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Birchington woman Shirley Ridge, breast cancer patient at Viking Day Unit at QEQM in Margate celebrates end of chemotherapy

By Matt Leclere

A breast cancer patient called time on her chemo course by ringing the bell to celebrate the end of her treatment.

Dressed as Superwoman, Shirley Ridge, from Birchington, marked the start of her road to recovery following her final chemotherapy session at the QEQM.

The 'chemo bell' in the Viking Day Unit at the hospital in Margate is a huge goal for patients to target during their difficult months undergoing the gruelling treatment.

Shirley Ridge, from Birchington, rings the chemotherapy bell at the QEQM in Margate to mark the end of her breast cancer treatment. Picture: EKHUFT (7219117)
Shirley Ridge, from Birchington, rings the chemotherapy bell at the QEQM in Margate to mark the end of her breast cancer treatment. Picture: EKHUFT (7219117)

Friends and family joined Shirley for her big moment as she was cheered by nurses and health teams who cared for her during the course.

She said: "The support and care of the staff here at the Viking Unit has been incredible.

"I wouldn’t have got through this journey without the lovely team who I have built such strong relationships with."

Shirley was diagnosed with breast cancer last August and had to have chemo sessions every three weeks for the last six months after doctors found she had breast cancer in three separate areas.

Her sister, Diane, said: "When we found out about the diagnosis last August, your whole life is put in front of you and you just don’t know what to expect.

"Everyone here at QEQM has been amazing and we wouldn’t have got through it without them, it has made such a big difference to us as a family."

Shirley Ridge, from Birchington, rings the chemotherapy bell at the QEQM in Margate to mark the end of her breast cancer treatment. Picture: EKHUFT (7219101)
Shirley Ridge, from Birchington, rings the chemotherapy bell at the QEQM in Margate to mark the end of her breast cancer treatment. Picture: EKHUFT (7219101)

The bell has become an important marker and achievement for many patients who say it helps them get through the treatment and gives them the strength and hope to fight the disease.

Carrie Merry, chemotherapy unit manager, said: "Undertaking chemotherapy treatment is a frightening and emotional experience for anyone. The end of treatment bell aims to represent a milestone moment in treatment, and is something to aim for.

"The bell gives us, as a Unit, the chance to celebrate with the patient and to offer our support to them at a significant moment in their treatment.

"It is such a simple idea, but the positivity and hope it generates amongst patients and staff on the ward is fantastic and it means so much to everyone.

"For many of our patients, in particular those who have been with us for treatment for a long time it signifies a significant milestone and what will hopefully be the start of their recovery."

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