Thanks to a generous donation of £2,848 from the Pink Ribbon Foundation, Leeds Hospitals Charity was able to fund a Vela Mammography Chair, a specialist piece of equipment which will help those with a physical impairment to undergo a mammogram, for the Leeds and Wakefield Breast Screening service based at Seacroft Hospital.

“We see over 170,000 women for routine screening every three years as part of the routine breast screening service. For most able bodied people, the process of having a mammogram is a little uncomfortable but generally ok, but for anyone with limited mobility, those in a wheel chair for example or frail ladies who are unsteady on their feet we have to use an adapted technique”, explains Sue Cobley, Advanced Practitioner Radiographer.

“In the past we had to adapt our technique and transfer people from their own wheelchair which felt undignified and unsafe, and we often struggled to get them in to the right position. The new chair has made such an incredible difference. It is much more flexible, and we can move it in to the correct position without causing the patient any discomfort. It moves up and down, arms move and it is very light to safely move patients around the machine and into the complex positions needed.

Early detection of breast cancer is key to successful treatment so screening should be accessible to all, with the new chair we can increase this accessibility and means we get better images first time round, reducing the need to invite people back to be re-x-rayed or causing undue stress and harm to them or staff.

I’d like to say thank you to everyone at the Pink Ribbon Foundation who made this possible. We managed before but with your support we can now offer a safer and better experience to for everyone.”

Donna, 62, and a grandmother from Leeds, found a large lump in her breast and was referred for further testing by her GP.

Having already been for mammograms several times as part of routine check-ups, Donna was expecting the process to be quite uncomfortable.

“My previous mammograms had all been quite painful. I’m in a wheelchair and I find it difficult to reach out as far as needed but with the new chair it’s so much more comfortable and dignified. I found moving from my wheelchair into the physically impaired chair much easier too.”

Thankfully Donna’s lump wasn’t anything suspicious and she will return for another routine mammogram in two years’ time.

Donna would also like to say thank you to the Pink Ribbon Foundation, “thank you, the whole experience is just so much better than it was before”.