Please read on to find out why they need your help.
FORCE Cancer Charity believes that anyone diagnosed with cancer deserves the best possible treatment and professional support close to home. 2017 marks the 30th anniversary of this highly respected West Country organisation. Since 1987 FORCE has been funding local research and buying equipment to improve patient care. In 2004 the charity opened a Cancer Support and Information Centre in the grounds of the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital. The Centre is open every weekday for people needing physical, emotional, psychological and practical support at a difficult time in their lives.
FORCE also offers support and information sessions once a week in Tiverton and Okehampton with a third location in East Devon planned for 2017. All of the charity’s services are free of charge. FORCE is there to help, whatever your cancer and wherever you are on your cancer journey. Cancer brings about change in people’s lives and hearing that you or someone close to you has cancer can be a distressing experience. A diagnosis is often accompanied by a range of different emotions which can prove challenging to face alone. The FORCE Support Centre offers a relaxed and comfortable setting where patients, their families and friends can get information, advice and help. You do not need a referral, which means you can call in when it’s convenient to you.
Cornwall Air Ambulance was the first air ambulance in the UK, and for over 30 years, it has been providing a vital helicopter emergency service to the community of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, flying 365 days a year and attending an average of 2-3 missions every day. This dedicated purpose built and highly equipped aircraft flies at 140mph, and on average arrives on scene within 12 minutes of a 999 call, significantly reducing the time taken to get seriously ill patients the treatment they need - in hospital or on-scene. In very many cases over the last 30 years, this has made the difference between life and death.
The service attend around 700 incidents each year, with current mission numbers in excess of 26,000. Cornwall lends itself to an air ambulance service well due to its widely scattered population, remote communities, and easily congested road networks which make the use of conventional ambulances more difficult. Our beaches, cliff tops and moorland areas attract many people, some of whom participate in water sports and extreme sports, a vital part of our tourism and leisure economy, but a factor which also increases the frequency and severity of accidents.
Our distinctive helicopter remains one of the busiest in the UK yet we do not receive any central government funding for running costs and are reliant upon the support of local and regional supporters, businesses and individuals alike, to help us reach our target of £3.5m.
Eliza’s Dad, Howard, recalls: “Our beautiful 17 month daughter Eliza choked on a ball. We tried everything to dislodge it, but it was stuck in her throat. We dialled 999.” Before the ambulance could arrive, Eliza stopped breathing and Howard began CPR. “When Paramedics arrived they managed to get the ball out and got her breathing again.” From the family’s rural home near Stithians Cornwall Air Ambulance sped Eliza to Treliske Hospital in under 7 minutes. Scans at Treliske and, later, Bristol Children’s Hospital revealed Eliza had suffered brain damage. She was fighting for her life. “We were told to expect the worst,” recalls Howard. “We had Eliza christened by the Chaplain while she was still in a coma.”
A breakthrough came in June. “Eliza smiled, responding to our voices. She knew it was us. She was eventually strong enough to be brought out of the coma.” Eliza had been left with Cerebral Palsy, but she made such amazing progress that her doctors called her a ‘miracle baby’. After exactly 100 days in hospital, Eliza came home to Cornwall. “The speed with which the air ambulance responded was amazing” said Howard, “They landed in a nearby field and a passer-by drove the paramedics, Amy and Steve, to our house. The time taken to get Eliza to hospital was a major factor in her still being with us today.”