Bradford-based Sovereign Health Care has donated a fantastic £250,000 to the Leeds Cares MR Sim Appeal, meaning the charity has now achieved its £2.4 million target, paving the way for a brand new scanner at Leeds Cancer Centre, part of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

The ‘MR Sim Appeal’ was launched in 2017, its aim was to raise enough money to purchase a brand new magnetic resonance simulator machine for the Cancer Centre, where over 7,000 patients are treated a year.

Currently, the majority of patients receiving radiotherapy treatment at Leeds will first undergo CT scanning, to identify the target area. An MR simulator (magnetic resonance simulator) can be used in conjunction with, or as an alternative to CT scanning. It can produce high quality scans of the affected area; providing images with better soft tissue definition which allows the areas for treatment to be identified with greater clarity – minimising the risk of damage to healthy cells.

The purchase of an MR Simulator will transform treatment for thousands of patients every year currently receiving radiotherapy, allowing for quicker, more effective treatment with reduced risk.

Over the last two years, money for the appeal had been raised through individual donations, support from corporate partners and fundraising by staff and patients. Chief Executive of Sovereign Health Care, Russ Piper, made the milestone donation today at the Leeds Cancer Centre, at a special event to mark the occasion.

He said: “I first learned about the MR Sim Appeal last November. It was clear this technology would be transformational for patients needing radiotherapy treatment across Yorkshire and the type of appeal Sovereign Health Care would support.

“We were delighted to contribute the final £250,000 enabling Leeds Cares to meet its overall target. Our Community Programme aims to positively touch people’s lives and the MR simulator will do just that for patients needing radiotherapy treatment.

“As the only remaining cash plan provider based in West Yorkshire, Sovereign is committed to supporting health and wellbeing good causes across the region. We are able to make donations like this due to our unique business model and the loyalty of our customers. The decision to support Leeds Cares with this important appeal was a simple one to make because of its life-changing impact for people with cancer in our region. Congratulations to Leeds Cares and the team at Leeds Cancer Centre for this great achievement – they work so hard to make a difference for us all!”

David Sebag-Montefiore, Professor of Clinical Oncology at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, has been championing the appeal from the beginning. “A Magnetic Resonance Simulator will directly benefit patients who need radiotherapy treatment. It will allow us to provide state of the art radiotherapy by better targeting of the cancer. It is absolutely fantastic that we’ve reached our target for this appeal and we’re incredibly grateful to Sovereign for this final donation. This really is a crucial step to allow us to deliver state of the art radiotherapy across the whole range of cancers that we treat.” 

Linda Pollard, Chair of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “At Leeds Cancer Centre, we are proud to deliver some of the most advanced treatment and care for patients with cancer anywhere in the world. The introduction of this new MR-SIM will help our teams to continue developing quicker and more effective ways of treating our patients. We are very grateful to Sovereign Health Care and Leeds Cares for their continued support.”

Kevin Gerrie, Director of Fundraising at Leeds Cares said companies like Sovereign had a big role to play in fundraising. “At Leeds Cares we get lots of fantastic companies who want to give back to the NHS and make a real impact in their communities. Without their kind support, we wouldn’t be able to deliver major appeals like this. I’d like to say a huge thank you to Sovereign, and everyone who has fundraised for this appeal as it will make a huge difference to cancer patients across Yorkshire.”

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