24 December 2021

Making Christmas Eve magical for chemo patients

This Christmas Eve, all chemotherapy patients attending Hamwic House will receive a Lush hamper.

Our oncology centre is one of 12 UK regional cancer centres, treating patients from within the Wessex area.

Jennifer Milner, Cancer Care Matron, says: “Nobody wants to go through cancer treatment, let alone undertake chemotherapy over Christmas.

This year on Christmas Eve, we will have around 50 chemotherapy patients attending Hamwic House, and an extra 20 patients for blood tests.

We were approached by the Jenna Marie Foundation to donate some hampers for our patients through Southampton Hospitals Charity.

We chose items which would help moisturise skin, as chemotherapy really dries it out. We really hope it brings a moment of joy and distraction to our patients.”

Jack Wilkinson from the Jenna Marie Foundation, says: “My sister Jenna Marie passed away earlier this year of bowel cancer, aged only 40.

Cancer is hereditary in our family, so on New Year’s Day in 2020 when Jenna Marie discovered some bleeding when using the toilet, her family encouraged her to get checked out by her GP.

After various tests at University Hospital Southampton, on 31 January, she was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of bowel cancer.

Within a week it was discovered this was stage 4 cancer, and she was put on palliative chemotherapy treatment. She spent the next 10 months undergoing two rounds of chemotherapy, and one round of immunotherapy.

Suddenly on 22 December, her health deteriorated and she was in and out of hospital for two months, before transferring to Hospice care, where she passed away on 10 April.

Jenna loved Christmas, and adored the nurses in Hamwic House. Due to Covid-19, she had to attend appointments on her own, but the nurses helped make her feel comfortable.

She would have been delighted that her legacy was helping other people smile this Christmas.”

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