The Palatine Treatment Centre at The Christie, one of Europe's leading cancer centres, has celebrated its first anniversary since opening its doors last summer.
Over the past year, more than 1,740 patients have received treatment and a total of 111 stem cell transplants have been carried out at the £12 million centre, which includes the Trust's teenage and young adult (TYA) cancer services and haematology and transplant inpatient unit (HTU).
Supporters of The Christie charity raised £10 million towards this development.
Bethan Curran, 16 from Oldham was among the first patients to stay in one of the new teenage and young adult bedrooms. She was diagnosed with osteosarcoma - bone cancer in her leg, after complaining of pain and swelling in it whilst she was at school.
She said: "It was such a shock to hear the words 'cancer' and the thought of going into hospital was very daunting. The centre was amazing though; the rooms were so comfortable and designed specifically for teenagers and young people. She added;
"Chemotherapy can make you feel really unwell so the room environment and feeling comfortable in your surroundings are really important. The open plan social spaces are great too - I've met a lot of other patients and made good friends."
Bethan, who is about to start her final cycle of chemotherapy at The Christie after successfully having 95% of her tumour removed is looking forward to starting college in September.
She added: "I was worried that I would miss out on sitting my GCSE's because I was in hospital. It was such a relief when the nurse told me that they could
accommodate me taking my exams on the unit. I even had teachers coming in to do teaching sessions with me. I couldn't be more grateful to The Christie not only
for helping me get better but I now have a place at college and I start in September."
Bethan received her GCSE results last week and passed them all.
Around a third of young cancer patients at The Christie have blood-related cancers, such as leukaemia and lymphoma, so often have to receive specialist treatment within the haematology and transplant unit. It was decided to relocate and integrate both the existing young oncology unit and haematology and transplant unit into one purpose built centre.
With state-of-the art technology and facilities, the unit is around 100 metres long and three storeys high. This centre not only improves the experience for The Christie's haematology and transplant inpatients, but increases the number of specialist rooms available for patients undergoing transplants and other treatments.
Steve Kemp, 64, from Knutsford, was among the first to undergo a stem cell transplant and stay in one of the new HEPA-filtered bedrooms. These rooms protect cancer patients with suppressed immune systems, and give them the best environment in which to undergo treatment.
The former inpatient unit had six HEPA-filtered rooms and the new centre has 12. Steve had also been successfully treated at The Christie for leukaemia in 2005 and was an inpatient on The Christie's former haematology and transplant unit. He was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2013 and underwent an autologous stem cell transplant in June 2014.
The dad of four said: "The treatment I had at the new HTU last year couldn't have been better. I had been treated as an inpatient at The Christie before and the quality of care has been fantastic both times.
"The unit is remarkable and has been designed around patient experience. My experience couldn't have been better - one month after the stem cell treatment I was back at work and getting on with my life."
Rachel Good, service manager, clinical networked services at The Christie, said: "The first year on the new Palatine Treatment Centre has been challenging and rewarding, providing excellent spacious environments for both haematology and teenage and young adult patients.
"There have been modifications to the service and the environment during this time as direct response to feedback from patients, relatives and staff, some of which have been successfully completed including; drinks and snack machines added to the social space in the TYA area with tokens so patients can access free refreshments, fridges in all relatives' rooms, secure lock bedside cabinets for self-medication, plus other adaptations to improve systems of work and the patient experience. We are very proud of the new facility and aim to provide excellent care and services over the coming years."
As well as a relaxation room, open plan social spaces and a state-of-the-art music room for young patients; a dedicated gym also means Christie hysiotherapists can help and encourage more young patients to take part in exercises which can support their treatment and rehabilitation.