School raises money for 'ground-breaking' tech at Luton and Dunstable Hospital
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A high school in Luton has raised thousands for the Luton and Dunstable University Hospital’s breast cancer unit.
Over 1,000 students and staff at Challney High School for Girls took part in a 2023 Race for Life, raising over £8,500.
Bedfordshire Hospital’s NHS Charity was delighted to be selected for the sixth time as the school’s charity of choice for their event.
Nicola Ponsonby, Deputy Head Teacher at Challney High School for Girls, said: "As an all-girls school in Luton, raising money for our local breast cancer unit is so important to us all.
“1 in 4 women are likely to have a diagnosis of breast cancer in their lifetime, so to be able to support and contribute to purchasing equipment to make this difference is just so humbling. It also helps to raise the profile of the importance of screening for women.”
The school has held its own annual race every year for the past eight years.
Nicola added: “We had a visit from a local breast cancer survivor, Denise Coates one day, who was a volunteer at the hospital, following her own recovery from breast cancer. Ever since then, we have supported our local breast cancer unit.
“Our students, staff, and families are the most generous people when it comes to social action. It is a privilege to make this difference and to see that we have contributed so much to 'ground-breaking' technology makes us all proud.”
Funds raised from Challney High School for Girls have helped to purchase equipment to mark the site of cancer in the breast, before surgery – even when it is too small to feel.
This allows for an improved experience for those having the operation and removes the need to have a wire inserted.
Additional ultrasound machines have also been purchased, so patients can be seen sooner when they notice a change in their breast.
Another purchased device is an ultrasound probe which can connect to a mobile device. This allows a patient to be scanned in the operating theatre or ward, eliminating the need for them to attend the off-site breast screening unit.
The department is hoping to buy equipment that identifies whether women have a condition called lymphoedema, which can occur after breast cancer treatment. If it is treated at an early stage, it is often much easier to live with and will improve the patient’s experience.
Kath Kirkpatrick, Consultant Surgeon at the Luton and Dunstable Hospital, said: “The students are amazing, and are touching the lives of so many people with what they are doing. We are all deeply touched by their generosity.”
Sabine Hazell, Schools Co-ordinator for Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Charity, added: “Challney High School for Girls never ceases to amaze me with their incredible passion to make a difference to the local community. Miss Ponsonby and Miss Dolan work tirelessly every year to make sure the day is a success.
“You can feel from the atmosphere that everyone is there to support, have fun, and help make a huge difference. It really is a highlight of my year.”