LOCAL NEWSPAPER WEEK: Our health stories can help save lives
12:25pm Tuesday 13th May 2014 in By Katie Bond, @SwindonAdver007
MAKING a difference is the theme of this year’s Local Newspaper Week.
Here at the Swindon Adver-tiser, we aim to make a difference to people’s lives on a daily basis.
Over the years we have thrown the subject of health under the spotlight on a number of occasions, with the publication of several charity supplements, appeals and campaigns to help improve healthcare for local residents.
For the past two years, we have published a 12-page supplement dedicated to Breast Cancer Awareness Month to help highlight the exceptional work that Breakthough Breast Cancer does in the town.
Money from each paper sold was also donated to the charity to help fight breast cancer and improve the lives of sufferers in our area.
Deanne Gardner, assistant director of communications at Breakthrough Breast Cancer, said: “We are honoured to have worked with the Advertiser on their Breast Cancer Awareness Month fundraising campaigns.
“Not only is the ‘pink issue’ concept a great way to raise vital funds for Breakthrough, it is also fantastic at helping to raise awareness in the community.
“The campaigns provided Swindon residents with health information and fundraising advice, so really did help us to get our crucial message out there.
“Every penny donated goes towards our crucial work, which will one day help us to achieve our aim to stop women getting, and dying from, breast cancer.”
We have also appealed for a new radiotherapy unit in the town, to prevent patients having to endure the long drive to Oxford and back while undergoing the life-saving treatment.
Having been inundated with stories from patients desperate to tell their story in a bid to secure funding for a new unit, we welcomed the news earlier this year that Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust backed the unit but a further £3m is still needed to make the dream a reality.
We are currently raising awareness of the Great Western Hospital’s appeal to raise £75,000 to pay for a cutting-edge new breast cancer radiotherapy treatment which could change the lives of 150 women in Swindon each year.
GWH chief executive Nerissa Vaughan said: “Local newspapers are very important.
“Our staff pay more attention to what’s in the local newspaper than they do with nationals.
“I think the Adver has been helpful with the new children’s A&E department and getting the campaign running for radiotherapy.
“The Adver has also been good at shining the spotlight on the people behind the success stories.
“Quite rightly so, it is usually the doctors and nurses that get the recognition but there’s support teams that don’t often get the recognition they deserve, and the Adver has been good at giving them credit.
“There’s also a bit of a buzz in the hospital when people know their colleagues are going to be in the Adver, and our hospital shop usually sells out straight away when there is a big story.”
As well as raising money for cancer treatment, several youngsters with cerebral palsy have had life-changing operations to help them walk after we carried their stories on our pages.
Little Jack Pike and Corey Cummings have both undergone operations which have helped them on their journey to walk unaided, after gaining the support of readers and raising thousands of pounds.
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