WHEN Derek Gillard was diagnosed with bowel cancer he was told he needed urgent surgery.
The 64-year-old was operated on using the Da Vinci robot, a hi-tech surgery robot that can perform keyhole surgery.
I know first-hand what a difference having this robot makes and how it could benefit more people in this area.Derek Gillard
And since, Mr Gillard has been fundraising with the Hayling Island Lions.
Now he has handed over £2,000 to the Rocky Appeal, which, backed by a News campaign, is homing in on its £2.4m target to keep the robot at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth.
Derek, from Hayling Island, said: ‘Back in July I was diagnosed with bowel cancer and was told I needed a big operation.
‘The doctors explained the surgery would be carried out using the Da Vinci robot.
‘When it was explained to me and then after I had the operation, I thought the robot was remarkable.
‘I was operated on for six hours but only took four days to recover in hospital.
‘The scars left by the robot were so minimal and it was a remarkable success.’
After his recovery, Derek approached the Hayling Island Lions, of which he is treasurer, and suggested organising fundraisers to raise money for the Rocky Appeal. They held a series of events from fairs, the Donkey Derby in May and raffles.
Overall, they raised £2,000 and Derek went to QA Hospital to hand over the cheque to Rocky Appeal co-ordinator Mick Lyons.
He added: ‘I am really happy with how much we raised.
‘I know first-hand what a difference having this robot makes and how it could benefit more people in this area.’
Derek found out he was diagnosed with bowel cancer after using the free screening test sent to people aged 60 to 74.
The screening can detect bowel cancer before any symptoms appear and Derek wants to encourage more people to complete the test.
He said: ‘Yes, it can be embarrassing but it is so important.
‘I had no symptoms before and yet I had bowel cancer.
‘Within eight weeks I was being referred for an operation so it was detected before it got really bad.
‘It is so important for people to do the free tests.’
The Da Vinci robot is currently being leased to the hospital by American firm Intuitive Surgical, which owns it, and QA has to pay off around £196,000 of £2.4m before June next year.
Mick said: ‘It is fantastic that people like Derek want to make a donation after using the robot. We are really pleased with his donation and thankful to him for the difference this will make.
‘We are in the last stretch now and although it is great to have only £196,000 left, that is still a lot of money to raise.’