A generous cancer patient has raised money for Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust’s Chemotherapy Unit – 20 years after she first donated.
Gloria Gill, 72, has been battling stomach cancer for four years but it hasn’t stopped her raising £600 through raffles and tombolas with her friends and neighbours at The Wharf in Walsall Town Centre, where she lives with husband Barry, 75.
The amount raised matches the donation she made to the same unit in August 2003, when she presented the money to Dawn Mills, who still works there as a Staff Nurse two decades on.
A regular visitor to the unit – she underwent her 31st session of chemotherapy last week – Gloria has been inspired by the care she has received, and wanted to give something back after three years of treatment.
“When I handed over the first £600 it was for a sky dive my granddaughter Amy Withnall did and I didn’t know anything about chemotherapy,” said Gloria, a retired factory worker who used to make coating for bullets, including those used in the Falklands War.
“Then when I went back to the same unit to start my treatment, I asked the Nurse who was giving me the induction if she remembered my grand-daughter’s donation.
“I showed her the magazine it appeared in and she said ‘That’s me! Can I have the picture to show my husband?’
“It was uncanny that it was the same Nurse from all those years ago. But when you see how hard they work, they deserve some recognition because our lives are in their hands – and they make you laugh! I feel like the bionic woman when I’m in there, I’ve got that many tubes coming out of me!
Dawn, who has worked on the unit for 22 years, said: “It is very kind of Gloria and her family to raise money for the Chemotherapy Unit. We’re very grateful for her generosity – she’s done it for us but it’s the patients who benefit.
“People say it must be terrible for staff but I think it’s the best job in the world. We meet some lovely people like Gloria and it’s just so rewarding and special to be able to make an impact on patients’ lives at such a devastating time for them.
“You build up a relationship with patients, particularly one like Gloria – they become like family and friends to us.”
Despite the cancer, Gloria continues to be busy and enjoy life and the mother of three, who is a grandmother of 10 and great-grandmother of 10, is determined to give grand-daughter Stacey Withnall away at her wedding next July.
Fundraising has continued to run in the family – Gloria’s grand-daughter Amy, 37, ran the virtual London Marathon around the Arboretum to raise funds for a separate charity following Gloria’s diagnosis.
Georgie Westley, Fundraising Manager for Walsall Healthcare’s Well Wishers charity, said: “Gloria is a star with her fundraising. Through her treatment over the last years, she’s become well known to staff on the Chemotherapy Unit and they’re really grateful for this donation, especially Dawn.
“This money will go towards caring for patients and providing support for staff on that unit.”