Generous ice hockey fans raise money for breast unit at Basingstoke hospital

NURSES at Basingstoke hospital will soon be able to use tattoo equipment to draw replacement nipples for women who have undergone breast reconstruction surgery – and it’s all thanks to the generosity of ice hockey fans.

Thursday 26 January 2017


Nipple Tattoos 2

Bob Leary, Lizzie Shrimpton, senior breast clinical nurse specialist, Sandra Leary and Sandy Lyford, clinical matron for breast services at Basingstoke hospital 


The breast unit at Basingstoke and North Hampshire was one of the causes chosen to benefit from the Hockey Hugs for Cancer match, which saw a Bison Select team take on the Basingstoke Buffalo last April.

The event, organised by Sandra Leary and her husband, Bob, attracted a full house at the Basingstoke Arena and raised more than £14,000 for charity, with the breast unit benefitting to the tune of £4,500.

The money has already been used to buy a television for the unit waiting area, business cards for the nurses, lymphoedema equipment and plain bags that allow patients to carry their information discreetly.

However, the majority of the cash will be used to train clinical nurse specialists in the art of tattooing, allowing them to draw nipple tattoos for women who have undergone breast reconstruction surgery.

Sandy Lyford, clinical matron for breast services at Basingstoke hospital, said: “Our patients will really benefit from this. Not everybody feels comfortable going to a tattoo parlour and they appreciate the option to get a tattoo done discreetly and in the unit by one of our nurses.

“We are finding that there is a growing demand for this treatment, which is currently carried out by doctors, and we have a long waiting list. Giving nurses the training they need to draw the tattoos will ensure that patients receive treatment sooner.”

Mrs Leary chose to donate to the unit because she has received treatment for breast cancer at Basingstoke hospital on two occasions. She has also donated some of the money to the hospital’s oncology ward.

“I hope that training nurses to do these tattoos can make a real difference to women going through breast cancer,” Mrs Leary said.

“It was in my darkest hour that I started thinking about what I could do to fundraise. I have been involved in ice hockey for years and the whole thing just mushroomed. People came from all over the country and more people who couldn’t come donated money. It was just an amazing night.”