Dealing with cancer and facing chemotherapy can be a distressing time for patients but those being treated at Worthing Hospital now have a quiet room where they can sit a while, in a peaceful, non-clinical environment.
Family and friends of Martine Barthram raised the money for the room in her memory and set about turning a storage space into a place of tranquillity.
Anne Hudson, senior sister, said: “It’s absolutely stunning. I was completely blown away by how beautiful it all is and how much thought has gone into it.
“Our patients will be so happy to have such an amazing quiet space. I can’t tell you how grateful we all are.”
Named Martine’s Quiet Room, it was officially opened by Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert and his constituency assistant Michelle Taylor.
Friends and family created the room for the Medical Daycase Unit and dedicated it to the memory of Michelle’s sister, who lost her battle to breast cancer in November 2013.
Nick and Michelle were joined by hospital chief executive Marianne Griffiths, senior sister Anne Hudson and chemotherapy educational facilitator Rachel Harris for the handover.
Fundraising for the quiet room took place at South Lodge Hotel in Lower Beeding in July 2014. Martine’s friends, Claire Jordan, Jayne Heritage and Jackie Webb, had the idea of hosting a ball to raise money for a lasting tribute.
The Martine Memorial Fundraiser was supported by local businesses, family and friends and helped to raise more than £10,000.
The ambition was to create a special room at the hospital to benefit chemotherapy patients. The storage space chosen has been transformed into a tranquil, non-clinical space that looks beautiful and feels comfortable.
Michelle said: “On behalf of my family and Martine’s friends, we are so pleased that we have been able to create this room. We know how important it is to provide patients with a non-clinical space where they can sit a while.
“Some patients can get terribly anxious or distressed about having chemotherapy and hopefully this room will bring them a sense of calm away from the noise and hubbub of the hospital.
“Anne Hudson has been wonderful throughout the process of creating the room but the final design was kept a secret. It was a very special moment when we revealed the room to her for the first time.
“We all know the difference that Martine’s Quiet Room will make and it is a fitting tribute to someone who was beautiful and caring.
“I am so pleased that both Nick and Marianne Griffiths were able to join us to officially hand over the room to the ward and to see for themselves what can be created in a small space. It will make the world of difference to patients.”
The room was designed and completed by Michelle’s parents, Maurice and Sue Jones. It has a butterfly theme and a nod to Martine’s sense of glamour with a specially-commissioned painting by Brighton artist VeeBee. Finishing touches, such as china tea cups, soft music and dimmable lighting, add to the therapeutic elements of the room.
At the handover, Michelle was delighted to let the hospital know there was money left over and they would be donating the extra £1,000 to the ward.
The Martine Memorial Fundraiser trustees have also donated two hi-tech chemotherapy pumps to the unit and made a £1,000 donation to Winston’s Wish, a charity which supports bereaved children.
Mr Herbert said: “I was very touched that Michelle aked me to join the official handover of the new quiet room which she, her family and friends have made possible.
“It is both a lovely tribute to Martine and an initiative that will really help people at what is inevitably a very difficult time in their lives.
“I would like to congratulate everyone who has fundraised, given generously and helped to make this project possible, but especially Michelle who has worked so hard to bring it to fruition.”