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Elaine Dunnicliff, 59, from Melbourne, has raised a staggering £32,000 for the hospital that helped save her life after she was diagnosed with kidney cancer.
Elaine received her diagnosis in 2005, and since then has worked relentlessly to help raise funds for equipment at the Royal Derby Hospital in order to say ‘thank you’ to the medics for “giving her a second chance at life”.
Recently, Elaine donated a cheque for £14,000 to the urology unit at the hospital – which will be used to pay for specialist keyhole surgery equipment, and she also donated £2,000 to the Nightingale Macmillan Unit.
She said, “This is giving back to my consultant Simon Williams and his team. If it wasn’t for them, I would not be here. It was such a shock being diagnosed with cancer and I want to make sure there is equipment available for other people who have the disease. I have been given a second chance at life so this is my way of giving back.”
Elaine’s diagnosis of renal cell carcinoma came when she was just 50. Renal cell carcinoma is the most common type of kidney cancer in adults and is the same type of kidney cancer which is responsible for 90-95% of cases.
“I had felt tired and depressed and I lost a lot of weight and had dropped down to seven stone. After tests, my doctors found out that I had cancer in my kidney. It was a really big shock. You never think it will happen to you, that you will be the one to have cancer.” Elaine said.
Whilst she was recovering at the Royal Derby Hospital, Elaine began thinking of ways she could give something back and raise funds for the organisation.
Since then, she has been responsible for the organisation of several coffee mornings, pamper days and other fantastic fundraising ideas in order to help raise money for the hospital. She has received donations and sponsors of all shapes and sizes.
Since 2006, when Elaine had her kidney removed, she has been cancer-free, and has dramatically changed her lifestyle.
“When I went into hospital, I was told to cut back on drinking. I liked to have a drink every day even if it was just half a lager. It was a wake-up call for me. I re-evaluated my health and tipped all my alcohol away. I have never touched drink since.” Elaine explained.
Simon Williams, consultant urologist at the Royal Derby Hospital, and Elaine’s consultant, said, “This money will enable us to buy some even smaller keyhole surgery equipment for kidney cancer. It is less painful and some people have better cosmetic results too. We are particularly grateful for the money as Elaine said it was specifically for the urology department.”
Elaine has also donated a generous £2,000 towards the Nightingale Macmillan Unit, which will use the money to pay for syringe driver to administer pain relief. The Unit cares for the terminally-ill patients at the hospital and the donation will also help pay for equipment like dialysis machines.
Elaine summarised with, “No matter how much money I raise, it will never be enough. You can’t put a price on your life.”