The efforts of a late cancer patient who raised funds for a new ‘chill-out zone’ at a Leeds hospital have been marked – as the facility finally opened.
Colton 19-year-old James Brook was in the thoughts of health workers as the ribbon was ceremonially cut to open the £60,000 facility at Leeds St James’s Hospital on Thursday.
The ex-Leeds Rhinos youth player, who lost his battle with cancer in June, played a vital role in raising awareness of the need for a chill-out zone but tragically never saw it open.
ITN presenter Nina Hossain joined James’ sister Emma and former patient Oscar Crowther to open the facility, which is a dedicated space mainly for patients aged 13 to 25 who are undergoing radiotherapy.
Lucy Junni, a paediatric radiographer at the Leeds Cancer Centre, said: “We would like to thank everyone who has made a contribution, especially Asda, Laura Crane and the family and friends of the late Will Sweeting.
“We’d also like to thank James Brook, a young sportsman from east Leeds who contributed enormously to the campaign to create the space before he tragically died earlier this year.
“This zone will provide young adult patients with the space they need to relax and offer a few hours of respite while undergoing treatment here in hospital. Hopefully this will help to enhance and improve the overall experience of the people we care for when going through really tough times.”
James Brook, a former Temple Moor High School pupil, backed the campaign last year after being diagnosed with a rare facial tumour in 2011.
It is hoped that the new chill-out zone will give young people the chance to relax in an environment more geared to their age group. The area has been refitted with new furniture and entertainment systems.
Pam Thornes, trust manager for the Laura Crane Youth Cancer Trust which donated to the project, said: “Being a teenager can be difficult enough without having to undergo the treatments associated with a diagnosis of cancer.
“By offering a facility of their own, away from the younger patients, teenage and young adult patients now will have the opportunity to relax in an environment more suited to their needs.”