Dame Kelly Holmes Opens LIBRA Funded Blood Cancer Unit At King’s College Hospital


LIBRA Trustees and our incredible charity supporter Col Dame Kelly Holmes MBE (mil) recently joined haematology experts to celebrate the official opening of an enhanced unit for blood cancer patients at King’s College Hospital (King’s). The Derek Mitchell Unit is a purpose-built chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant ward for young teens and adult patients.

We are the official haematology charity for King’s, backed by Lions Clubs International, and recently provided £100,000 of funding toward the vital enhancements. Funds have been raised through our current Going for Gold Fundraising Campaign which was inspired by Dame Kelly. The double Olympic champion lost her own mother Pam to myeloma just six years ago. During treatment, Pam received specialist care at King’s for which Dame Kelly is most grateful.

Dame Kelly was proud to declare the Derek Mitchell Unit officially open and she said: “As a LIBRA supporter and also through my own experience of losing my mother to myeloma, I know how important it is that blood cancer patients receive the best possible care during treatment and at the end of life.

“It’s wonderful that the enhanced Derek Mitchell Unit will benefit many patients who are cared for here at King’s College Hospital. Congratulations to the amazing team who have worked so hard to create this fantastic unit, and to LIBRA and the incredible supporters for their fundraising efforts!”

Watch Dame Kelly Holmes Celebration Speech

LIBRA Trustee and Lions Clubs International member Eddy Warn added: “Our Trustees, alongside Dame Kelly, all share a great passion for raising funds for the haematology department at King’s College Hospital, ultimately benefiting patients now and in the future. It has been exciting to witness the grand opening of the enhanced Derek Mitchell Unit today.

“We know that a great deal of work has gone into this project, and I would like to congratulate all those who have turned a vision into a reality. I would like to thank all of our supporters for helping us to raise ongoing funds; Dame Kelly, Lions Clubs International, Lions Club members across the British Isles, King’s staff, King’s patients and their families, and members of the public who have been inspired to help.”

During the opening celebrations, Dame Kelly and LIBRA Trustees met with patients who are currently undergoing treatment at King’s. They were able to find out their thoughts about the enhanced unit and better understand how it will make a positive difference to their inpatient experiences.

Carole Cobain-Patel, Head of Nursing Haematology at King’s said: “Many of our patients are receiving high dose chemotherapy or going through bone marrow transplants. Thanks to LIBRA funding our Young Teenage Adult and End Of Life Rooms on the Derek Mitchell Unit now feature wall beds, enabling loved ones to stay and provide support. Calming wall art has also been installed, making the rooms less clinical, and enhanced bedhead panelling allows for our nurses to administer treatments even more efficiently.

“Thanks to the funding we have also been able to modernise the patient day room on the unit. It will provide a peaceful and healing environment where patients can spend time relaxing or meeting with loved ones. Enhancements include the addition of floor to ceiling windows, providing patients with a view across Ruskin Park. The enhancements are truly transformative and will hugely benefit our patients.

“We rely on the support of LIBRA and there are more exciting projects in the pipeline that we will require funds to fulfil. We hope that supporters will continue to raise much needed funds for LIBRA’s Going for Gold Campaign as this will make a real difference to patients with blood cancers and blood disorders.”

You can find out more about Dame Kelly’s support for LIBRA here.

View The Opening Speeches:

Watch Professor Roopen Arya

Watch Michelle Kenyon, Nurse Consultant

Watch LIBRA Trustee Eddy Warn

Watch Col Dame Kelly Holmes MBE (mil)


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