THE UCAN Care Centre recently celebrated its fifth birthday, and Inverurie’s Alan Harrow, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2011 but is happily now clear, was on hand to help celebrate the occasion.
A celebration event was held at the centre on Wednesday, (January 23) to mark the milestone, and invited guests included former patients, fundraisers, donors, volunteers, nursing staff and doctors as well as Aberdeen’s Lord Provost George Adam.
Almost 1,500 urological patients have been given a cancer diagnosis at the UCAN Care Centre at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, and the drop-in centre at Ward 44 has supported more than 8,500 patients and their families since it opened its doors, providing guidance and advice on treatment options and practical solutions as well as a friendly face and a cup of tea.
Alan, a retired BT manager from Inverurie, was diagnosed with prostate cancer at the UCAN Care Centre in December 2010. He has now set up a patient-led support group which meets monthly.
“When I was first diagnosed I was in a dazed and confused state but my consultant Justine Royle and the support staff at the hospital were brilliant and helped me to think positively,” he said.
“I coped by researching treatment and what was going to happen and there was so much information available to me at times it felt like overload, but it was good to get an understanding of what I was about to go through. It was also comforting to find out that so many men, some who lived very close to me, were experiencing or had previously experienced exactly the same thing.”
Now all-clear, Alan still visits the centre to catch up with other patients and the UCAN team, as well as offering a hand as a buddy and through the support group.
He said: “The centre is a unique facility and I’ve never come across anything like it. What it delivered for me in terms of support far exceeded what I expected and what really makes it is the people – from the UCAN nurses to the consultants to the other patients and relatives you meet.”
As well as running the care centre, UCAN is currently raising £2.5million for Scotland’s first robotically assisted surgical system (RASS) and a suite with two integrated operating theatres.
For more details on the work of UCAN and of their fundraising for the RASS system visit http://www.ucanhelp.org.uk/