Cancer patient signals end to six months chemotherapy at QEQM

Shirley Ridge, from Birchington, was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2018 and was recently able to ring the ‘end-of-treatment-bell’ at Margate’s Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital.

Shirley, who dressed up as Superwoman for her final session of Chemotherapy, was joined by a large group of friends, family and loved ones to help her celebrate the moment. They were joined by members of the team who work in the unit, who have treated Shirley every three weeks after breast cancer was found in three separate areas.

She said: “The support and care of the staff here at the Viking Unit has been incredible. 

“I wouldn’t have got through this journey without the lovely team who I have built such strong relationships with.” 

Her sister Diane added: “When we found out about the diagnosis last August, your whole life is put in front of you and you just don’t know what to expect.

“Everyone here at QEQM has been amazing and we wouldn’t have got through it without them, it has made such a big difference to us as a family.”

The bell was installed in The Viking Day Unit at Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital so that patients, who were receiving treatment for cancer, can ring it to mark when they have finished their course of chemotherapy treatment.

Many patients have said they felt it was important to mark the end of their journey through their chemotherapy treatment and ringing the bell gives them the opportunity to do this and to signify the end to their current journey, giving them hope and strength for the future.

Carrie Merry, Chemotherapy Unit Manager, said: “Undertaking chemotherapy treatment is a frightening and emotional experience for anyone. The end of treatment bell aims to represent a milestone moment in treatment, and is something to aim for.

“The bell gives us, as a Unit, the chance to celebrate with the patient and to offer our support to them at a significant moment in their treatment. It is such a simple idea, but the positivity and hope it generates amongst patients and staff on the ward is fantastic and it means so much to everyone.

“For many of our patients, in particular those who have been with us for treatment for a long time it signifies a significant milestone and what will hopefully be the start of their recovery.”