The John Le Vay, Cancer Information Centre

 

Following from Eileen’s incredible story of her fight with cancer in the October 2014 issue, we received this lovely email from Gina Cooper who tells us a bit more about the cancer support centre, founded by Dr, John Le Vay…I cannot tell you how moved I was to read Eileen’s story in the Felixstowe Magazine September 2014 issue, and especially about her appreciation of the John Le Vay Cancer Information Centre at Ipswich Hospital.

“The Centre was the brainchild of Dr. John Le Vay, an oncologist at the Hospital following a conversation that he had with one of his patients, Ipswich Town footballer Jason Cundy who had been diagnosed with testicular cancer.

Jason had asked if there was a central point from which he could obtain all the information he needed about his disease and its treatment. From this conversation John came up with the idea of building a purpose-built Centre to provide not only information from leaflets, specialists and access to the Internet, but also encompassing three private interview rooms for specialists and doctors to talk to their patients about their diagnoses, and talk to them about their treatment, one of these rooms would also include facilities for complementary therapy.

John and Radiotherapy Manager Barbara Hercliffe contacted me in 1997 and asked for my help in setting up a charity to raise funds not only for a Centre, but also to provide a source of funding within the county for cancer patients and cancer projects in Suffolk. Cancer Campaign in Suffolk was launched in 1998 and fundraising for the Centre began. The project was finished in 2004 and opened by HRH Duke of Kent. It has now helped thousands of cancer patients. The Complementary Therapy team are very busy, sometimes using 2 of the private rooms and you can usually find one or two taking advantage of the comfortable seats and refreshments there.

I ran the office from my home in Old Felixstowe for many years before wemoved to an office in Hamilton Road above the café formally known as Froffee Coffee. I was helped in the office by many volunteers from Felixstoweall of whom played a part in helping to maintain the services offered by the Centre. Lesley, also from Felixstowe, joined us officially in 2007 as fundraising assistant.

Dr John Le Vay sadly passed away shortly after the Centre was opened and the facility was renamed as a memorial to him.

I retired in 2008 but was able to see for myself how invaluable the service offered by the Centre is when I had my own battle against the disease last year!!”

 

Photo credit:

This last photo – although without John is quite interesting as it shows me introducing the Duke to two local celebrities, Stephen Foster from Radio Suffolk and Peggy Cole of ‘Akenfield’ fame. Stephen did an Abseil to raise funds for the Centre and Peggy is a Patron of the charity.

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