Molly May Lane Fox was a beautiful, fun-loving four-year old when she was diagnosed with a Diffuse Pontine Glioma. A malignant tumour that needs a million cells to see it and once you can see it it’s too late.
Although radiotherapy bought some precious and happy time with her family, tragically, Molly died just after her fifth birthday. Her parents felt passionately that nobody should have to go through what their daughter endured.
Together with her family, The National Brain Appeal set up Molly’s Fund in her memory and £1million was raised to create the UK’s first dedicated brain tumour ward which opened at The National Hospital for Neurology & Neurosurgery (NHNN) in 2011.
Until the creation of the Brain Tumour Unit and the Molly Lane Fox Unit there was no dedicated brain cancer facility anywhere in the UK. Yet the need was pressing. Brain cancers affect all ages, from new-born to elderly, and survival rates are extremely low: more people under 40 die of a brain tumour than any other cancer.
Five years on from the centre opening, many more patients now have access to this specialist, streamlined service and access to research and clinical trials have grown significantly.
More than 400 patients were admitted to the Molly Lane Fox Unit in 2015 but demand for the unit has outgrown capacity by over 55% meaning that more than half of patients are admitted to general wards and are not able to access the unique service that the unit offers.
Demand is set to increase further. NHNN successfully bid to be the specialist centre for brain cancer for London Cancer from 2016. In addition, UCLH is set to become a centre for Proton Beam Therapy in 2018.
The Molly Lane Fox Unit will be re-located to an existing, but larger, space on the fourth floor of the hospital that has the benefit of offering quieter surroundings filled with natural light.
The new configuration will provide four bays with 24 beds, a quiet room and an assessment room as well as two single rooms with sofa-beds which can be used by those patients requiring a longer stay in hospital, with more complex needs or during end-of-life care.
Refurbishment work is due to start in June 2017 and complete within two months.
The National Brain Appeal has committed to contributing £500,000 to enable the Molly Lane Fox Unit to be doubled in size and to develop the successes of its founding years. £240,000 has already been raised but we still need your help. If you can, please make a donation today.