Leisure insurance specialists Caravan Guard, incorporating Leisuredays, has delivered more than £100,000 of Christmas cheer to Leeds Hospitals Charity.
Their £107,190 donation has paid for an innovative carbon dioxide laser to help patients suffering from neck, throat and head cancers.
The state-of-the-art CO2 laser will be used by the specialist Head and Neck Service at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, where around 45 patients with complex conditions are waiting for life-changing surgery.
The new laser enables surgeons to precisely remove thin layers of skin with minimal damage to the surrounding areas. The team will use the laser to treat around 10 oropharyngeal and laryngeal cancer patients each month.
“We’re happy to say that the new laser, bought by Caravan Guard and the Wilby family, has brought our head and neck cancer services right up to date. We’re now able to offer patients a service that is 100% reliable, supremely accurate and hugely effective at resecting cancers affecting the key organs of speech and swallowing. Also, the integration of the new laser, specifically the laser fibre, within our existing robotic surgery programme is putting Leeds at the forefront of technological developments to deliver head and neck cancer treatments that aren’t being replicated elsewhere in the UK,” said consultants Mr Jim Moor, Miss Rebecca Dawson and Mr Amit Prasai.
Laura Wilby, Associate Director of Caravan Guard, met the medical team responsible for laser treatments and heard how it has not only improved patient lives but their working lives too.
She also got to see and take part in a demo of the laser on a pumpkin and challenged one of the clinicians to carve the Caravan Guard logo into it!
“It was so lovely to hear of the positive impact this new laser is having – and will have – for both patients and the Head and Neck medical team and see first-hand how effective it is,” said Laura. “Care completely is one of our company values and this extends beyond our colleagues, customers and partners to support life-changing treatment like this. We’re delighted to be able to pay for this transformative technology which will not only enhance treatment options but more importantly change lives for patients with head, neck and throat cancers and other complex conditions.”
Victoria, aged 51 from Holmfirth, was one of the first patients to benefit from the new laser.
She had a condition called Tracheal Stenosis, which caused her airways to narrow and scar tissue had grown over, meaning she was unable to breathe normally.
She was first told she would need a tracheostomy, an invasive operation, but thankfully she’s been able to have several minimally invasive operations with the CO2 laser.
“It’s given me a lifeline,” said Victoria. “I feel like myself again, I can get a good nights’ sleep without panicking that I can’t breathe, and I can go out and enjoy life with family and friends without feeling like a burden. I’m forever indebted to the hospital team. By donating to Leeds Hospitals Charity, you’re giving someone like me their life back, something that is absolutely priceless.”
This is the third big donation from Caravan Guard to pay for state-of-the-art cancer equipment. In 2016, they donated £68,000 to Leeds Cancer Centre to meet a fundraising shortfall for their pioneering NanoKnife treatment and a further £58K in 2017 towards a MRi (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) Simulator.