Charity funds cancer machine

PUBLISHED: 14:36 22 February 2007 | UPDATED: 21:34 29 May 2010

From left, Karen Thompson and Symone White - Pic: Michael Boyton

From left, Karen Thompson and Symone White - Pic: Michael Boyton

TWO mothers from the Broadcast area are looking to the future as they celebrate paying the final instalment for a Faxitron machine at a hospital where one of them was treated. This is a piece of equipment for St Margaret s Hospital in Epping that allows t

TWO mothers from the Broadcast area are looking to the future as they celebrate paying the final instalment for a Faxitron machine at a hospital where one of them was treated.

This is a piece of equipment for St Margaret's Hospital in Epping that allows the instant diagnosis of x-rays so surgeons can check for cancerous cells while the patient is still in surgery. It cost £78,000.

A group of 16 people from cancer charity Together in West Essex are currently in training to walk the Great Wall of China in May. It is a trek that organisers hope will raise £100,000 for the Epping Breast care Unit.

Symone White from Bambers Green, Takeley, and Karen Thompson from Tilty started the charity in 2001 after Mrs White was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Since then, they have organised fund-raising events including two walks in Harlow and one in Epping, two calendars featuring fellow fund-raisers in saucy poses, aerobathons, three annual balls, numerous auctions and a trip climbing

Mount Kilimanjaro.

The two women met when Mrs White, whose son was a pupil at Takeley Primary School, telephoned the deputy head, Mrs Thompson to explain she had been diagnosed with the illness.

Mrs Thompson offered to look after her two children for one day a week while Mrs White travelled to Harlow for her treatment. They then became good friends.

Mrs White explained that the initial idea for raising money came from her son, Aaron, who was nine-years-old at the time when he said he wanted to do something for the Rowan Ward at Princess Alexandra Hospital where his mum was being treated.

"It was seeing what could be done with a little additional funding that made us want to raise more," said Mrs White.

"I remember that Symone had to take some of her own pillows in to the ward with her," added Mrs Thompson.

The first thing the women paid for were new privacy curtains for around the beds and a television in the ward.

The first fund-raising walk they organised took place in Harlow Town Park on a sunny October morning where walkers were started off by Bill Rammell MP.

"We were shocked at how much we raised at that event; about £24,000" said Mrs Thompson.

That spurred them on to do more and they held a ball.

"At that time we didn't have our charity status," said Mrs White, "and we did it to raise money for our cause and the Royal Marsden Hospital in London. That money paid for the family room to be redecorated."

Together in West Essex was granted charity status in 2004. Mrs White said: "Things with the charity are now getting busy and take up a lot of time but everything is done by volunteers. Every penny we raise goes to the help people who suffer from cancer.

"We both enjoy doing the work for the charity and it is so rewarding knowing that we are really helping people who need it," she added.

To support the charity call Mrs White on 07799 831518 or you can donate by going to www.justgiving.com/tiwe/donate/

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