A team of doctors, nurses, management and patients took part in a major scrap car rally at the weekend to raise funds to increase the use of a revolutionary mobile radiotherapy machine at Southampton’s university hospitals.
The ‘Scrap to the future car rally’ saw 15 road legal scrap cars – each with a value of under £500 – leave the new multi-storey car park at Southampton General Hospital on Friday (6 October) for Loch Lomond with a variety of Top Gear-style challenges en route.
The event was organised by Colin and Debra Zaczyk and Craig Hoyland of Regal Homes, long term supporters and friends of PLANETS.
Last year saw the charity fund enable University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust to become the first in the UK to introduce Mobetron, the first mobile system able to deliver radiotherapy during surgery, known as intra-operative electron beam radiotherapy (IOERT). IOERT is an intensive form of targeted radiation given at the time of surgery to treat a wide variety of advanced cancers that are difficult to remove and treat. After a successful first year, the PLANETS team – who have raised £750,000 for services at UHS over the past six years – were aiming to raise £25,000 from the rally to upgrade a second theatre at Southampton General Hospital to double the number of patients able to receive IOERT.
The rally, which had one team made up of UHS chief executive Fiona Dalton, medical director Dr Derek Sandeman and finance director David French, included a stop at Popham Airfield in Andover where the teams participated in a series of driving skills tests on a timed course.
After a stop off in Leeds, the cars travelled to Loch Lomond where participants had a black tie dinner and party before the vehicles were sent to scrap on Sunday with all proceeds going towards the charity fund’s theatre upgrade appeal.
Mr Pearce, now associate medical director for patient safety at UHS, said: “When we introduced IOERT in Southampton last year it was hailed as a landmark moment for the treatment of advanced cancer in across the UK.
“We now want to extend its use into a second theatre and the amazing team of volunteers at PLANETS – many of them former patients – have organised this fantastic event with Regal Homes which promises to be extremely fun as well as action-packed.”
We couldn’t have hoped for a better bunch of people to share the weekend with and are totally overwhelmed by the effort our teams made and the amount of money they have raised (to be confirmed but we are nudging £40,000 at least – double our target!) Thank you to all our teams, the businesses and individuals that have supported us and most of all to Colin, Craig and Debra. We are not sure how we could possibly improve on this year’s event but we are tempted to give it another go in 2019. Watch this space!