Teenage Cancer Trust nurse to provide specialist support to young Queen’s Hospital patients

Virginia Gonzalez Covacho will be based at Queen's Hospital. Picture: Teenage Cancer Trust

Virginia Gonzalez Covacho will be based at Queen's Hospital. Picture: Teenage Cancer Trust - Credit: Teenage Cancer Trust

Young people battling cancer are set to benefit from age- appropriate support and care from a specialist Teenage Cancer Trust nurse.

Virginia Gonzalez Covacho will be based at Queen’s Hospital and help people up to the age of 24 who are receiving cancer treatment across Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge.

The role has been funded thanks to support from financial services firm Morgan Stanley, which will aim to raise more than £1million for the charity over two years.

Virginia will provide emotional support to young people who are otherwise treated in the same way as adults during their fight against cancer.

She explained: “My new role involves working with young people and their families during and after treatment, making sure that they understand all the medical information they’re given, and helping them access peer support.

“Being able to help young people locally will make a huge difference.”

She is in the process of setting up a clinic where peer support groups and family sessions can be run to help youngsters.

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“I love the challenge of working with young people, as they’re such a unique group,” Virginia added.

“They already have so much to deal with, like puberty, school, friendships and potentially bullying as well.

“Having cancer on top of all of this is doubly challenging, so it’s essential they have the right support.” The Teenage Cancer Trust was set up 30 years ago and has funded specialist units in NHS hospitals across the country, as well as nurses and youth support co-ordinators to help young patients.

Some of these units are in central London, which patients receiving treatment across the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) area have access to.

But Virginia’s role means that they can also receive support from the charity at a hospital much closer to home.

Piers Harris, head of fixed income capital markets at Morgan Stanley and trustee of the Morgan Stanley International Foundation said: “We are delighted that teenagers and young adults receiving cancer treatment will now have access to the expert care and support they deserve closer to home.”

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