Thanks to a grant from the Keeping Abreast Norwich Support Group, the Norfolk & Norwich Hospitals Charity has been able to purchase a portable ultrasound machine for the Plastic Surgery Department at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) to aid its breast reconstruction patients.

The TE7 Portable Diagnostic Ultrasound System, which cost £14,400, will be used on breast patients in Outpatients as well as on the ward. The machine is designed to simplify and speed up ultrasound examinations, thereby improving patients’ experiences and reducing expensive theatre time.

Jane Crockett, who runs the Keeping Abreast Norwich Support Group, said: “Raising funds for this important piece of equipment has taken several years. Funding has come from a number of different sources, including ‘Booby Cupcake’ sales, sponsored events such as cold water swims, festive fairs, bric-a-brac stalls and boot sales, and funeral donations.

Keeping Abreast Norwich was also fortunate to be named Charity of the Year by Marks & Spencer in Norwich, which raised £3,000 for the cause. We are extremely thankful to the lingerie department at M&S Norwich for their fundraising efforts and support, and to everyone involved.”

Ruth Harcourt, who worked as the Lead Breast Reconstruction Nurse Specialist at the NNUH for over 20 years and in Plastic Surgery for 40 years, and who was one of the founders of Keeping Abreast, said: “I have just retired, but I came back to see this portable ultrasound machine being installed. The portable ultrasound machine complements the equipment that is already provided by the NHS and the whole Plastic Surgery team really appreciates the Group’s support.”

The breast cancer reconstruction charity Keeping Abreast supports those facing breast reconstruction after a breast cancer diagnosis or the discovery of a hereditary breast cancer gene.

There is a series of face-to-face Support Groups throughout the year, where those considering, facing or going through surgery can find peer-to-peer support; attendees can speak to others who have been through breast reconstruction as well as see real-life surgery results in the ‘Show & Tell’ sessions.

Help is also provided by phone, text, email, WhatsApp and so on, and Keeping Abreast Norwich also provides free Comfort & Care Bags, containing items that are useful pre- and post-surgery, to breast reconstruction patients on the wards. The Support Group dates are on the website,, which also includes information such as real-life reconstruction videos, patient stories, and FAQs.