A cancer specialist has trekked across mountains and danced the night away to raise money for a new cancer support centre.
Dr. David Bloomfield, from Clayton, walked across Jordan for nine days and then swapped his desert boots for dance shoes to celebrate his return at a charity ball.
The Consultant Onclogist was part of an eleven-strong team of staff and patients who hope to raise in excess of £50,000 towards the MacMillan Cancer Support Centre which is being built on a site opposite the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton.
Dr. Bloomfield, who joined the team at the Sussex Cancer Centre 17 years ago, is a keen hiker and climber so had no hesitation in signing up when he heard one of his patients was organising a fund-raising trek.
He says he felt a real bond with the patients on the trip. He said: “It’s great that we’ve got people through treatment, we’ve cured them and they’re fit enough to be trekking across the Jordanian desert. I was impressed by how keen they were to give something back and how they demonstrated a zest and vitality for life.”
The nine-day trek certainly was not a walk in the park. Typically, the party left camp at 8am and apart from the occasional stop under an acacia tree to brew mint tea, it was very much eight hours of hard trekking. One day they climbed more than 800 metres in 30 degree heat, the equivalent of climbing Snowdon.
For Dr. Bloomfield, one of the highlights of the trek was sleeping out under the stars. He said: “Sunset in the desert is spectacular and the stars are just amazing, shooting stars and the Milky Way.
“If you turned over at night you just had a quick check on the Milky Way, looked for another shooting star and then fall back asleep.”
The celebration ball, sponsored by Russ Drage Architects and held last weekend at the Wickwood’s Country Club, Albourne, had a Scottish theme, complete with haggis and a piper.
The £5million Cancer Support Centre is a joint venture between MacMillan Cancer Support and the Sussex Cancer Fund, a local charity that supports the work of the cancer centre at the RSCH.
The two charities have already raised enough to build the centre, which is due to open next year, now the Sussex Cancer Fund needs to find £180,000 p.a . to run it.
Fund Manager Julia Lenton said she never ceased to be amazed by what people put themselves through for the charity. She said Trek Jordan had not only raised much-needed money but also awareness of the work the Fund did.
She said: “The team have spent a year trying to get sponsorship and that means they’ve talked to loads of people during that time and so have spread the word about the charity.”
Since 1981 The Sussex Cancer Fund has been giving invaluable assistance to The Sussex Cancer Centre at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton. This is in the form of additional equipment and building improvements for the treatment and comfort of cancer patients attending the department.
You can find out more about the Sussex Cancer Fund by logging on to their website http://www.sussexcancerfund.co.uk
Report and picture contributed by Richard Lindfield.