A WEALTHY businessman who is battling cancer dipped into his pocket to help secure the best treatment for other sufferers.
Sir John Hall, 79, who announced two years ago he has incurable prostrate cancer, donated £50,000 to kickstart a £1million appeal.
The Northern Centre for Cancer Care (NCCC), based at the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle, needs the money to meet the running costs of its new £3million “cyber surgery” tumour treatment equipment.
The pioneering technology allows doctors to treat tumours which were previously inoperable.
Bosses at the NCCC say patients throughout the North East and Cumbria will benefit.
Consultant oncologist Ian Pedley said: “The equipment is the best in the country and is only equalled in Zurich and two hospitals in America.
“The money is needed to encourage the best people to come to Newcastle to use it and do their research on it.
“We are fortunate to have been able to buy the medical equipment equivalent of a Bentley, and we want to run it as a Bentley, not as a Ford Mondeo.”
The appeal, under the Charlie Bear banner first used in the 1980s, is backed by health trusts and local authorities in the region.
Representatives of those bodies gathered at County Hall in Durham to see Sir John hand over the first £50,000.
“As a sufferer myself I’ve already benefited from the NCCC,” he said. “This new equipment can only mean patients will receive an even higher standard of care.
“The fact that cyber surgery is coming to our region is absolutely fantastic, and we should be incredibly proud.
“However, we must not lose sight of the fact this is just the beginning.
“We need to keep on raising money to develop this wonderful cancer service and make sure we remain at the cutting edge of cancer treatment in country.”
The equipment is due to be installed in March next year and is expected to be available to treat patients in the autumn.