May 2021: Tallaght University Hospital opens the New Oncology Day Unit with the generous support of the James Gill Memorial Trust.
Continuing his legacy, eight years after his death from cancer, The James Gill memorial Trust committee were delighted to be able to donate a cheque of €30.000 to support the renovation of the Oncology Day Ward in Tallaght University Hospital.
Speaking at the event, Geraldine Gill, James’ mother said;
“Our hearts are broken. On this day, 8-years ago we said goodbye to James. It is a fitting tribute to be here today and open the new oncology ward on his anniversary. We know this ward will be a bigger, brighter and much more spacious one for patients, a huge improvement on the old ward, which was very small, cramped and had no privacy for the nurses and doctors who had to talk to the patients and their families. I want to thank everyone involved and pay tribute to all those in the Foundation who helped us deliver this for TUH”.
She continued to pay tribute to James's main doctors in this hospital.
“I want to thank Dr Paul Ridgeway, Professor Ray McDermott and Phyllis the tea lady. Phyllis was like a mother to him when I wasn't with him. A massive big thank you to all the staff, especially the nurses who looked after him like their own little brother. They helped him study for his Leaving Cert and his Nursing Course which he passed but sadly he never got to see the certificate. We have it proudly on the wall at home.”
Dr Paul Ridgeway, commented,
“We are incredibly grateful to the Gill family. The oncology service in TUH is dedicated to excellence in care. However, our previous unit had insufficient space and lacked privacy. Nurses had to manoeuvre between patients to administer treatments or have conversations with families without sufficient privacy given the open plan nature of the unit”,
“Each year over 800 patients attend the Day Unit. This new unit has a much larger footprint, a 50% increase in space for patients and staff with more single rooms, bathrooms and meeting spaces As a multidisciplinary team we are delighted to be able to welcome our patients to the new improved space where they will receive their treatment”, he said.
Commenting on the opening, Douglas Collins, Chief Executive of the TUHF said: “Thanks to the support of the James Gill Memorial Trust, Tallaght University Hospital’s efforts to provide patients with a contemporary, dignified environment was realised. This refurbishment of the old Renal space for the new unit has created a modern welcoming space in the Hospital, which allows for privacy and gives oncology patients the environment they deserve at a time when they are most vulnerable”
“We want to extend a massive thank you to the James Gill Memorial Trust and James’ family. Thanks to their generosity and commitment, we can reflect the standard of our patient care with modern bright and facilities that offer comfort and the best possible experience when receiving treatment.”
James, from Ballinteer in Dublin, was just 17 when he fell ill with flu-like symptoms in 2010. He was later diagnosed with Fibrolamellar Hepatocellular Carcinoma, a rare form of liver cancer that typically affects young adolescents.
He underwent extensive treatment and in 2012 and was deemed suitable for potentially lifesaving, pioneering treatment in the US. His family and friends quickly began fundraising and collected €80,000 to cover his expenses. Sadly, James' condition deteriorated, and he passed away in May 2013.
Following his death, his devastated parents Declan and Geraldine decided to put the funds raised for his US trip to create a chill-out room in St Vincent's Hospital and a new family room in the Mater Hospital. They have also donated funds to Sligo hospital, Sligo Hospice and St Luke's, and now Tallaght University Hospital
James's wishes wouldn't have been possible if it wasn't for the help of wonderful people who donated to James's charity and sharing James's Facebook page James Gill Memorial Trust . The family would like if people want to leave a message and let them know how important these rooms and what it means to them.
James motto was smile and wave. Smile at your pain and be brave and wave meant, wave it away and be stronger than the pain so today instead of being sad we are going to be happy and brave and strong just like James. James was so brave throughout his illness and always had a smile on his face for us even when he felt under the weather. He was his family’s true hero. Love you son.