Cancer care bus helps keep patients safe

Hope for Tomorrow cancer care bus

Published on 22 May 2020

A mobile cancer care bus is continuing to bring treatment closer to people’s homes during the coronavirus outbreak.

The vehicle is run as a partnership with charity Hope for Tomorrow and East Kent Hospitals and visits Cheriton, Dover, and Herne Bay weekly to provide chemotherapy and other treatment. 

It means patients who among the most vulnerable to COVID-19 can avoid a trip to hospital and stay closer to their homes.

Mum Diana Waters (name changed to protect her confidentiality), from Hythe, uses the bus every month and is delighted with the service. 

The 48 year old was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016, which has since spread to her bones and elsewhere.

She said: “I had my first chemotherapy treatments in hospital but then they offered me the option of using the bus and now it’s invaluable. 

“The bus in itself makes you feel 100 per cent better because it doesn’t feel like going to hospital.

“There is only one person in it at a time at the moment so you really feel protected and looked after; it’s almost like your own personal bubble. 

“I can’t fault the staff; the nurses are fabulous and Brian the driver is lovely. If it wasn’t for the fact they are wearing masks, you wouldn’t know anything was different, they are so cheerful and professional.”

As someone who is having treatment for cancer, Diana has to ‘shield’ during the coronavirus outbreak, and only leaves her home for her monthly blood test at Kent and Canterbury Hospital and for her treatment on the bus.           

She said: “I chose to carry on with my treatment during the pandemic, and it makes me feel so much better being able to have it on the bus.

“Like so many others, I have put my faith in the NHS to look after me and they absolutely are. 

“The bus saves me a trip to hospital, which is something no one particularly wants to do, especially at the moment. It is five minutes from my front door and I think it’s absolutely amazing.”

The vehicle, named Caron in memory of Blue Peter presenter Caron Keating who died in 2004 after a battle with breast cancer, was launched in east Kent in 2013 and has provided almost 5,000 treatments since then, saving patients 300,000 miles in journeys to hospital. 

The charity which runs it, Hope for Tomorrow, has launched an appeal to give the vehicle a new and upgraded body and new chassis. So far donations have raised almost half of the £237,000 target.

To donate, visit https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/caringforcaron