comes to fundraising!”

Moondance Foundation provides boost

In addition to the funds raised locally, the Appeal has received a substantial donation from the Moondance Foundation.

Diane Briere de l’Isle Engelhardt, founder and chair of the Moondance Foundation, said: “We are delighted to have supported this Appeal to transform the chemotherapy day unit at Bronglais Hospital for the local community.”

Making a difference

Bettina Vance, Chemotherapy Clinical Nurse Specialist, said: “On behalf of staff at the unit and Bronglais Hospital, I’d like to say how grateful we are to everyone who has made the Appeal such a success.

“Your contribution, no matter how big or small, will make a huge difference to the experiences of patients, families and staff at the chemotherapy day unit. We are now looking forward to the next steps and turning our dream of providing a purpose-built unit for our patients into reality.”

Peter Skitt, Hywel Dda University Health Board’s County Director for Ceredigion and project director for the development of the new unit, said: “I would like to thank everyone who has supported the Appeal, including the Moondance Foundation, for recognising how important a new chemotherapy day unit is for Bronglais Hospital.

“The new unit will provide an improved experience for patients in a modern, fit-for-the-future facility that is tailored to their needs at different stages of cancer, offering more comfort, privacy and dignity.

“The technical design stage of the project has already begun, and we anticipate construction work starting in summer 2023. The target is for the new chemotherapy unit to go live in summer 2024.

“The total raised by the Bronglais Chemo Appeal stands today at £591,316. Every penny raised, including future donations, will go directly to the Appeal fund, with any surplus funds used to support those affected by cancer across mid Wales. With the current economic climate, we predict that construction costs will increase over the coming months. Therefore, to have exceeded the original target will be of great benefit to the project.”

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Community

Gweinidog yn agor Canolfan Addysg Iechyd newydd Aberystwyth

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Gweinidog yn agor Canolfan Addysg Iechyd newydd ym Mhrifysgol Aberystwyth
Bydd Gweinidog Iechyd Cymru yn agor canolfan newydd gwerth £1.7 miliwn i hyfforddi staff y gwasanaeth iechyd ym Mhrifysgol Aberystwyth heddiw (dydd Gwener 30 Medi).
Mae’r Brifysgol wedi creu ystafelloedd ymarfer clinigol ansawdd uchel, yn ei Chanolfan Addysg Gofal Iechyd newydd, sydd gyferbyn ag Ysbyty Bronglais yn Aberystwyth. Cafodd y datblygiad gwerth £1.7 miliwn ei gefnogi gyda grant o £500,000 gan Lywodraeth Cymru.
Rhan ganolog o’r safle newydd yw Uned Sgiliau Clinigol gydag ardaloedd efelychu ansawdd uchel sy’n adlewyrchu taith y claf o’r cartref a gwasanaethau cymunedol i asesu, gofal wedi’ i gynllunio a gofal acíwt.
Mae’r offer addysgu newydd yn cynnwys dyfeisiadau realiti rhithwir ar gyfer profi heneiddio a modelau dynol sy’n efelychu ystod eang o gyflyrau iechyd.
Dechreuodd y garfan gyntaf o fyfyrwyr nyrsio ar eu hastudiaethau yn y Ganolfan ym Mhrifysgol Aberystwyth ddechrau mis Medi.
Disgwylir y bydd y datblygiadau newydd yn hwb mawr i ymdrechion i gadw a recriwtio staff i’r gwasanaeth iechyd, yn enwedig yn y Canolbarth.
Dywedodd y Gweinidog Iechyd Eluned Morgan AS: “Rwy’n falch iawn o agor y ganolfan newydd hon ym Mhrifysgol Aberystwyth. Mae’n gydweithrediad ardderchog rhwng y byrddau iechyd a’r Brifysgol a bydd yn hwb o ran recriwtio nyrsys yn yr ardal yma.
“Rwyf hefyd yn falch iawn y bydd myfyrwyr yn cael y cyfle i astudio drwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg, a fydd yn helpu i gyflawni ein cynlluniau i gynyddu’r defnydd o’r Gymraeg yn y gwasanaeth iechyd, fel y nodir yn ein strategaeth Mwy na Geiriau.”
Datblygwyd addysg nyrsio ym Mhrifysgol Aberystwyth gyda chefnogaeth nifer o bartneriaid, gan gynnwys byrddau iechyd Hywel Dda, Betsi Cadwaladr a Phowys yn ogystal â defnyddwyr gwasanaethau a gofalwyr.
Fe ddyfarnodd Addysg a Gwella Iechyd Cymru gytundeb i Brifysgol Aberystwyth hyfforddi nyrsys ar gyfer oedolion ac iechyd meddwl sydd wedi ei ariannu gan Lywodraeth Cymru.
Caiff y myfyrwyr sy’n astudio ar gyfer y graddau newydd a gychwynnodd eleni y cyfle i ddilyn hyd at hanner eu cwrs drwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg.
Ychwanegodd yr Is-Ganghellor yr Athro Elizabeth Treasure:
“Anrhydedd fawr yw cael y Gweinidog yn ymweld i agor y Ganolfan, sydd yn fuddsoddiad arwyddocaol iawn i’r Canolbarth. Rwy’n ffyddiog bydd hyn yn hwb o ran recriwtio a chadw staff yn lleol ac yn rhanbarthol. A, thrwy gynnig llawer iawn o’r hyfforddiant drwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg, bydd yn fuddiol i’r ddarpariaeth iaith yn ein gwasanaeth iechyd yn ogystal.”
“Rydym yn ddiolchgar iawn i Lywodraeth Cymru am gefnogi’r prosiect. Hoffwn i ddiolch hefyd i’r holl bartneriaid sydd wedi cyflawni hyn, gan gynnwys y Byrddau Iechyd lleol, Cyngor Sir Ceredigion ac Addysg a Gwella Iechyd Cymru“
“Dros y blynyddoedd i ddod, ac wrth weithio gyda phartneriaid, rydym yn awyddus i gyfrannu mwyfwy at gwrdd ag anghenion hyfforddi ein gwasanaeth iechyd. Rwy’n siŵr bydd y Ganolfan newydd yn adnodd pwysig yn hyn o beth. Dyma ni heddiw yn gosod sylfeini ar gyfer twf darpariaeth addysg gofal iechyd yma yn Aberystwyth ar gyfer y dyfodol.”

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