Heartbroken widower praises mobile cancer units
- Credit: Ben Davies
"I will miss her for ever" - those are the heartbreaking words of Ben Davies, who is now fundraising for more mobile cancer care units (MCCUs) in Suffolk, in memory of his wife Lynsey Davies who died at the age of 40.
Before Lynsey's death in March of this year, the couple from Sudbury had worked together to raise more than £20,000 for the Hope For Tomorrow charity that provides mobile cancer treatment - Lynsey affectionately called her local unit "the party bus".
Mr Davies, 49, said: "Lynsey was determined to not only continue to raise money and awareness for Hope For Tomorrow but she continued using Frisbey, whilst she carried on working, up until two days before she passed away.
"Lynsey used Frisbey for five months, it is where she had her weekly PICC line flush whilst having chemotherapy. This enabled Lynsey to carry on working in job she adored for the YMCA in Ipswich."
He explained: "Lynsey could leave home in Sudbury on a Thursday, receive her treatments on our local MCCU, before heading to work in Ipswich. This saved many hours in the day as Lynsey didn't have to travel to West Suffolk Hospital to receive the treatment."
Being given the "devastating news" that her cancer was terminal did not stop Mrs Davies from fundraising for mobile cancer care units. She had initially been diagnosed with primary breast cancer in October 2017, during breast cancer awareness month.
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Following her terminal diagnosis of secondary/metastatic breast cancer, in June 2019, Mrs Davies, came up with a bucket list of things she wanted to do - high on her agenda was marrying Ben, which she did in November of that year.
Turning down wedding presents the couple instead asked for donations from their friends and family and raised £2,300 for Hope For Tomorrow from their collection.
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Mr Davies said the loss of his wife, who became a Nana shortly before her death, has "left a huge void" in his life and that of the couple's family, and her friends at AFC Sudbury Football Club.
He added that fundraising has not only helped the charity but also helped him cope with the "utter bereavement, loss and grief" that he is experiencing since Lynsey's death.
Mr Davies has helped to raise another £18,000 for Hope for Tomorrow a total he knows his wife would be "fiercely proud of".
Why are mobile cancer care units more crucial than ever?
Hope For Tomorrow, has 13 units across the UK and treated 22,352 patients last year throughout the coronavirus pandemic. They have highlighted a study by Cancer Research which said in England 4.6 million fewer diagnostic cancer tests were carried out between March 2020 - March 2021, compared with pre-pandemic levels.
Tina Seymour, Hope For Tomorrow's Chief Executive officer, said she is worried about the backlog in cancer care this has caused: "Covid has resulted in this deeply concerning backlog but we must also address other long-standing issues such as fear of hospitals, social depravation and health inequality, and the logistics of attending appointments which are important factors.
"Remote healthcare services for cancer treatment is proving to be the way forward, for the benefit of patients and for the NHS as it buckles under unprecedented pressure."
How many patients in Suffolk and Essex have been treated by the mobile cancer care units?
The mobile cancer care unit 'Frisbey', where Lynsey Davies was treated, covers areas under the West Suffolk Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. It was first used in 2016.
In the last financial year the mobile cancer care unit delivered 1,673 treatments to patients living in Stowmarket, Newmarket , Sudbury and Thetford.
Maureen, the mobile unit that covers Halstead, Tiptree, Colchester, and Manningtree, was also launched in 2016 and carried out 1,791 mobile cancer treatments in the last financial year.