Salon transformation to help patients with cancer during treatment

18 Jan 2018

Thanks to decades of fundraising by the St Bartholomew’s Breast Cancer Support Group, The Oncology Appliances room has been renovated into a welcoming and vibrant space for patients with cancer to be fitted with wigs, prosthetics and post-surgical underwear.

The Oncology Appliances Room at St Bartholomew’s Hospital is for patients undergoing one of the most difficult times of their lives, and coming to terms with hair loss or mastectomies due to cancer treatment.

Vicky Wood, Oncology Appliances Officer (pictured, above), has run the service for 10 years. She says: "The salon was clinical, plain, and always felt cold. It was doom and gloom. Patients have enough clinical appointments as it is.”

Thanks to decades of fundraising by the St Bartholomew’s Breast Cancer Support Group, the room has been transformed.

Now known as ‘Vicky’s Place’, the new space is bright and uplifting, and has been a hit with Vicky’s clients. She says: “It’s made it so much more calming and welcoming. The clients have been really positive - they want to have a good look around and some of them even want to take photos.”

The salon is one of a long line of projects funded by the group – including biopsy chairs, hairdressing equipment and iPads for displaying reconstructive photos. Their amazing fundraising efforts have ranged from fashion shows to selling over 100 jars of homemade marmalade each year.

Founding member Margaret Hazard (pictured right, centre) said: “What we all have provided with the money raised has been our way of saying thank you for the care we received as breast cancer patients.”

With the group’s fundraising, Vital Arts - the arts organisation for Barts Health NHS Trust - commissioned renowned set designer Cecilia Carey to bring her quirky theatrical eye to the space. Now the room is as bright and lively as Vicky’s personality and offers a much more positive experience for the patients who visit. The design is inspired by the 18th Century architecture of the hospital, using colour and modern geometric shapes to bring vibrancy.

Cecilia says: “It was a privilege to be commissioned by Vital Arts to transform a room that offers such a unique service in the support of cancer patients. I was passionate to design a space which might match the incredible work done there, and to try to bring some joy and consolation to those who find themselves using the service.”

Catsou Roberts of Vital Arts added: “Vital Arts are delighted with the results of this special project - a first of its kind. The artist we commissioned, Cecilia Carey, brought her theatre design expertise and keen sense of colour to the area, imbuing it with a magic and glamour.”

Thank you to the St Bartholomew’s Breast Cancer Support Group, Vicky, and Vital Arts for turning the salon into a warmer, uplifting environment for patients across Barts Health NHS Trust who are living with cancer.

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