People will do all they can to support Rocky Appeal

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H ow many people out there have reason to be thankful to the Rocky Appeal? Not just for their health, but for their very lives.

We don’t know the exact number, but we reckon it must be in the thousands.

Ever since Mick Lyons was inspired by the Sylvester Stallone film to create a character called Rocky as a mascot, he and others have been tirelessly raising funds in his name to buy equipment to improve treatment of patients in Portsmouth’s hospitals.

Their selflessness and determination have achieved remarkable results.

Patients from across the region have been helped in various ways, from the improved diagnosis of cancer to digital keyhole operating theatres and a lithotripter – a machine used to break up kidney and gall stones.

Today we report on the Rocky Appeal’s latest fundraising campaign, to buy a £1.6m robot that would carry out operations at the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham.

If the money is found, surgeons reckon this equipment will revolutionise the way surgery is performed.

They would be able to look inside a patient without having to cut into them. It would be particularly valuable in removing cancerous tumours from hard-to-access areas of the body.

Simon Toh, clinical director of general surgery at the QA, reckons up to 600 patients a year could be treated with the robot, which would be the first in use on the south coast.

He says: ‘The outcomes and recovery will be much better for people.’

We know times are hard and that many charities are experiencing a fall in donations as people keep a close eye on the pursestrings.

But we feel sure they will do all they can to support the latest Rocky Appeal.

Yes, £1.6m sounds like a lot of money to find. But the previous Rocky Appeal raised £3m to build four new digital keyhole surgery theatres.

Next month the third is due to be built and opened. Proof, if any were needed, that big targets can be reached.