Chorley breast cancer 'inundated' by requests for equipment from the NHS

  • Video report by ITV Granada Correspondent Elaine Willcox

A charity set up by a breast cancer survivor says it has been inundated with requests for equipment from the NHS.

Boot Out Breast Cancer (BOBC) has raised over £1.5 million diagnostic and surgical equipment to give patients the best possible chance of survival.

The charity was set up by Debbie Dowie, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 and had a mastectomy.

She said: "The whole point of the charity is to buy more diagnostic equipment for hospitals in and around the northwest and beyond, to try to create a world without breast cancer."

Suzy Orr paid tribute to her surgeon and the team at Chorley Breast Unit for her exceptional care Credit: ITV Granada

Debbie invited Suzy Orr to be a special guest at the charity's annual fundraising ball.

The charity's founder and her small team of volunteers all buy their own tickets for the dinner.

Granada Reports has been following Suzy, the women's business network founder from Chorley after she was diagnosed with ductal cancer back in June.

Suzy has now had surgery to remove the tumour in her breast and is back at work. Recent test results showed how the cancer has not spread to her lymph nodes.

The 'Diamond Ball' at the Kimpton Clock Tower in Manchester raised over £90,000 and will be used to buy diagnostic equipment for Bolton Hospital NHS Trust.

The charity also provided an Ultrasound scanner, which cost £58,900 for The Linacre Breast Screening Unit in Wigan.

BOBC volunteers and Ambassador purchasing vital equipment for the NGS Credit: BOBC

That equipment was used to diagnose Suzy Orr's breast scanner which was picked up in a routine mammogram.

A second Sentimag machine was also delivered to Chorley Breast Unit this week, thanks to the charity, to allow more surgeons to remove cancerous tumours with pin-point accuracy.

Suzy Orr is now an Ambassador for BOBC charity and asked her consultant at Chorley what equipment they needed.

BOBC has also offered to buy equipment for a new unit opening in Leigh, supporting breast services in Wigan.

The country's most decorated Paralympian, Dame Sarah Storey, is the charity's patron and her mum is a breast cancer survivor.

She said: "To see a huge celebration of what they've achieved is wonderful. It's also an opportunity to kind of reflect and remember the people we have lost."

"I lost someone very close to me and my team this year. So it's an opportunity for both, but also an opportunity to raise funds to hopefully provide that diagnostic equipment. That means we won't lose so many people in the future."

In her speech, Suzy Orr paid tribute to her surgeon and the team looking after her.

"It's a horrible disease. The good news is and I have got good news, I went to my results yesterday and this fabulous surgeon got all the cancer out so I'm just going to finish there and say I'm Suzy or I'm a really proud ambassador for Boot Out breast cancer."

Shazia Hafiz, consultant surgeon at Chorley Breast Unit was also a special guest at the Gala dinner Credit: ITV Granada

Shazia Hafiz, Consultant Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon said the charity was providing vital support to the NHS.

"Receiving donations and state-of-the-art equipment means that we can give the absolute gold standard care to our patients, which is what we strive for."

"Suzy has raised so much awareness, but in particular for hard to reach communities, in terms of mammogram screening, such as the Asian community or the Afro-Caribbean community."

Dougie Mercer from Toughsheet lost his wife Bernie to breast cancer Credit: ITV Granada

Dougie Mercer, the owner of a Recycling firm, Toughsheet, the new sponsor of Bolton Wanderers FC lost his wife, Bernie to breast cancer.

One of his daughters volunteered for the BOBC charity, borrowing her dad's van to pick up supplies for the gala dinner.

Mr Mercer said Bernie was good friends with Debbie and applauded what she is doing.

He said his wife's cancer was sadly detected too late, and the latest diagnostic equipment and screening programmes are vital to catch the disease as early as possible.

Bernie came up with the firm's name, because it was fun and memorable.

He said, "Bernie will be laughing her head off up there because she was one of the biggest Bolton Wanderers fans and I was a football widower."

Bernie Mercer came up with the name Toughsheet and was a huge Bolton Wanderers fan Credit: Family picture

In a room packed with women whose lives have been touched by breast cancer, Debbie Dowie and a small team of volunteers have already started work on which hospitals they can support next.

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